Summer-Fall 2016 Consultations: Information Technology Transformation Plan – What We Heard Final Report

Summer-Fall 2016 Consultations:
Information Technology Transformation Plan –
What We Heard Final Report

Final Report: Online and In-person Consultations
December 7, 2016

Ipsos Public Affairs
1 Nicholas Street, Suite 1400
Ottawa ON K1N 7B7
Tel: 613-241-5802
Fax: 613-248-7981
www.ipsos.ca

© 2017 Ipsos. All rights reserved.
Contains Ipsos’ Confidential, Trade Secret and Proprietary Information

1. Executive Summary

This report presents findings from a nine-week online and in-person consultation exercise for Shared Services Canada (SSC). The purpose of undertaking this exercise was to acquire input from varying stakeholder groups to inform SSC’s Information Technology and Infrastructure Plan and 2016-17 update.

The data acquired from this consultation exercise will be utilized to revise the Information Technology and Infrastructure Plan and 2016-17 update in their current forms. This will include bringing the Plan up to date taking into account the following inputs:

  1. New priorities and trends;
  2. Recommendations from the 2015 Auditor General’s report on improving service delivery, project management, financial management and regular reporting of progress and systems health;
  3. Recommendations from parliamentary committees, and;
  4. Recommendations from an independent review panel.

These inputs together with the feedback from the broad-based consultations will deliver the right plan for building the Government of Canada digital platform and improving the delivery of federal services to Canadians.

The consultations targeted five distinct stakeholder groups: SSC employees, Government of Canada employees, young federal public servants, industry representatives, and Canadians. Stakeholders were tasked with offering input to inform SSC on revisions to its IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan and 2016-17 update.

The objectives of the consultations were to:

  1. Raise awareness among target audiences of the updated direction and plans to transform the Government of Canada’s IT infrastructure; and
  2. Gather feedback directed at refining and improving the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan.

This executive summary presents key findings, organized by stakeholder group as a whole, and lists several observations based on a comprehensive analysis of the data. In total, over 2,500 data contributions were submitted online (i.e., online portal, webinars, or Twitter) or in-person (i.e., round tables with industry or in-person at webinars), and over 22,000 unique visitors accessed the portal. The e-workbook activity, from which the bulk of data was derived, generated 639 e-workbook submissions. Each e-workbook was a compilation of four open-ended questions, on average, resulting in over 2,400 individual responses to key questions posed by SSC. Proportionally, 52% of contributions were from SSC employees, 33% of contributions were from other Government of Canada departments or agencies, and the remainder were from Canadians and public input.

Figure 1: Infographic of Stakeholder Participation by Activity

The volume of data contributions can be considered to be far greater. There were multiple individuals involved with single submissions (e.g., most industry email submissions represented an entire company; some webinar submissions represented work units). The breadth of feedback directed towards the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan reflects the importance held by the varying stakeholders to build and support Canada’s IT infrastructure.

Overall, stakeholders felt that the Government of Canada IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan had “got it right.” Stakeholders valued the opportunity to provide input in what was labelled as “the largest Canadian merger of its kind in Canada,” and “as the most complex and challenging transformations,” that was otherwise, “unprecedented.” The pathway to completion, however, requires careful considerations and greater detail, as noted by all stakeholder groups.

1.1 Summary of key findings

Based on a comprehensive analysis of the data, Ipsos offers several observations for improving change management, service management and service delivery:

  1. Invest in staff. Incentivize stability among managers, enhance communication nationally and regionally with SSC offices, and enable a mechanism to provide input on issues and act upon them. Minimize outsourcing and train staff to upgrade or acquire skills.
  2. Commit to a service-first culture. Train employees and apply benchmarks on customer service informed by project management principles. Include communication, requisite expertise, transparency, particularly on costing, and accountability as guiding factors in any initiative.
  3. Enhance collaboration within and outside SSC. In addition to enhancing services, collaborative tools or meetings with particular stakeholder groups will demonstrate value to these groups, and provide a basis for engaging on topics concerning best practices, organizational culture and innovation in IT. Mechanisms to show action will be central to such endeavours (e.g., publicizing deliverables online and setting up an advisory committee to measure performance).
  4. Demonstrate rationale for software and hardware upgrades and changes, or for outsourcing services. There were clear preferences for migration to private cloud services, rather than public cloud services, and to maintain a greater number of data centres, rather than to consolidate the number of data centres. The rationale for both preferences was related to minimizing security threats. Stakeholders desire access to information showing rationale for such decisions. Stakeholders also seek explanations for delays in past projects (e.g., Email Transformation Initiative, software upgrades). There is tremendous apathy towards outsourcing, and this should be addressed using a sound rationale if/when services are outsourced.
  5. Reach out to small and medium enterprises. Reconsider procurement practices and the scope of services required to level the playing field for these other players.

1.2 Key Findings

SSC Employees

  • Address low morale. SSC employees desire stability with management by reducing turnover and visibility by having greater access to superiors. SSC employees also prefer that hiring practices occur within the organization to maintain continuity, and to promote opportunities for advancement among colleagues. Recruitment at colleges and universities would inject new ideas and talent into SSC.
  • Increase training, utilization of skills, mentorship, and recruitment. Given the breadth of tasks and rapid technological changes in the IT sector, employees are seeking to upgrade skills or better utilize their skills. Greater mentorship is deemed essential given the vastness of the organization and the departure (e.g., retirement) of talented and savvy individuals.
  • Minimize outsourcing. SSC employees feel that capabilities can be harnessed and/or developed in-house.
  • Enhance client relationships. SSC employees are cognizant of customer service issues. Providing opportunities to better understand and engage with partners and clients is valued.

Partner or other client organization employees

  • Invest in client relationships. Response time to requests, knowledge of clients’ requirements and culture, and accountability standards appear undervalued by SSC. The IT Infrastructure Transformation plan would benefit from an outline of how SSC would build a customer-first outlook. This would include better tracking of requests relative to response and time to completion, and a feedback mechanism that leads to actionable outcomes. Overall, a culture of “customers first” would translate to good service to departments who in turn would provide better services to Canadians.
  • Reduce the number of key program areas. Given the delays with the Email Transformation Initiative (ETI), participants felt that SSC has spread itself too thin. Participants’ main suggestion was to focus on ETI and Data Centre Consolidation (DCC) before moving to the other key program areas. Further, employing key performance indicators, or a variant, to track progress, is desirable.
  • Expand the catalogue of pricing and recognize the variation among customers’ needs. Greater transparency is sought on how service costs and prices are set and devolution of some IT responsibilities to the departments (e.g., upgrading hardware and software, more control over virtual server environment). 
  • Evaluate the client relationship for mutual benefit. The business orientation between SSC and the 42 departments lacks cohesiveness. There are opportunities for collaboration on IT issues (e.g., Canada Revenue Agency’s IT Continuity and Security Division) that are underutilized. There is also a need for Government of Canada departments and agencies to have greater access (e.g., 24 hour availability) to address or solve IT issues (e.g., cybersecurity) and infrastructure issues (e.g., bandwidth, mobile devices)

Industry representative

  • Evaluate the potential benefits of decentralization of SSC operations. Industry lamented the bureaucracy encountered by the vertical orientation of SSC and that better service would result if greater responsibilities were bestowed on regional offices. 
  • Emulate operations of the private sector or other national governments. Look to the US, UK or Australia, for example, for best practices, exposure to new technologies, etc.
  • Recognize and utilize the expertise and value of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Procurement tends to neglect the specializations of SMEs in favour of larger conglomerates. SMEs are the seeds of innovation and have more at stake in providing good services than larger corporations.
  • Unbundle and get “agile.” Employ common IT methodologies utilized in project management. Packaging projects into smaller subsets will enable more specialized bids, increase the likelihood of timely completion, and demonstrate progress
  • Diversify cloud services. A private cloud, hybrid cloud service or virtualization were deemed more reliable and cost-effective than a public option. Open source cloud services such as OpenStack, were also identified.
  • Vary services and devices provided to customers. There is a desire for greater transparency of progress (i.e., tickets) and options to utilize devices (i.e., greater reliance on mobile devices) to improve organization, delivery and security (e.g., Information Technology Service Management, thin client, Enterprise Mobility Management)
  • Increase collaborations with industry. In addition to the Information Technology Infrastructure Roundtables, SSC should establish an advisory board that would include executives from SSC, departments and agencies, and industry. The role of this board would be to inform performance, innovation, etc., that can involve members of the IT industry with greater frequency. Reduce or eliminate legacy services and processes. Upgrading infrastructure while maintaining legacy services impacts efficiencies, and renders SSC employees working on legacy services without the proper skills to handle new infrastructure.
  • Implement details and timelines. The IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan offers objectives, with few details on how these objectives will be achieved and when (e.g., closing hundreds of data centres).
  • Increase opportunities for collaboration. Overall, industry representatives valued the outreach from SSC and agreed with the bulk of the details of the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan. Ongoing opportunities to discuss matters is desirable.

Canadians

  • Better value for money. As taxpayers, participants seek better visibility about cost savings, gaining efficiencies, and investment in IT for Canadians.
  • Address security concerns. Concerns around security were common relative to the government’s storage of data. The belief was that personal data was not safe and that SSC has to focus on both internal and external threats to its data.
  • Increase use of automation. SSC needs to plan for and invest in automation of its services (e.g., delivered to government departments, services accessed by Canadians). This includes artificial intelligence.
  • Revise the vision of SSC to be service first. Consolidation and standardization suggest that cost savings are paramount over relationships, services, and deliverables.
  • Acknowledge shortcomings. No organization is perfect, and SSC should acknowledge when it has missed its mark and how changes will be made in future with clear benchmarks identified.
  • Prepare for mobile business. Desk related work will become increasingly obsolete and security issues will need to be device and location agnostic.

Common Themes across Stakeholder Groups

Several common themes were interspersed in the data across stakeholder groups and across e-workbooks. Four, in particular, are identified below.

  • Staff morale. This theme was regularly cited in the data. The sentiment was that improved morale would translate to addressing and ultimately resolving many issues. From the customer or industry perspective, greater attention and interest in a given request or task would translate to timely service, problem-solving, regular communication and the product of a stronger relationship. From the SSC employee perspective, it is intrinsically motivating if the employer requests and acts upon feedback from its employees, or if investment is made in training, etc., to mitigate the need for outsourcing. The movement of management to other departments was one of the largest obstacles impacting morale that was mentioned. Given the infrequency of collaboration among the varying stakeholders, this finding suggests that this problem is well-known within and outside the government setting.
  • Change Management: External and tested applications, mechanisms or methods to affect change management. Although mentions of particular programs or methods were predominantly among Industry responses, other stakeholder groups also identified the need to employ agile project management techniques, move to private cloud services over other options, and invest in IT Service Management.
  • Reduce the scope of the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan. Given the complexity of changes, and the rapidly changing IT environment, there was a sense to strive for smaller victories rather than revamp the entire IT ecosystem. This would feed into better branding for SSC and demonstrate an ability to revise its own operations to better meet its objectives.
  • Provide greater transparency in costing, timelines, progress, deliverables, etc.

2. Background

Shared Services Canada (SSC) is a Government of Canada department dedicated to streamlining technology use and systems across government departments and agencies. It provides email, data centre, network and telecommunications services as well as end user devices to 42 government departments and agencies.

SSC has had ongoing discussions with industry partners and government departments since 2011 and is building on these activities through broad-based consultations to seek feedback and engage target audiences on key issues relative to the Government of Canada Information Technology Infrastructure Transformation Plan and 2016-17 update. This report reflects the input from some of these conversations with SSC employees, other government departments (including young federal public servants), bargaining agents (unions), industry stakeholders (including SMEs) and the Canadian public.

2.1 Objective

The following were the objectives of the consultations:

  1. Raise awareness among target audiences of the updated direction and plans to transform the Government of Canada’s IT infrastructure; and
  2. Gather feedback in order to further develop and improve the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan.

2.2 Research and Data Collection

To achieve its objectives, SSC engaged Ipsos, Public Affairs Unit, to collect relevant information from various stakeholders to be used to review the Government of Canada IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan.

The stakeholder groups included:

  • SSC employees
  • Partner and other client organization employees
  • Young federal public servants
  • Industry representatives
  • Canadians

Ipsos engaged with these various stakeholders in a series of exercises that included the following:

  1. Webinars with SSC and Government of Canada employees – Four webinars were held live at a venue in Gatineau, Quebec, and included a webcast and teleconference to allow participants across the country to participate and contribute input. During the live event, participants could send input by email, some of which was shared during the webinars.
  2. E-Workbook exercises for four stakeholder groups on an online portal – Participants selected the appropriate group, registered, if necessary, and completed the e-workbook. The consultation document also provided additional background information pertaining to the questions. There was a mix of close-ended and open-ended questions, although the majority of questions were open-ended.
  3. Forum – Participants contributed ideas or participated in discussions in an online forum, also hosted on the online portal.
  4. Feedback pathway – Some participants chose to submit questions or feedback through a separate link accessible on the online portal.
  5. Industry Roundtable – Three in-person events were held in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto from late October to mid-November. These events were by invitation and included members of the Information and Communications Technology sector who listened to presentations from SSC and participated in discussions on some of the topics addressed in the webinars.
  6. Twitter Events – SSC hosted a live Twitter event in English and in French targeting young federal public servants.

Complementary exercises were held to provide SSC with more in-depth information on issues to be considered as it further develops its IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan. This What We Heard Report presents the findings and corresponding analyses of the data obtained from the six exercises identified above.

3. Results

The results were compiled following an analysis of the data obtained from the six exercisesFootnote 1 identified in the Methods and Sample section. This section is organized based on the input from stakeholder groups and the accompanying exercise in which they could contribute.

A summary table is provided below. The table is divided into subsections, each with a heading identifying the input source.

Table 1: Summary of Stakeholder Participation by Activity Footnote 2
Webinars E-Workbook Forum Email Feedback Roundtable Twitter Engagements Site Feedback
SSC employees 1,058 187 8 23 N/A 100 56
Partner or other client organization employee 492 252 27 11 N/A
Industry representative N/A 81 N/A 21 78 N/A
Canadians N/A 119 N/A 7 N/A N/A
Total 1,550 639 35 62 78 100 56
Grand Total 2,520

*Young federal public servants would have been able to participate in the four exercises available to SSC employees or partner organization employees. However, since they were not asked to self-identify as young federal public servants in these exercises, the extent of their participation in these exercises is unknown.

In total, there were seven different events, or pathways, where stakeholders could contribute their input to the consultation document. As can be observed in Table 1 above, the highest level of participation was in the Webinars, followed by the E-Workbook exercises. Participation in the Forum and Email exercises was similar to that for the E-Workbook exercises; in other words, respondents used various formats to answer the same questions (e.g., some industry respondents submitted a separate pdf document that only provided answers to questions related to their needs, and included some general information by way of an introduction and a conclusion).

Because some of these exercises had no or very little input from various stakeholder groups, they are not included in some of the reporting or have been included in the analysis of the e-workbooks.

3.1 SSC Employees

SSC employees, including youth networks, were asked to participate in two webinars, fill out an e-workbook, contribute input in a discussion forum, utilize twitter and provide feedback by email. This section sets out the findings of an analysis of the input contributed in the webinars and e-workbooks. Some forum and email data were included in the e-workbook subsection. Table 2, below, provides a numerical breakdown of activity based on the input contributed by SSC employees.

Table 2: Summary of SSC Employees’ Participation by Activity
Webinars E-Workbook Forum Email Feedback Roundtable Twitter Engagements Total Contributions
SSC employees 1,058 187 8 23

N/A

100Footnote 3 1,276

3.1.1 Webinars

The following is a post-analysis summary of the input provided. The comments that follow provide additional background information.

The following are the main takeaways from the two webinars:

  • Improve security measures, which are currently inadequate (e.g., ensure that employees, clients and contractors comply with standards; recognize and prepare for internal security threats, rather than focus mostly on external security threats; and implement a network access control strategy);
  • Use accurate, deliberative tools (i.e., using ITSM tools instead of BITS and Spreadsheets for tracking);
  • Foster a customer-first mindset across SSC;
  • Create an environment for more deliberative and/or evidence-based decision-making within SSC and throughout the regions, and top-down/bottom-up (vertical) decision-making among employees.

Comments heard online or in-person:

Break down barriers; establish operational agreements between the various sectors and services/services lines to develop service agreements that are clear and well defined for partners. Coming from a partner, we often do not know who to contact, or how or where to do so. Service design, the 4 Ps—products, partners, processes, people.

Managers and staff have little say in directorate divisional decisions. Senior executives make decisions, but don’t necessarily have an agreement with the managers and their staff.

Customer service mind set— all staff/executives should be trained on what is customer service.

Improve the sharing of IT and corporate knowledge, both vertically and horizontally among SSC support groups. Areas of knowledge need to share and educate to collectively improve service.

We probably have successes here and there, but they are not noticeable enough to overshadow the major projects that fail...it does not seem like we are on the right track. Transformation projects need to be tested before being implemented. In terms of the reorganization since the teams were separated into silos, we are less and less efficient, as there are many teams that need to be involved and that each have their own reality, projects and priorities.

I joined SSC in 2011. We have come a long way. I see the improvements that have happened. We are moving in the right direction.

3.1.2 E-Workbooks

The breakdown of the feedback obtained from SSC employees on the online portal was divided into four theme areas: Implementation of Management Strategies, Service as Priority, IT Infrastructure of the Future, and Moving Forward.

Implementation of Management Strategies

This theme area was divided into five questions. The themes and quotes used are intended to highlight participants’ input.

People Management (What additional workplace and workforce initiatives are required?)
  • Improve hiring and mentoring (develop mentoring in house; look for talent outside SSC);
  • Provide more training opportunities and identify the skills needed by SSC employees;
  • Retain managers;
  • Work with employees;
  • Carry out forecasting of training requirements and employee intentions (upcoming retirements) and recruit applicants with post-secondary education;
  • Focus on building talent within; otherwise outsourcing and use of consultants will be the result.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Keep key managers and executives in a single position long enough for them to learn how to do the specific job well, and to stay there long enough to make significant improvements

SSC has already lost a considerable amount of people who had 10, 20, 30 or more years of knowledge, experience and wisdom and more are scheduled to leave within the next 12 months.

Senior managers need to manage people and that requires site or office visits. We have ideas and opinions, we are paid to think, use our skills and experience. Come see what we face on a daily basis and maybe you will better understand the issues facing SSC.

Stop having HR run competitions with pools full of un-qualified internal candidates. Promoting internal talent is important, but the positions should also be open to wider audiences.

Moving away from IT operations puts SSC and the GC in a position of being at the mercy of contractors.

SSC is not planning for retirement of its employees. In my unit of 6 people, with highly specialized, difficult to replace technical skills, there are 4 people who will retire in the next 1-3 years. I have recommended hiring and training one new employee to prepare for upcoming retirements. My recommendation has not produced action. "

Financial Management (What approach should be adopted to measure progress, demonstrate benefits and report progress to customers, Parliamentarians and to Canadians?)
  • Transparency is exercised when providing clients and others with information on how funds are spent and costs are calculated;
  • Provide cost listings or a services catalogue, including a “cost of government” item (i.e., additional expenses incurred to draft RFPs, and other labour-intensive costs that do not impact the private sector);
  • Publish outcomes of cost-saving measures in order to demonstrate progress made by SSC.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

SSC should charge back to the departments for services that are delivered. Currently, departments do not necessarily understand how much IT services they are using or what it costs the Government of Canada to provide these services so they can and will ask for the sky.

Measured and consistent approach to seeking regular feedback from customers and SSC internal stakeholders through surveys, regular meetings, maybe a formal forum and reporting back on progress.

A fully-costed service catalog needs to be developed and the prices of services needs to be consistent with industry set prices such as commercial cloud services.

Provide a report card on a quarterly basis, demonstrating the progress we have done to meet strategic goals and make it available to partners, parliamentarians and Canadians.

There is a cost of government that cannot be ignored (ex. higher vendor prices, language training, RFPs) and charging this to individual customers tends to make our prices expensive when compared to the open market. Calculate a "cost of being government" component that is centrally funded.

Project Management (What measures need to be in place in SSC and in customer organizations to deliver integrated project planning?) 
  • Improve business intake processes and stick to a plan over time;
  • Develop a project management system that allows better communication between SSC and its clients.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Use of a common Project Management System between SSC and its customer organizations/partners. It would include Resource/Time/Capacity Management to accurately assign individuals to projects.

Integrated project/business planning has been very difficult to achieve in government. Too often well laid plans are trumped by last minute requirements and so called emergency needs. I believe we need a much stronger approach to not allow exceptions unless absolutely required.

Less layers of approval and access to clients. To gather requirements for my current project we must go through at least 4 layers in SSC to determine the contact at the client level.

A clear technical authority within SSC is needed to ensure all the bits and pieces are in place to meet the clients’ requirements. In some legacy environments there was clear technical authority from an Enterprise perspective but that has disappeared within SSC.

Service Management (What new tools and processes are required to deliver on SSC’s “as-a-service" model?)
  • Service catalogue (describes services currently provided by SSC);
  • Benchmarks determined by using business analytics;
  • Invest in an IT service management tool;
  • Develop a mechanism to obtain feedback from partners and clients;
  • Revamp business intake processes.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

A single and/or integrated tool set should be deployed for all IT services requests and used by all Government of Canada departments. This single tool should be used by end users to submit requests, as well and SSC admins who complete the requests. This tool should also be tied into costing.

Customers have to be willing to try to work with SSC to give useful feedback on service. This might include immediate electronic feedback forms; comparison to Private Sector costs for the same service;

Business analytics are needed to measure performance and ability to analyse weak points in service delivery; as well as uniform approaches to process and service delivery enterprise wide.

SSC is in dire need of a full inventory system for equipment and licenses, as well as a functioning and robust monitoring system. The current iteration of ECD/ESD has not shown benefits.

Security Management (How should SSC be delivering its “security by design” approach for 24/7/365 protection against cyber security threats?)
  • Employ security specialists; provide mandatory IT security training for employees;
  • Streamline security across departments; devise a comprehensive roadmap;
  • Differentiate levels of security and costs, based on client requirements.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

The department should have more mandatory training for employees on cyber security, and develop better learning projects that can then be shared with other departments.

Customers that have more rigorous requirements should pay for additional safeguards, as required. This would help to manage costs and provide transparency and fairness.

Develop a Government of Canada approach and roadmap to address IT infrastructure and application security with an integrated risk management framework to allow SSC and clients to have the end-to-end view of risks and make the appropriate risk based decisions.

Every department has its own definition of security requirements. You will never be able to align a generic set of policies but only a baseline for security and even shield the agencies behind the Government of Canada Net from direct attacks but at least half of all data breaches occur from within.

Continue as they are doing now, in close collaboration with Communications Security Establishment Canada and Public Safety Canada. Make sure SSC has the financing and resources needed to make this happen in a timely manner.

This is best left to cyber-security specialists that understand the nature of emerging and evolving cyber threats, and are more familiar with effective methods of responding to these threats.

Service as priority

What other tools or strategies should SSC consider using?

  • Retire legacy services;
  • Track and make changes based on data;
  • Improve customer service to meet IT objectives (employ an ombudsman or contact centres);
  • Provide, rather than broker, IT services.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

A true customer service attitude is missing. The services SSC offers are front and centre, and staff need to be made aware of this. You can set targets and put the latest tools in place, but if you don't address the fundamental attitude of staff across the organization at all levels, we will never succeed.

Retire legacy services and processes. We lack the capacity to do both new and legacy services.

Varied customer support levels. Depending on the nature of the service being supported, service availability and time required are not enough; customers should have direct contact with varying levels of support depending on the nature of their service and its impact to Canadians.

SSC is one of the largest IT organizations in the country but instead of providing services for which they have the capacity and knowledge, they act as a service broker. DELL does not buy and provide IBM desktops to its clients. We are an IT service provider and should be providing services not brokering them.

IT Infrastructure of the future

This theme area was divided into six key program areas. Two of these six key program areas have been highlighted based on the volume and directions from SSC employees’ feedback, including some input obtained from emails.

Email Transformation Initiative (ETI)
  • SSC should in-source email; hold vendors accountable to meet deadlines;
  • Rely on milestones achievable in six-month increments rather than an "all or nothing" approach.
Data Centre Consolidation (DCC)
  • Consolidation of 500 data centres into fewer than 10 data centres is too great a reduction;
  • Disaster recovery at the application level is unknown;
  • Ensure that data centres are close to locations with large numbers of employees;
  • Unknown plan to move connections out of legacy data centres;
  • Consider private cloud over public cloud or virtualization, based on costs.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

The Data Centre consolidation into large, integrated data centres is a great concept, but SSC has not been good at execution relative to deadlines, strategic planning and funding. A case in point is NCR Centric Edge services, mainly Government of Canada Cloud and Intergov connected services.

The use of public cloud services is high risk until we understand the data better and implement a Government of Canada wide data loss prevention solution that includes metadata labelling as well as encryption to a single standard.

Rely on a private cloud that would require a SAS70 Type I and II report that asserts the cloud provider meets all requirements, including Canadian privacy laws, instead of trying to build our own three enterprise data centres (EDCs) with our own “one network”.

Has SSC designed the right plan for building a secure, reliable and efficient digital platform for delivering services to Canadians?     

  • Develop a plan for long-term forecasting;
  • Better execution is needed to provide deliverables;
  • Develop a service catalogue; tailor requirements to clients’ particular needs.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

I believe the plan is sound, the better question is will we be funded to implement it?

SSC has not been able to establish a plan that is functional, or achievable. Decisions are changed on a regular basis relative to services, methodologies, infrastructure, communications and even expenditures.

The ETI Rollout has stalled and even if it does proceed, it is delivering less integration and functionality than what existed in the Departmental email systems who had customized their systems for their needs.

SSC needs to do a better job in collecting business requirements from its clientele and create a service catalogue that contains solutions to address varying needs instead of trying a top down approach to impose generic solutions on every government department and agency.

Is SSC's objective to deliver modern, reliable, secure and cost-effective IT infrastructure services to support government priorities and program delivery aligned with the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan and future of IT and customer needs?    

  • Reduce bureaucratic procedures;
  • Improve project accountability and client responsiveness;
  • Diversify procurement processes.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

I work on a transformation initiative yet I cannot talk directly to our clients... the contact has to go through many levels of SSC before even starting to engage the client. This becomes burdensome and much understanding is lost in having to pass information through so many people.

Objectives have to be met in a timely manner or else they are meaningless. ETI is a prime example of this. This project is taking so long that the original project plan, goals, and even technology is becoming worthless.

SSC needs to take the client requirements and a more heterogeneous approach to procurement. Understand legitimate customer business needs for specific equipment and/or software.

Does SSC have the right business capacity and skill set in place to support a revised IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan?

  • Make use of and invest in the vast array of skills within SSC; they are under-utilized and mismatched;
  • Understaffing: Do less outsourcing and build capacity and confidence; more employee retention;
  • Make use of the knowledge of older staff employees by having them mentor less experienced employees;
  • Increase understanding of clients’ needs.

Do these implementation plans raise new issues that SSC will need to address?

  • Addressing issues involving legacy systems;
  • Improving communication throughout departments where SSC’s customers are located.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

It's balancing the legacy systems and the transformation innovation that needs to happen to propel the government forward. It's almost like having two teams that need to work together.

SSC will not succeed until it consults the actual consumers of the service (departments) as well as the actual providers of the service (SSC staff) on the way forward, instead of just relying on input from third parties such as Gartner or the industry which has a vested interest in more outsourcing.

Moving Forward

Reporting in this section includes feedback from the Moving Forward e-workbook and the Forum, where the same questions were asked.

What is needed from the Government of Canada IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan to accomplish, maintain and/or further the Government of Canada's commitment to foster an open, transparent and responsive government?

  • Draw up a long-term plan;
  • Reduce outsourcing because it affects morale and reduces capacity (e.g., email and cloud services);
  • Accountability (i.e., prompt response to tickets, progress reports and meeting of deadlines);
  • Greater access to training.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

I do not believe in continuing to outsource the work to the private sector, this is only causing concerns to the employees and the morale is still low within the organization, unfortunately.

Before the Government of Canada (and SSC) can address the issue of open, transparent and responsive government, we need to obtain support for a plan that reflects reasonable timelines, responds to meaningful expectations, and is supported by adequate and sustained funding.

Improve availability of training and address the mixed understanding that training is widely available.

We need to adopt an agile approach to our transformation with a willingness to shift in our approach based on feedback from stakeholders

What things could help with making SSC successful? 

  • Workforce stability; use SSC human resource pools to staff positions internally;
  • Involve partners in planning;
  • Better decision-making that is prompt and relevant;
  • Visibility of senior people in SSC divisions and units;
  • Find pathways to working collaboratively within SSC;
  • Stronger leadership demonstrated through sound decision-making;
  • Stronger and larger workforce to implement the Infrastructure Transformation Plan;
  • Clearer, more realistic goals and timelines in the transformation plan;
  • Obtain an understanding of how requirements vary across departments.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

HR is not harnessing skills that employees possess – they should promote qualified CS-02 positions to CS-03 positions instead of running competitions external to SSC

More funding from the center to reduce and remove old aging infrastructure and applications.

Removing the remaining IT application and desktop support staff from the partners we support. SSC needs these resources on our team.

More stability in the senior ranks of SSC, the turnaround of executives is very concerning.

What lessons can you share that will aid to make SSC successful?   

  • Devote time to planning so as not to rush and under-perform;
  • Plans need to be flexible enough to adapt, small enough to achieve goals;
  • Cultural shift: A “can do” not a “can’t do” mentality is needed;
  • End outsourcing;
  • Make decisions based on evidence, not politics or intuition.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Deliver something of quality, however small, the small wins. Celebrate those wins.

Let’s be best in class at something, not mediocre at everything - it would go far in our reputation.

Our biggest success stories don't seem to stem out of the big planned projects but come about reacting to crises and emergencies. What can we learn from this?

People are leaving this department because of the constant change and appearance of disorganization.

Need buy-in from CIO community, so they are partners in building the IT infrastructure of the future, to modernize all of government. Not about us vs. them.

Outsourcing. Stop outsourcing. Just stop it. ETI and cloud computing need to be provided by SSC and not some external private company. Outsourcing will lead to this department’s ruin.

What are the most important issues or trends that SSC should plan for in 5-10 years?

  • Develop a people change management plan as part of the project plan;
  • Move to private-sector cloud services;
  • Share information throughout the organization and work jointly on cyber security;
  • Closing the skills gap, which is made worse by outsourcing, which also fails to ensure a transfer of knowledge;
  • Develop partnerships built on trust between SSC and partner organizations;
  • Invest in open-source software, such as OpenStack, OpenShift and Cloud Foundry;
  • SDN (Software Defined Network) and NFV (Network Function Virtualization) are cost-effective and flexible; and
  • Engage small- and medium-size enterprises.

3.2 Partner or other Client Organization Employees

Government of Canada employees were asked to participate in two webinars, complete an e-workbook, contribute input to a discussion forum and send feedback by email. This section contains an analysis of these exercises. Forum data has been incorporated into the E-Workbook subsection. Table 3, below, provides a numerical breakdown of the activities based on contributions from Government of Canada employees.

Table 3: Summary of Government of Canada Employees’ Participation by Activity
Webinars E-Workbook Forum Email Feedback Roundtable Twitter Engagements Total Contributions
Partner or other client organization employee 492 252 27 11 N/A 100Footnote 4 782

3.2.1 Webinars

The following is a post-analysis summary of the input provided in the two webinars held in September, 2016. The comments that follow concern the points listed below:

  • Consider the challenges faced by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) in offices abroad;
  • Decentralize services;
  • Expand services (i.e., time outside normal work hours);
  • Security issues regarding devices (e.g., slow delivery of virtual servers to manage security of devices; deployment of intrusion software of unauthorized devices);
  • Utilize open source software;
  • Accountability associated with progress made in providing requested services (e.g., regular or automatic updates accessible online);
  • Information-sharing by SSC with other Government of Canada departments;
  • Better access to knowledgeable SSC staff.
  • Gaining cost efficiencies (e.g., using automation to acquire hardware, and merge end state groups and legacy groups);
  • Devolve or return some IT responsibilities to departments.

Comments made online or heard live during the webinar event:

What is SSC’s plan for 24/7 operational support for departments that aren’t a sort of 9-5, Monday-to-Friday department, such as DND, the Canadian Forces, CBSA, CSIS or the RCMP that often have their business hours outside of the 9-5 and work in remote locations without SSC personnel?

An internet accessible tracking system (we have portal) for requests sent to SSC, perhaps where someone could plug in their BRM number and receive an instant status of their request.

Poor customer service. Organizational structure constantly changing. Lack of or poor use of technical expertise.

SSC processes are way too complex and cumbersome. We need to streamline those processes. There are very good tools out there to hand such business process management—Bonita software, for example.

We need to have a more open communication channel between IT experts working in client departments and IT experts at SSC. The SDM role needs to be redefined as being an enabler, not a showstopper.

3.2.2 E-Workbooks

The breakdown of the feedback obtained from Government of Canada employees on the online portal was divided into four theme areas: Implementation and Management Strategies; Service as Priority; IT Infrastructure of the Future; and Moving Forward.

Implementation of management strategies
People Management (What additional workplace and workforce initiatives are required?)
  • Address customer service issues, and reward good customer service;
  • Management stability;
  • Vision/forecasting of IT issues and skills to solve them;
  • Keep work in-house;
  • More SSC employees with the requisite skills;
  • Information access/archiving.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Highlight the importance of customer service excellence, seek out and promote the value of persons with the desire and capacity to own the problems of the customer.

I think that there is a need to understand that the workforce of the future, in an IT setting, is not exclusively made up of IT individuals. There needs to be a way to ensure that you bring in the right staff who have a blended skillset in order to make the overall team dynamic work.

Information management - better access to documents prepared in the past, filing, corporate history. Search capabilities to help new employees learn what has been done in the past about a particular issue. This will become increasingly important with workforce turnover.

Financial Management (What approach should be adopted to measure progress, demonstrate benefits and report progress to customers, Parliamentarians and to Canadians?)
  • Publish results and savings;
  • Clear and straightforward budgeting and costing;
  • Comparative index of performance in relation to similar organizations;
  • Develop a service catalogue specifying costs of services provided to partners;
  • Conduct internal and external surveys;
  • A single online portal for partners to use to submit, track and acquire other information on requests

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Develop a detailed service catalog and a costing model that is transparent and provides sufficient details to allow partners to understand the costs that are being passed along for recovery. Follow industry standards for annual lifecycle replacement costs (i.e. 20 to 30%) and benefits of volume discounts.

A national index that compares Government of Canada with like-industries in Canada and globally (public and private-sector). Annual reporting on achievements against planned priorities. Lessons learned and analysis of opportunities for improvement; early consultations to gather the best information/advice

Publish a factoid about the IT infrastructure inherited from the 42 clients, the state, what changes were made and at what cost and then the savings achieved. Each initiative seems to be "transformative" but you are also refreshing with an on-going plan to address the IT Infrastructure as it ages.

ITIL is a solid certified best practice that identifies very logical partitioning and reporting opportunities. It can be adapted at higher and lower levels of financial and performance management.

Project Management (What measures need to be in place in SSC and in customer organization to deliver integrated project planning?)
  • Share or select best practices;
  • Improve communications with clients;
  • Regular liaison between departments and SSC;
  • Reduce red tape and gain efficiencies (e.g., expedite or automate departmental requests for services or hardware);
  • Better project management (e.g., Agile Management, ITIL, Transformation Project Dashboard).

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Consistent project templates and documentation are key to be able to integrate. A first piece should be requiring organizations to do an environmental scan to see overlap or that could lead to merging of projects.

Begin to make use of Network and Computer Systems Management tools that provide reporting on the function and capacity of the IT infrastructure.

Have each client department or agency employ a liaison office with the same reporting/requesting tools, automated to reduce human error interacting with SSC that will build relationships and nurture a consistent and integrated approach.

A single point of entry to SSC where I can call and say "I have a project that deals with XYZ...". I would then no longer have to worry about calling 'the right person' for the job.

Service Management (What new tools and processes are required to deliver on SSC’s “as-a-service" model?)
  • Time-based responses to various points of a deliverable;
  • Better proactive services (too reactive-focused);
  • Provisions for customers to track requests/automation;
  • Development of service delivery standards;
  • Serve as a broker, rather than as a competitor with the private sector;
  • Ongoing engagement with clients;
  • Use one service desk;
  • SLA to hold SSC accountable for delivering to customers/clients.

Comments in the e-workbooks.

It is inefficient to duplicate what the private sector is offering for so little cost. You should focus on becoming a broker of the services. You vet what I can put on my cloud so that you are happy with my security options. You publish best practices and/or standards that I must follow, but you do not offer to do my platform work or requirements implementation work for me, we have our in-house professionals.

Ongoing status checks of requests and requirements, displayed in dashboard and worksheet format so that my reports back to executive management can fit their expectations.

A common language across the Government that defines the relationship between services, outcomes, strategies, goals and processes. An enterprise approach with a common repository. The connections to services need to be integrated between departments.

More automation and integration of processes is required - better tools and integration for Configuration Management, Asset Management, Vulnerability Management, Change and Release Management and IT Governance, Risk and Compliance Management (GRCM).

Security Management (How should SSC be delivering its “security-by-design” approach for 24/7/365 protection against cyber security threats?)
  • Collaborate with other departments on their security infrastructure (e.g., Statistics Canada and Canadian Institute for Health Information using Protected B network level of security for data; CRA’s IT Continuity and Security Division);
  • Understand distinct needs of departments; create partner clusters for security needs;
  • Decisiveness on security by design; SSC should define duties and responsibilities;
  • Educate and train employees on good cyber security practices.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

As part of the Cyber Security transformation how will SSC be looking to address the CSE top 10?

SSC needs to concentrate its attention on delivering infrastructure security, which is the focus of its mandate. Application security should be left to the respective applications' department.

Service as priority

How would you describe the services offered by SSC?

  • Standardized equipment;
  • Triage services; improved time to respond;
  • Internal audit/evaluation.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Make evaluations of SSC’s services subject to quarterly or bi-annual engagement or surveys.

Triage all responses within an hour of receipt, responding to all mission-critical requests within 24 hours, and providing at least a basic response to all requests within a week.

The default stance should be that solutions can be found and implemented. Too often, the default posture is one where anything even a bit unusual is seen as a problem. Standardized equipment across all departments. More streamlined communication to report problems.

Keep a good balance between call center and physical presence of IT technicians in offices across SSC

Use of multidisciplinary teams within the reduced and integrated services lines, conduct business analytics and serve the clients proactively while continuing to support the reactive stream as well. Account Executives and SDMs have to navigate between too many service lines. Reducing and integrating those coupled with multidisciplinary approaches and integrated processes and delivery should be considered. Why should printing, data centers and network issues be siloed? Why aren’t Record Management and Data Management integrated?

What other tools or strategies should SSC consider using?   

  • Personalized service;
  • Differentiate services and fast-track urgent requests;
  • Reduce the scope of services; return some of this work to the departments;
  • Better customer-first policies and actions;
  • Employ SLA with partnering departments.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

I find it strange that the onus is on SSC to provide high quality service to their clients but there is no onus on those clients to be good clients, clearer requirements should be provided. Follow standards and processes that are created to ensure the successful integrated relationship.

Embedded and localized services for basic, help-desk functions, with centralized efforts concentrated on enterprise solution including server hardware, software, and email transformation initiatives.

Deliver on your promises. Every package that arrives on time or product that works as intended reinforces customers’ trust in you.

Shared Services Canada (SSC) is making the right move by basing this plan on a service management approach. The new revamped service management strategy, along with the publication of tools such as an expanded service catalogue, therefore constitute a step in the right direction. Given that the new single ITSM tool will not be implemented for some time, it is imperative that SSC work quickly with the departments to develop common business processes that are efficient and effective.

IT infrastructure of the future

In this theme area, four of the six key program areas were highlighted based on the volume and direction of Government of Canada employees’ feedback.

Email Transformation Initiative (ETI)
  • Acknowledgment of shortcomings in the ETI are needed / why outsourced;
  • Consolidate emails into smaller chunks;
  • Limited storage and limited (or inconvenient) access outside the government network is problematic;
  • Access to email outside of government offices is challenging.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

One email system for all is impractical; email systems for similar clients, say the Public Safety and Foreign Affairs, Industry and Transport Portfolios combined are likely much more achievable in that the clients have similar requirements and similarly diverse partners.

Data Centre Consolidation (DCC)
  • Consider MyKey to enable access to Information Management Services based on one authentication;
  • More design information relative to the consolidation plan is needed;
  • Input from partners is required and is sought to inform the plan;
  • Risks of service outages and an increasing number of unplanned outages.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

The IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan should be developed according to a phased approach and should include off-ramps in the event that the project is not a success.

It is important to recognize that there will be exceptions with DCC (like high-performance, big data processing where the latency of a distant data center would be untenable.)

Cyber and IT Security (CITS)
  • Security issues with WiFi and VoIP phones persist;
  • Own devices should not be permitted for government work.
Workplace Technology Devices (WTD)
  • Less a priority than ETI and DCC;
  • Lack of vision or foresight: After being removed, desk phones have been returned to offices.
Overall
  • Develop a manageable mandate relative to achievement and minimizing risks;
  • Understand partners’ needs, work environment and role to serve the public.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

If DCC and ETI are the big savers, concentrate on that. If there are initiatives like the Cyber Security that parallel these then they may need to be sub-initiatives that are staffed and funded differently in a more innovative way that ensures that sub initiative success.

Further consultations and partners around the table of decision making needs to take place for more transparency.

Do not let legacy systems grow stale and develop security holes while people wait years for implementation.

More capacity needs to be placed in the partner facing teams at SSC. SSC should be deploying tiger teams embedded with partners throughout enterprise implementations, like ETI.

Is SSC's objective to deliver modern, reliable, secure and cost-effective IT infrastructure services to support government priorities and program delivery aligned with the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan and future of IT and customer needs?    

  • Review objectives and scope of the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan;
  • Build a better infrastructure in order to tackle issues.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Network speeds need to be greatly increased to allow for adequate access for staff to data and information in a timely manner.

I think it is too optimistic and grand given the scope. Smaller chunks are probably more manageable with a greater chance of success.

Does SSC have the right business capacity and skill set in place to support a revised IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan?

  • Resources are present; processes need to be improved;
  • Better client engagement to understand needs.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

SSC has the HR resources and expertise. However, their internal processes need to be revamped to serve their clients effectively.

SSC lacks understanding of the full business context of its clients as well as technical capacity to address client requirements outside normal operations of departments. This includes active monitoring and response/recovery of IT infrastructure and delivery of normal IT capacity management requests.

Will the proposed implementation plan help us move toward the desired goals in each area?

  • The plan is mostly well-­­received by Government of Canada employees;
  • More details are required as to how objectives will be achieved;
  • Decentralize control, particularly over cloud services management.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

The plan lacks sufficient detail. Move from a strategic to operational plan prior to evaluating capacity for implementation. Strategic plans are too vague to determine operational viability.

Plans have all sounded good at a high level strategic level but then things fail at implementation time. The tactical and operational plans that should be supporting the strategy seem to be missing.

The proposed infrastructure and Cloud strategy is good but agencies will need more control and flexibility on their environment and the processes will have to be light and direct communication between the IT people will be critical.

Do these implementation plans raise new issues that SSC will need to address?

  • Expedite equipment replacement;
  • Better responsiveness to client’s needs.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Replacing equipment and software purchasing needs to be immediate. If a server or a desktop computer dies, its replacement can't be delayed by an outside agency (SSC) who doesn't seem to appreciate other departmental needs, directives and legal responsibilities.

Too many stories in past few years indicate a lack of understanding of immediate needs of SSC's partners ongoing daily delivery needs. Be it a RCMP office in northern Canada to data access speeds of employees researching on the internet, the system needs to be more, not less responsive, then has been occurring.

Network reliability has decreased, accountability has decreased, there is no clear vision or roadmap to get from where we are today to where these 'objectives' lie. The current track record of SSC is poor.

Moving forward

What is needed from the Government of Canada IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan to accomplish, maintain and/or further the Government of Canada's commitment to foster an open, transparent and responsive government?

  • Decentralize services;
  • Reduce the size of SSC;
  • Greater transparency;
  • Support from clients;
  • Look at transformation models outside SSC;
  • Re-think all costs associated with outsourcing (budget overrun, morale).

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Decentralization of IT services. SSC should make the policies, but the provision of centralized services has almost crippled government functioning. Centralized control has decreased response time tremendously.

Openness, transparency, the culture of making mistakes and learning from them, early course correction, support and not all on SSC, they need clients that can help them get there. It is not a typical service provider-client relationship. The clients need to be held accountable for making SSC a success.

Build the data centres first, then departments who wish to move their data can do so, on their operational schedule. In SSC, the tail is wagging the dog. Our ISP is telling us how to do our department business, when it should be the other way around.

Consult with PIPSC in a meaningful way. PIPSC represents IT public service employees. They know the score at the working level. They tell it like it is and provide constructive suggestions. They have an excellent track record, they warned the Gov't about Phoenix and other IM/IT fiascos. Use public service employees to provide services and respect the rules for contracting out. PIPSC has shown that that outsourcing and contracting out actually cost the Gov't more in the long run.

What things could help with making SSC successful? 

  • Scale back objectives; a rapidly changing IT environment poses many challenges;
  • Position services as collaborative arrangement with clients rather than as a business relationship;
  • Improve the brand by sharing information, being more transparent, and getting buy-in from departments and the federal government (parliamentarians);
  • Improve procurement practices;
  • Experiment and provide clients with alternative solutions;
  • Managers need to be more accountable for the work they deliver and discuss carefully when working with employees.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Forget the service provider-client relationship, this is collaboration all the way, the departments and agencies should be as accountable as SSC for their success

A huge common IT infrastructure is not the only solution. Technology is moving way too quickly.

Work with TBS and PSPC to rethink and renew Government of Canada procurement law, policy and regulations.

What are the most important issues or trends that SSC should plan for in 5-10 years?

  • Security;
  • Cloud storage;
  • Understanding and responding to the rapid technological change;
  • Mobility of people and the technologies they will need to support mobility;
  • Focus on investment rather than cost savings.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

SSC's IT transformation should cite the fact that the workplace and work methods have evolved considerably in recent years, and employees and managers want their office tools to offer the same versatility as those they use in their everyday lives. Mobility and interoperability are key assets for organizations that want to be on the cutting edge and remain competitive. In this sense, the transformation plan should definitely make a lot of room for solutions that foster worker mobility and information protection, including the protection of sensitive information.

SSC should invest to put the proper infrastructure in place to support the transformation.

SSC should invest in their resources and hire specialists to have this infrastructure put in place in the proper manner.

3.2.3 Emails

There were 11 emails submitted by partner or other organization employees. There was some overlapping and distinct input received. The input reflects issues faced by a range of departments and agencies served by SSC. A synopsis of emails is provided in the themes below.

  • Engage with other departments to access their expertise;
  • Understand how departments’ service teams implement elements of the transformation project, follow an iterative process to build understanding and trust
  • Provide reliable pathways (i.e., email or telephone) for customers to reach SSC employees, including 24 hour, 7 day/week help service
  • Enable SSC employees to make more decisions rather than consistently having to engage with managers to move requests forward
  • Return decision-making on hardware use to departments and organizations (e.g., choosing mobile devices)
  • Improve infrastructure (e.g., WiFi capabilities)

In 2015, [mission office in Asia] lost 10 working days due to server crashes caused by power failures.

SSC should consider department expertise more as an asset and an opportunity for collaboration than as competition.

On new BB10 devices there is no GAC Intranet access, very limited apps in high risk missions, no FSITP access to BB server, Outlook “Personal Distribution Lists” are incompatible with BB10 rendering remote emergency messaging very challenging.

Support has been centralized to the point where many issues can no longer be resolved without HQ support

There is a lack of interest from SSC because we are a small agency, a common problem to other federal agencies.

3.3 Young Federal Public Servants

To generate interest among young federal public servants, two Twitter events were held on November 14, 2016, one in each official language.Footnote 5 Young federal public servants who were invited to participate belonged to the Federal Youth Network, students at SSC, and students at Agora, an SSC employee-driven innovation network.

The Twitter events consisted of five questions selected from the e-workbooks on the consultations portal. Overall, SSC sent 79 tweets and tallied 100 commitments, of which the majority were retweets sent from SSC.

The major findings from this exercise are summarized in the following.

  • SSC should set up more platforms for the sharing of information between employees, departments and agencies;
  • Cyber security—especially with SSC developing government apps—needs to be further developed;
  • SSC needs to rebuild its credibility with partners by setting and attaining more achievable goals

The input from the exercise was negligible, but the exercise provided another channel for gathering feedback, particularly from young federal public servants, who may have been more inclined to participate in the consultations through social media.

3.4 Industry

This section provides an analysis and summary of the industry roundtable and portal activity events, of which the former was a unique engagement for industry representatives only. The industry roundtable events were held on October 24, 2016 (Ottawa), November 3, 2016 (Montreal) and November 10, 2016 (Toronto). Table 4, below, provides a numerical breakdown of the activities based on the input from industry representatives.

Overall, the industry roundtable events were engaging, productive and well-received. Some of the more important takeaways were for SSC to address internal issues within the organization (i.e., transience, utilization of skills), rely more on small and medium enterprises for services, devote more resources to customer service, and focus on more pointed, rather than broad objectives in the IT Infrastructure Plan.

Important takeaways from the e-workbooks on the online portal paralleled findings from the industry roundtable events. Additionally, industry representatives indicated a need to reduce resources for legacy services, devote more resources to security awareness, and utilize varying software products (e.g., Oracle, open-source, private and hybrid cloud services) and project management processes (e.g., ITIL, ITSM, agile).

Table 4: Summary of Industry Representatives’ Participation by Activity
Roundtable E-Workbook Forum Email Feedback Webinars Twitter Engagements Total Contributions
Industry Representative 78 81 N/A 21 N/A N/A 180

3.4.1 Industry Roundtable events

Three Industry Roundtable events were held in late October and early November. A total of 78 participants attended these events. Attendees represented the broad sector of IT and had experience in the areas of telecommunications, cyber security and database management.

Like the Webinars for SSC employees and partner and other organization employees, the industry roundtable events were organized around a presentation, although the roundtables also included input from Leona Allselev, a Member of Parliament and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

The following is a summary of what we heard during these three two-hour events.

Participants were happy to be invited to the event and to have an opportunity to contribute their input to the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan directly to representatives of SSC and Parliament. A summary of the major themes is presented as follows:

  • Better use of skills and better provision of skills to employees;
  • Decentralize authority, and delegate some responsibility to regional offices and partners that have the best understanding of local needs;
  • Small- and medium-size enterprises are the cornerstones of innovation and need greater involvement and opportunities in government procurement and projects;
  • Projects need to be unbundled to enable more vendors to get involved and to increase competition so that deliverables are produced and efficiencies achieved. Application of agility principles is needed;
  • There is a need for a robust customer service model in which input, tracking and accountability are prioritized;
  • Although the objectives of the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan are laudable, there is little detailed information on the process to be implemented to achieve these objectives;
  • Address and minimize transience at SSC, and address issues of leadership; and
  • SSC needs a better understanding of the evolution of the IT industry and needs to mitigate against slow adoption by providing funding to invest in imminent and not long-term changes.

3.4.2 E-Workbook

The breakdown of the feedback gathered from industry representatives on the online portal was divided into five theme areas: Implementation and Management Strategies; Service as Priority; IT Infrastructure of the Future; Technological Transformation; and Moving Forward. The Technological Transformation theme area was unique to the industry representatives’ e-workbook exercises.

Implementation of Management Strategies
People Management (What additional workplace and workforce initiatives are required?)

In their answers, most of the industry representatives said that SSC should invest in its employees by providing training and building capacity (i.e., personnel and expertise), and should consider a workplace redesign, i.e. a human resources approach intended to boost morale and achieve efficiencies in the workplace.

  • Invest in employees by providing training and building teams and/or recruiting skilled employees;
  • Clear messaging (work towards business outcomes instead of software products):
  • Look at “workplace redesign”, a way to empower employees by adapting the office environment, i.e. creating new office arrangements, increasing workplace utilization, becoming device agnostic relative to the use of software and applications, and managing and monitoring change to bring about a seamless adaptation;
  • Increase capacity and/or employees’ ability to handle demand, as needed;
  • Regularly collect and assess information on employees’ perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and ideas concerning SSC operations, and take action accordingly.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Consider hiring more full time employees with a vested interest in the long term service growth and success of SSC and its partner departments. Large outsourcing deals have proven unsuccessful, and "Contactors" (Think Task-Based Informatics Professional Services, and other vehicles) will be less vested than a member of a team would be.

Financial Management (What approach should be adopted to measure progress, demonstrate benefits and report progress to customers, Parliamentarians and to Canadians?)

The answers to the Financial Management question focused on two main areas: achieving savings and making sound investments.

  • Look abroad to learn about best practices relative to the IT infrastructure of other national governments (e.g., open-source licences);
  • Avoid long multi-year contracts where there is a tendency to incur cost and timeline overruns;
  • Set up reporting systems within SSC to track consumption of IT resources used in service delivery;
  • Invest in desktop virtualization, instead of perpetuating the PC refresh cycle, and introduce new thin client devices;
  • Ensure that the proper allocation of funds is available to meet demand.
Project Management (What measures need to be in place in SSC and in customer organization to deliver integrated project planning?)

To address project management issues, the two main recommendations were to decentralize work to smaller units within SSC and to carry out smaller projects. Regarding the latter, it was recommended that larger projects be “unbundled” to ensure that deliverables were produced, better monitoring was done, and efficiencies achieved.

  • Decentralize the work (i.e., allow regional offices to outsource work to contractors);
  • Carry out smaller projects and avoid having larger projects carried out by a single contractor;
  • Implement agile project management techniques to achieve efficiencies and produce the necessary deliverables;
  • Make more efficient use of existing PMI knowledge and experience within the federal government;
  • Deploy an integrated Web-based collaboration tool to gauge project management (e.g., automated workflows, scheduling, data visualization, dashboards and collaboration);
  • Separate day-to-day service delivery and consolidation projects from transformation projects.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Projects should not exist in silos. Agencies must be aware that they are continually re-inventing the wheel. The challenge is not to centralize everything onto one "enterprise" platform, but to commit to open standards and leverage open-source to allow incremental progress

Break up the projects into more manageable sizes instead of one large project to one single contractor. There are many talented managers in the Government IT work force who have been trained and have delivered complex projects by using this approach.

A service catalogue, SLA’s, financial and delivery models can be developed in an incremental way. The industry benchmarks are measurements relating to meeting service level agreements. Therefore, SSC and partners must establish mutually acceptable levels of services.

Service Management (What new tools and processes are required to deliver on SSC’s “as-a-service" model?)

There was a range of ideas relative to service management and tools and processes. Numerous references were made to the term “agile” as a project management approach.

  • Use common online tools / ticketing system with clients to maintain communication;
  • Strike a balance between money management and risk management where investment is concerned;
  • Make effective use of the as-a-service model and ensure clear accountability in order to provide services to departments in line with expectations measured by KPIs/SLAs;
  • Use ITIL as the ITSM de facto standard (i.e., to make use of knowledge within the government and industry standards);
  • Better cloud utilization, particularly hybrid services.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

A cloud-based approach means reduced infrastructure, centralized control and SaaS-style updates, contributing to lower administration cost and complexity, with increased agility. Solutions exist that provide a common management plane across all environments, while simultaneously allowing for the hosting of apps and data on any cloud or virtualization platform, across multiple locations.

Spending nothing looks good until departments can’t do their work because the IT infrastructure is too old-date to support their tasks

Common IT service management tools e.g. Help Desk, problem/issue, change etc.; common configuration management database (integrated with S.M. tool); common business integration management tools are needed and made available.

Security Management (How should SSC be delivering its “security by design” approach for 24/7/365 protection against cyber security threats?)

Answers to security management questions focused on IT and cultural solutions.

  • Foster a culture of security awareness and knowledge across SSC and the Government of Canada;
  • Use various Oracle products, including Database Encryption, Privileged Account Management, Advanced Security Option and Audit Vault, to address external and internal threats;
  • Use Multi-Tenant systems to “patch once” for all embedded database systems along with Life Cycle Management software for automated patch management;
  • Reduce reliance on in-house security processes because it reduced the ability of industry to provide cost-effective security services (i.e., barriers to access, compatibility);
  • Use Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), which operates across devices, and is particularly mobile, given greater adoption of these devices.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Teach a security mind set across the Government of Canada (e.g., focused on role - one course for clerks, another for executives, another for web tools developers), appoint local security champions as part of their official job roles, use pair programming to expose people to the gaps in their own security thinking.

Overall comments

Some recurring themes were the need to improve customer management and automation of services:

  • Re-implement IT Service Management (ITSM) to enable automation (e.g., catalogue, asset inventory, performance and monitoring);
  • Add Customer Management as a sixth organizational management discipline to the TP;
  • Decrease legacy services;
  • Expand use of cloud-based services.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Automating relationships through a robust CRM (customer relationship management) system. This will help ensure key performance indicators are at the forefront of decision making, and create one single view for customers as to what is going on in departments within SSC.

Significant effort is still required to maintain legacy systems. It would be valuable to have a team dedicated to managing these services to a zero state. In doing so, this would allow SSC to more efficiently attract and train resources to support the legacy.

Special use cases such as PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act) and geo-privacy require special cloud provisioning that must be demanded, with detailed and vetted compliance reports.

Service as priority

How would you describe the level of your knowledge on Shared Services Canada’s mandate as it pertains to the following items?

  • Use a tool to monitor the status of customer requests; customer service standard reporting mechanisms;
  • Accountability: Appoint a service owner for service performance and delivery tasks in accordance with agreed targets;
  • Use Drupal (departments get web accessibility standards, ongoing innovation, ability to engage small business and security);
  • Look abroad: Australia uses an open-source framework that allows government departments to engage a broad community to build and bring about innovation;
  • Enhance reputation in order to build trust with industry.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

You can't achieve a "service first" approach when government isn't investing in understanding the many communities that it needs to communicate with."

IT infrastructure of the future

In this theme area, five of the six key program areas are highlighted based on the volume and direction of industry representatives’ feedback, including input obtained from emails.

Email Transformation Initiative (ETI)

The ETI was a sore point with respondents. It was felt that the overruns relative to timing (three-year delay) symbolized the inefficiencies and other shortcomings that were synonymous with SSC (e.g., bundling of projects). 

As the ETI progresses, it was suggested that mailboxes be accessed securely anywhere, anytime and on any device. An EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) strategy/solution was suggested as a means to facilitate this transformation.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

What is the impact going to be when much more complex projects start, such as the migration of internal departmental systems to centralized data centres where the degree of knowledge is unlikely to approach that of the knowledge required for email?

The fundamental flaw in the ETI project was procurement. The project was awarded to a single supplier for all required services. When that supplier failed to deliver SSC was left with no recourse and lost credibility with the partner departments and the general public.

Data Centre Consolidation (DCC)

The DCC was perceived as “timely” and “cost-effective” and deemed to enable IT departments to focus on key initiatives and tasks rather than their network infrastructure. One recommendation was to implement a comprehensive server virtualization solution that would make it possible to streamline operations, adapt to increasing IT demand, reduce unplanned downtime with built-in failover, leverage the cloud, and provide easy set-up and management.

Server virtualization would produce benefits for the federal government as follows:

  • Reduced energy, cooling and administration expenditures;
  • Better security through a smaller, more defensible digital footprint;
  • Augmented service levels and information availability;
  • Easier deployment of IT resources;
  • Reduced number of management employees.

Another recommendation was for SSC and its client and partner departments to identify business applications and/or legacy environments that industry can either manage during transition or transition on behalf of government, thereby accelerating the consolidation into fewer data centres.

Telecommunications Transformation Program (TTP)

In addition to addressing the stated issues, implementers of the TTP should consider optimizing the communication traffic that will pass through SSC. This can be handled through WAN acceleration, protocol optimization and traffic prioritization techniques. An Application Delivery Controller than can handle this using a software-defined-networking approach was recommended.

Cyber and IT Security (CITS)

In addition to securing infrastructure, securing the mobile workspace encompasses several components, including mobile devices management, sandboxed applications (email / browser), secure mobile network access, laptop management, mobile virtual desktops, mobile data control, mobile virtual apps and mobile collaboration.

Workplace Technology Devices (WTD):
  • Enable a secure bring-your-own-device (BYOD) protocol;
  • Re-purpose existing machines through app/desktop virtualization;
  • Adopt thin clients to ensure a successful WTD Initiative;
  • Empower a business and modern digital workspace on all devices.

Does SSC have the right business capacity and skill set in place to support a revised IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan?

  • Draw up a plan to improve cost efficiencies, recover from ETI;
  • Re-think centralization and outsourcing.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Centralization and outsourcing will not provide cost effective or innovative solutions for Canadians.

There is almost no experience with web accessibility in SSC. The focus is on shiny new "enterprise" tools, rather than understanding how to leverage community driven IT initiatives.

There just simply isn't a lot of evidence that SSC has experience collaborating effectively (even within government).

Overall
  • Centralization and outsourcing will not provide cost-effective or innovative solutions for Canadians;
  • Timelines are needed to build trust in the processes and objectives;
  • Move to buying industry services rather than build in-house components;
  • Include provisions for procurement practices that include Canadian cyber security firms and allow the latter to better compete for government contracts;
  • Minimize moving targets in terms of achieving objectives, particularly in the rapidly changing IT environment;   
  • Look abroad to other transformation projects (e.g., US Border Services);
  • More specialization among SSC employees, rather than being “jacks of all trades, masters of none”;
  • Need to sell the plan to Canadians and other stakeholders.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

The new Transformation Plan clearly outlines what SSC intends to do; however, it fails to share the “how” behind SSC’s intentions. Moreover, much of what is outlined in this plan closely mirrors the content of the first and second transformation plans.

To effectively realize its desired outcomes, SSC should revisit its current transformation framework, inject new thinking, challenge its technological vision into its six program areas, and identify exactly how they will determine success for each area.

Engage more fully with industry by hosting 1:1 meetings with the ICT sector, for example, and expectations from industry to provide IT services, enabling preparation and planning for services and capacity that GC will be procuring.

These are high level plans, not implementation plans. To implement and execute, information needs to be prioritized and collected such that action and execution can be planned in manageable size iterations.

As mentioned previously, government strategies involving procurement must not only meet the service criteria of providing affordable, reliable, secure solutions but must also view these procurement projects for their economic value and their ability to strengthen domestic economic clusters.

As stated in the Government of Canada’s Information Technology Plan 2016-20, the Government of Canada spends $3 billion annually on IT services. This significant investment must be viewed as an existing resource to help foster Canada’s cybersecurity cluster and the nation’s innovation economy.

Remember, the goal is not to make a profit (like private industry has to) but to better support your customer base with what they need in a more secure, reliable, dependable, faster manner.

Technological Transformation: IT partners

This theme area was unique to industry in the e-workbook exercises. For the most part, respondents emphasized a desire to embrace open-source software, work more effectively with small businesses, and follow and anticipate trends in IT, particularly cloud-based services.

  • Embrace open-source software in order to meet demand in a rapidly changing IT environment;
  • Work more closely with small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and not only with the “giants”;
  • Funding;
  • Lack of faith in government bureaucracy to adapt to technological changes in a timely fashion.
Moving forward

What is needed from the Government of Canada IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan to fulfil, maintain and/or further the Government of Canada's commitment to foster an open, transparent and responsive government?

  • Considerations for artificial intelligence research;
  • Adopt industry approaches to cyber security (“one of a kind” Government of Canada security standards are not aligned with industry solutions);
  • Set up a board to monitor performance and set targets that are manageable and achievable relative to service and digital infrastructure.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

I work in AI research, and the fact that your plan doesn't include a category for, or mention of AI is really short-sighted. AI will soon be automating everything related to government services at every level.

It is unclear how the current plans allow for tighter controls of information. Efforts for data security seem to be just forcing people to do more elaborate work-arounds or simply not share public information.

Based on your experience, what lessons can you share that should be adopted or avoided to make SSC successful?

The answers to these questions mainly recommended that smaller procurement projects be developed to enable competition among SMEs and that Agile be adopted as an iterative IT methodology. Bundled transformation projects were perceived to be stifling competition and negatively impacting quality and efficiency. It was also suggested that the Invitation to Qualify process be improved. In its current form, only three or four providers are regularly eligible to bid.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

The “Agile" approach will ensure that projects meet their defined objectives as they are being developed and implemented.

Many SMEs have direct experience in performing the work required by SSC. SMEs could play a leading role in making SSC successful, but to a significant extent have been excluded from major projects.

The NSSC ITQ procurement does not allow suppliers with specialized expertise to respond to the ITQ. Respondents typically have generalized knowledge in all the eight service areas but do not have high expertise in any area, thereby delivering possibly workable, but often mediocre results. This does not conform to Treasury Board's Strategic Plan.

3.4.3 Emails

Although there was variety in the email responses received, there were two recurring themes: improving customer relations and unbundling of projects to enable greater involvement of SMEs.

  • Use of a customer relationship management (CRM) system to support decision-making and a single view for customers;
  • Organize a team dedicated to managing legacy services to a zero state;
  • Set up advisory councils to work with the Treasury Board Secretariat (infrastructure) and SSC management (service);
  • Separate daily service delivery and consolidation projects from transformation projects;
  • Implementation projects should be unbundled from product acquisitions. Bundling of professional services with product purchases increases costs and decreases the chances of successful delivery.

Comments in the emails:

The size of a contract effectively reduces the Government’s ability to enforce accountability with the vendor. Once a single vendor or Prime Vendor has established itself as the supplier of these many services the Government effectively loses its leverage with that vendor due to the effort and disruption involved in changing vendors

SSC does not have the right business capacity and skill sets in place to support a revised IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan. SSC is comprised of a disparate group of employees with legacy skillsets that came from the departments that were brought together to form SSC. This dilemma is compounded by SSC’s practice of hiring bodies (individual contractors) to execute tasks rather than focusing on programs and solutions.

3.5 Canadians

The data provided in this section were taken from e-workbooks and email feedback.

Some participants self-identified as former SSC or Government of Canada employees. Table 5, below, provides a numerical breakdown of activities based on input from Canadians.

Table 5: Summary of Canadians’ Participation by Activity
Webinars E-Workbooks Forum Email Feedback Roundtable Twitter Engagements Total Contributions
Canadians N/A 119 N/A 7 N/A N/A 126

3.5.1 E-Workbooks

The breakdown of the feedback from Canadians obtained from the online portal was divided into four theme areas: Implementation and Management Strategies; Service as Priority; IT Infrastructure of the Future; and Moving Forward.

Implementation of Management Strategies
People Management (What additional workplace and workforce initiatives are required?)
  • Make use of skilled labour in the regions;
  • Develop and continually optimize online help tools, given the complexity of SSC and the 42 departments it serves;
  • Train employees and maximize the productivity of individuals and teams;
  • Emulate private-sector practices relative to client relationships (e.g., demonstrate value, keep informed, and comply with timelines);
  • Facilitate collaboration throughout SSC by enabling like-minded individuals and by raising awareness of similar projects and ensuring that they are advanced collectively;
  • Set clearer objectives, achieve objectives and measure achievement of objectives;
  • Migrate to open systems in order to eliminate high software purchase and maintenance costs, and re-direct those funds to upgrades and cyber security;
  • Improve vertical communication within SSC;
  • Develop and retain more specialized IT expertise internally and move away from reliance on private-sector contractors and consultants.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

A lot of work needs to be done with respect to the Organizational Culture in the Public Service. If the employees within the Public Service don't embrace (or at least accept) the changes, and if SSC cannot find solid change agents to help promote the change, then the department will quickly find that for every step forward, they'll be taking two steps back.

Financial Management (What approach should be adopted to measure progress, demonstrate benefits and report progress to customers, Parliamentarians and to Canadians?)
  •  Invest in employees and recognize that cost savings are challenging given the nature of government and the shelf life of IT requirements;
  • Identify and measure KPIs against performance and objectives, and ultimately value for services rendered;
  • Come up with better costs for tendering that take the life of required services into account.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

You will not save money with SSC and that should not be the goal. Reconsider the scope of SSC and scale it down to something that will be achievable.

When going out to tender, the full acquisition cost over the life of the commodity should be factored into any bid evaluations; ongoing licensing costs and software upgrade costs should be factored.

Compare your level of service with the cost of similar service in the private sector. If you can't do it cheaper, give it all back to departments.

Cost savings are unlikely – instead, KPIs should demonstrate that the value of what is being obtained is increasing, i.e., that greater value is being achieved through the expenditure of funds.

Project Management (What measures need to be in place in SSC and in customer organization to deliver integrated project planning?)
  • Recognize the limitations of projects, given the rapidly changing IT environment, and build contingency plans in advance; 
  • More decentralization: Involve departments in their own IT initiatives, where relevant and manageable;  
  • Build client relationships by managing expectations and exercising ongoing transparency in the production of deliverables;
  • Re-consider outsourcing, given the problems with ETI and Phoenix (not directed at SSC), and develop resources and talent in house.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

The rate of change of technology is such that no centralized project management system can result in anything but disaster. The only effective means of project management is through the development of local leadership.

The objectives, specifications and outcomes of an initiative should be clearly defined and negotiated with clients in advance. The initiative should be planned within an overall program architecture and divided into smaller managed projects with fixed deliverables and firm schedules. Contingency plans should be in place so that the overall program can continue unaffected in case of slippage or failure.

Service Management (What new tools and processes are required to deliver on SSC’s “as-a-service" model?)
  • Ensure accountability relative to services (process) and delivery (product);
  • Foster a culture of customer service from the ground up with the goal of serving Canadians as the motivating factor;
  • Set up an advisory group tasked with implementing change management strategies.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

You need to be able to work with the partners in a cooperative matter and that ultimately the partners deliver the services that the Canadian population needs.

There needs to be a single point service desk initial customer contact centre based in Canada. Currently it is 1-800 OCanada, but this does not cover all organizations within the Federal Government.

The most important success factor for service delivery is to build and maintain in-house expertise for all technology infrastructure to eliminate dependency on third party service providers.

Change management centred on an educational campaign to help employees better engage with industry and partners around service models is needed.

Security Management (How should SSC be delivering its “security by design” approach for 24/7/365 protection against cyber security threats?)
  • Diversify the technology stack to minimize security threats;
  • Identify the levels of security required, such as digital document, desktop, communication, internal network and external facing elements;
  • Develop “maturity” of employees in house in order to provide and maintain security by design within the Government of Canada;
  • Educate employees on issues of protection and security; treat security as a business requirement rather than a hindrance.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Consolidation can sometimes lead to inefficiency, and also lead to security breaches, since a cyber-attack that breaks through the wall may then gain access to the entire internal system.

Outsourcing is only as good as the next time the tender is put out for, when current contracts expire.

Security requirements should be built in as a fundamental part of the overall program architecture. The appropriate level of security required should be defined for each information element, each information conduit and each data repository so that they function in a cohesive security environment. Flexibility must be built in to allow for changing threat levels.

The IT organization as a whole should be maintained "in-house" and not contracted to an outside vendor as well as subject to security audits. Incident reporting should be simplified. A single point for security and monitoring should be created and staffed.

Service as priority

Although mentioned in other areas of this section, the main input from Service as Priority respondents was the need to foster a service culture throughout SSC. The most telling comment was “There is no off-the-shelf service offering that will create such a culture; it must be developed deliberately and with an investment of time, effort and money.” Given the relative infancy of SSC, and the extent to which employees move to other departments or agencies, SSC appears to be facing significant challenges in achieving this service culture.

Other suggestions from Service as Priority respondents were to delegate authority to the regions and to obtain information on the quality of SSC services, on the morale of employees, as well as input from SSC employees through an ongoing survey to gauge interactions and quality of the workplace.

IT Infrastructure of the future

Under this theme heading, five of the six key program areas were highlighted based on the volume and direction of Canadians’ feedback.

Email Transformation Initiative (ETI)

As in previous sections, Canadians asked important questions about the ETI. The main concern was value: Canadians saw little value in consolidating email as a way to improve government services for the public. Canadians were also frustrated by the fact that the project had failed to achieve targets. Another concern was the longevity of email as a business tool for communication. Given the increasingly widespread use of text messaging and other communication platforms, including voice-controlled messaging, there was a concern that email, like many technologies, might have a bleak future.

Data Centre Consolidation (DCC)

The main concern about this initiative was security. There was a greater risk that the consolidation and standardization of data centres, decreasing in number from 500 to 7, would result in cyber security threats.

Telecommunications Transformation Program (TPP)

There were some comments to the effect that the government should build its own networks rather than rely on the services of companies.

Moving to Wifi would disrupt the transfer of data because it was slower than cable transmission.

Workplace Technology and Devices (WTD)

The perception was that this initiative focused more on cost savings than on better service, and might therefore compromise major infrastructure programs. Another concern was security: If all employees were to use the same computer specifications for every type of work, it would be a greater challenge to apply this requirement to an organization the size of the Government of Canada. One solution was to set up an internal online technical support forum so that people could help each other. Another solution was to consider alternatives to Microsoft products (Mac and Linux) that were more secure. Using open-source software was also deemed a worthwhile investment.

Service Management

There was a concern as to whether or not service management at SSC could be improved if this vision were driven primarily by consolidation and standardization.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

It would be better to make service the vision and use consolidation and standardization wherever appropriate.

Glad to see service first getting air time. It will mean a huge culture shift that starts with SSC redefining its vision and mission.

Is SSC's objective to provide up-to-date, reliable, secure and cost-effective IT infrastructure services to support government priorities and program delivery aligned with the IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan and the future of IT and client requirements?    

  • Draw up a plan for IT industry adaptation and development;
  • Make greater use of industry services.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

Industry offers cloud computing but to a much larger population and can yield a return on investment than SSC. I would suggest that SSC leverage existing industry services for very large federal departments or where it is financially feasible. Many federal departments are smaller in size and should have the option for a localized infrastructure or pay for enterprise services if required.

Build, operate and maintain a common set of IT infrastructure and services to meet all government expectations at a cost. SSC must provide a guaranteed basic set of IT capabilities and services within its funding envelope and offer a range of optional services at extra cost to meet departments' specific requirements.

The whole IT program must be funded and managed on a life cycle basis providing annual capital renewal funding to avoid falling behind technology advances or incurring future rust out problems.

Does SSC have the right business capacity and skill set in place to support a revised IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan?

Generally, the answer to this question was no. Better business skills were needed throughout SSC, and it was necessary to boost employee morale by implementing measures to minimize employee turnover and the number of employees leaving to work in other departments.

Moving forward

What is needed from the Government of Canada IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan to accomplish, maintain and/or further the Government of Canada's commitment to foster an open, transparent and responsive government?

  • Consider more open-source software solutions;
  • Work more collaboratively with clients.

Comments in the e-workbooks:

The plan should be less restrictive. Many departments use open source, yet the plan is forcing them to move to proprietary costly solutions, therefore increasing costs and effort. Examples are Oracle and SQL Server, whereas Postgres and other products, including NoSQL are a better solution.

SSC should operate more like a true provider, where a client can pick and choose from a hardware menu with much more flexible options than exist today, and then choose what operating systems, commercial off-the-shelf, and support levels they wish.

SLA statements from SSC have no value since no penalties exist. If a commercial provider can offer more for less, with penalties, why can't SSC?

Listen to your clients, don't dictate to them. Offer flexible development environments that they can remotely debug from their desktops.

What things could help with making SSC successful? 

  • More funding and staffing;
  • Decentralization to the regions;
  • Development of a strong service culture.

What things could interfere with making SSC successful?

  • Ignoring client concerns;
  • Continuing employee turnover within SSC, which hampers relationship building;
  • Increased volume or continuation of outsourcing.

Based on your experience, what lessons can you share that will aid to make SSC successful?    

  • Know your capabilities and limitations, and follow through on objectives without overly fine-tuning them;
  • Work with clients and be familiar with their requirements;
  • Consider more open-source solutions;
  • Invest regularly in your future.

What are the most important issues or trends that SSC should plan for in 5-10 years?

  • Data processing automation;
  • Rising software development costs and forecasting for those costs accordingly;
  • End users’ expectations will continue to rise, and greater decentralization will be necessary;
  • Shorten the outlook from 5 to 10 years. SSC should be making adjustments within a three-month cycle;
  • Migration away from stationary computing resources to mobile, near-real-time technology (e.g., use of texting, instant messaging and social media rather than email);
  • The need to maintain secure, accessible and permanent information databases;
  • The transition to greater energy efficiency in IT infrastructure (e.g., DC power for all data centres).

3.5.2 Emails

The generic emails covered a range of issues that are included in this report. The following is a summary of the major topics:

  • Procurement
  • Accountability
  • Efficiencies
  • Effectiveness
  • Stability
  • Differentiation of services
  • Funding cycles
  • Capacity building
Procurement

Inefficiencies, particularly with respect to Networking Equipment Support Services (NESS): One respondent gave an example of the discrepancy in pricing: an SFP port that was priced at $500 by Cisco, at $44 by Fiberstore and at $2,500 by NESS.

Accountability

As the Auditor General observed in 2015, the workload that SSC took on at its inception was never “baselined” against the funding appropriation it received. The exact purpose of SSC funding is a source of endless debate both within SSC and between SSC and its 42 partner departments. Was the sole purpose of funding for SSC to make Government of Canada infrastructure sustainable and environmentally friendly (as it existed in 2011, along with organic growth? Or was SSC funded for net new departmental applications and business transformations?

Efficiencies

SSC needs to provide its clients with a single point of contact (i.e. the Service Delivery Manager) who is familiar with the inner workings of SSC, can fill out forms for clients and can deal with operational service management issues.

Comments in the emails:

Why should SSC clients need to know about SSC internal process? Instead of exposing SSC internal process to clients, we should provide the client with a single-point-of-contact who is fully knowledgeable of SSC process (e.g. the Service Delivery Manager).

Effectiveness

SSC is an efficient organization, not an effective organization. SSC lacks the tools and procedures required to manage its branches and service lines horizontally and keep activities focused on SSC (and client) priorities. SSC does not have any type of "matrix management" system to track what people are working on and manage human resource capacity horizontally.

Comments in the emails:

Shared Services Canada should be in the Service business as indicated in the name and this should mean flexible and effective decision making which puts client needs first.

Stability

Stabilize the SSC executive and senior management by reducing turnover.

Comments in the emails:

The turnover among senior executives (at the President, DM, ADM and DG levels) must stop. SSC needs to be exempted from the government policy of moving them to different jobs every 2 or 3 years. This is the only way they can ever be made accountable for the results of the IT transformation program.

Differentiation of services

It is necessary to provide a basic level of services for all clients, and this should be a consideration in SSC funding.

Comments in the emails:

Optional extended/customized services delivered to multiple clients at least partially covered by SSC’s funding. Additional client funding may be required to enable clients to make informed decisions on whether or not the service is really essential.

Funding

Improving funding models for long-term investment is key to SSC’s success.

Comments in the emails:

Continuing capital funding for the Government of Canada IT infrastructure and software must be provided annually on a life cycle basis, over and above the normal annual operating fund allotment. This is necessary to avoid repeated rust-out situations

Capacity building

SSC relies too much on consultants, to the detriment of its own workforce and talent.

Comments in the emails:

SSC must reduce its dependence on outside suppliers to develop and deliver its IT solutions. SSC staff must be integrated into the third party implementation teams, where utilized, to the extent that at the end of the project, they return to SSC with sufficient knowledge to be able to manage, operate, and maintain the systems independent of third party support. Suppliers should only be required for second or third level technical support.

4 Appendices

4.1 Appendix 1: Interpreting the Results

Representativeness of the findings

These consultations were not intended to be representative of any of the five target populations, but rather a discussion of the Shared Services IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan with key stakeholder organizations, the public, interested stakeholders, industry representatives, federal employees and young federal public servants who were invited to participate through various communications campaigns. The report is a representation of the feedback received through this open process. To facilitate engagement in this issue, participants were asked to provide feedback in an open process that looked at key issues related to the core themes of the Plan. In that respect, the consultations were fundamentally different from traditional public opinion research. While public opinion research can be based on a population sample that is representative of Canadians’ views as a whole, these consultations solicited ideas from all those wishing to share their viewpoints. SSC made an effort to extend the reach of these consultations by employing a variety of communication methods and by measuring its success in including various groups based on the demographic information collected throughout the period.

In addition, these consultations were not intended to make generalizations. Given the nature of the stakeholder groups, which may have diverging interests, there are instances where the findings are contradictory. For example, some respondents suggested that SSC look for talent outside the organization, while others believed that SSC should hire internally in order to develop expertise, talent and understanding of the organization. It is important to take the stakeholder group making comments into consideration, as well as the nature of the qualitative data, which is subjective compared with the quantitative data.

Controls used to ensure that respondents were from Canada and not from another country

Participants self-identified and stated their location in a profile questionnaire. A location-based filter would have been difficult to use, given that many large international organizations can use an IP address based in another country. Restricting location based on parameters other than self-identification would have limited the number of public-sector and internal stakeholders who were respondents in these consultations.

Monitoring to limit participants from being respondents in the consultations multiple times

Participants were allowed and encouraged to input their answers on the portal a number of times. The consultations were ongoing and allowed participants to return to, continue with or complete the discussion and submit more ideas based on the policy discussions throughout the three-month period that the consultations were active. For analysis purposes, the portal used cookies to identify new and returning users. To provide an idea of the ratio of new to returning users, our final analytics show the number of users compared with the total number of submissions).

4.2 Appendix 2: Participation

The rate of overall participation in the consultations is shown in this section. Included are specific metrics in the online portal and a table summarizing all of the input by activity and by stakeholder group.

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Overall Activity of Four Stakeholder Groups in the Online Portal.

Total to date

Key Metrics

Total Submissions Total Contributors
783 325
[75 SSC Employees
135 Federal Employees
36 Industry Submissions
79 members of the Public]

Note: Possible for participants to provide feedback in more than one company

Total Visits Unique Visitors
26,811* 22,211*

*Source: Google Analytics

Figure 2: Breakdown of Activity by Sample

Figure 2 shows that the aggregate number of e-Workbook submissions is 639 and that the number of submissions to the Forum is 35. Separate from the data shown in Figure 2 is the number of submissions in the Email feedback option, which amounted to 62. There were also a total of 4,021 views of the consultation document.

Webinars

A breakdown of activity in each webinar is shown in the following table.

Facilitated Webinars on IT Transformation Plan

Webinar counts provided by Shared Services Canada events team reflect total connections, some may represent multiple participants in boardrooms, while there may also be some overlap between teleconference and webcast as well as between dates.

  Total Sept 23 Sept 28 Sept 29 Sept 30
Webcast Connections 1121 382 390 170 179
Teleconference Connections 429 144 142 71 72
Total Connections 1550 526 532 241 251

The above table shows the breakdown of participants by webcast and teleconference. These events were held for SSC employees on September 23 and September 28, and for Government of Canada employees on September 29 and September 30. On each date, approximately twice the number of participants were connected by webcast than by teleconference hookup. There was also about twice the number of SSC employees connected as there was Government of Canada employees. Overall, there were 1,550 connections to the webinars. It should be noted that this number reflects the minimum number of employees who participated in the webinars. The number is likely higher, given that, in some instances, employees gathered in the same room to listen to or view a webinar.

Table 6: Summary of Stakeholder Participation by Activity
Webinars E-Workbook Forum Email Feedback Roundtable Twitter Engagements Site Feedback
SSC employees 1,058 187 8 23 N/A 100 56
Partner or other client organization employee 492 252 27 11 N/A
Industry representative N/A 81 N/A 21 78 N/A
Canadians N/A 119 N/A 7 N/A N/A
Total 1,550 639 35 62 78 100 56
Grand Total 2,520

*Young federal public servants would have had access to the four activities available to SSC employees or partner organization employees. However, since young federal public servants were not asked to self-identify in these activities, the extent of their participation in these activities is unknown.

In all, there were seven different events, or pathways, whereby stakeholders could contribute input to the consultations document. As shown in Table 6 above, the highest level of participation was in the webinars, followed by the e-workbook activities. Participation in the Forum and email activities was similar to that of the e-workbook activities, i.e., respondents answered the same questions using various formats (e.g., some industry respondents submitted a separate pdf document containing answers only to questions related to their needs, and included some general comments in the introduction and conclusion).

Because some of these activities had very little or no input from various stakeholder groups, they are not included in some of the reporting, or they have been included in the analysis of the e-workbooks.

4.3 Appendix 3: Methods and Sample

This section includes a description of the Consultations Portal. The Consultations Portal hosted the e-Workbooks, the Forum, and the Email feedback form. The other exercises described in this section were the Webinars and the Industry Roundtables.

E-Workbooks

E-Workbooks were a series of activities that provided stakeholders with information on a given topic and asked them a series of close-ended and open-ended questions. The platform also included a consultation document, which was included in each e-workbook.

The following topics were covered:

  • Topic 1: Implementation
  • Topic 2: Service as Priority
  • Topic 3: IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan of the Future
  • Topic 4: Moving Forward

A fifth topic entitled Technological Transformation: IT Partners was included in the Industry e-Workbook only.

For each topic, there was a list of questions for which input was requested. A sample question for each topic is provided below:

  • What approach should be adopted to measure progress, demonstrate benefits and report progress to customers, Parliamentarians and to Canadians?) (Topic 1)
  • What other tools or strategies should SSC consider using? (Topic 2)
  • Has SSC designed the right plan for building a secure, reliable and efficient digital platform for providing services to Canadians? (Topic 3)
  • What is needed in the Government of Canada IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan to fulfil, maintain and/or further the Government of Canada's commitment to foster an open, transparent and responsive government? (Topic 4)

The e-Workbooks also included several closed-ended questions intended to obtain a description of the sample. For example, questions from the SSC e-Workbook were located in the Appendix. All text-based data submitted by participants were entered in an Excel sheet for analysis. Google Analytics was used to determine the volume of participant activity on the Consultations Portal.

Forum

SSC and Government of Canada participants were given an opportunity to have an online discussion with other participants using the Consultations Portal. To guide the discussion, some questions in the e-Workbooks were asked. Participants did not have to answer these questions. The purpose of the Forum was to allow participants to provide feedback through another channel.

Like the e-Workbook data, text-based content was compiled in an Excel sheet and participant activity was calculated in Google Analytics for analysis purposes.

Email feedback

The Consultations Portal also included an email address to which participants could send feedback. Emails were sent to SSC and were compiled in an Excel sheet for analysis. The data set is included in the final report.

Webinars

Webinars were held on September 23, 28, 29 and 30 at a location in Gatineau, Quebec. The first two webinars were held for SSC employees and the latter two for Government of Canada employees.

Each webinar lasted two hours. The webinars were a mix of presentations by SSC senior managers, followed by questions asked in person or online. An Ipsos representative facilitated the event.

Transcripts in Word were provided for each webinar to be used for analysis.

Twitter events

Two Twitter events were held on November 14, 2016, one in each official language, for a period of two hours each.

Transcripts of the tweets were provided and used for analysis.

Analysis

For the closed-ended questions, a participant activity analysis was carried out to determine the number of participants in a given category.

For the open-ended questions, a thematic analysis identifying common themes in the data was conducted. Quotes are used to highlight the findings.

The analysis and the identification of key themes were used to highlight participants’ suggestions, perceptions, best practices and criticisms relative to the Government of Canada IT Infrastructure Transformation Plan.  

Consultations Portal (e-Workbook, Forum and Email feedback)

4.4 Appendix 4: SSC Employee Workbook (Example)

Introduction to the Workbook Exercise

Finding more information:

This series of workbooks consist of a synopsis and questions derived from Building the Government of Canada’s Digital Platform document. You may learn more by reading the full document [here]. You may also choose to access the document in each workbook. In the synopsis you will also find a link to the relevant section of this document. You will find more information pertinent to a given workbook. This information may add to your understanding of the particular topic and aid in providing input in the questions embedded in each workbook.

Purpose of the Workbooks:

These workbooks offer an efficient means of collecting the views of stakeholders in a consistent and clear format. Information is presented on a particular topic that Shared Services Canada (SSC) is seeking input. Stakeholders are subsequently asked to answer close-ended or open-ended questions directly related to the particular topic of a workbook.

Each workbook focuses on one of four topics, identified as follows:

  • Implementation and Management Strategies
  • Service as Priority
  • The IT Infrastructure of the Future
  • Moving Forward

The content stakeholders generate in a workbook will provide more accurate content analysis that can be triangulated across other data sources to identify reoccurring themes and commentary. Ultimately, this leads to comprehensive reporting that offers deeper understanding on the topics under investigation.

Note on Participation

As identified in the Confidentiality and Privacy statement, you are not obligated to participate in this portion of the Consultation in whole or in part, nor will you be attributed to any comments, if you choose to participate. On that point, you may choose to complete each section, to complete one section, or to complete no section, and you may return to add more thoughts on the subject should you wish to contribute further. 

If you proceed, we thank you in advance for your participation and input to support the development of Shared Services Canada’s updated transformation agenda.

The first workbook addresses the Implementation of Management Strategies. Other workbooks address the following topics: Service as Priority; The IT Infrastructure of the Future; and Moving Forward. Should you wish to complete a workbook on one of these topics instead of the current workbook please visit http://www.ittransformationconsultation.ca/SSC-employees/"the Shared Services Canada’s employee feedback area, otherwise you will be returned to that screen once you have completed Implementation Management Strategies.

Privacy note to follow each open text response

For maximum privacy protection, ensure that you do not provide your personal information such as Personal Record Identifier (PRI), Social Insurance Number, home contact information, etc. Also, do not provide personal information about someone else.

Consultation Profile Questions

Shared Services Canada is committed to an open, transparent and inclusive process for the consultations on its Information Technology Transformation Plan. We would very much appreciate you taking a few minutes to tell us a bit about yourself. This information is meant to allow us to ensure a broad range of individuals have contributed to this consultation exercise. Demographic information will not be linked to your submission specifically; however, it may be used to drive opportunities for feedback with specific groups. You are by no means required to complete these questions, however doing so will help us better conduct similar consultation exercises in future.

Please verify that you are an SSC employee by clicking on the button below.

I am an SSC employee

In which Province/Territory are you located?

Which of the following best describes you? I am:

An indeterminate employee
An indeterminate employee with more than 1 year of experience
A student
A casual employee
A term employee
A manager or middle management at SSC
A senior manager/management at SSC
None of the above
Prefer not to disclose

How long have you been working at Shared Services Canada?

Less than 1 year
1 year
2 years
3 years
4 years
5 years
Prefer not to disclose

What is the total number of years you have been working for the Government of Canada?

Less than 1 year
1-5 years
6-10 years
11-15 years
16-20 years
More than 20 years

Which of the following best describes you in relation to using information technology (i.e., computers, programs, Internet, troubleshooting)?

I have very basic knowledge of information technology
I have some knowledge of information technology
I am an information technology specialist
I have contributed to major Information technology transformations

To what extent are you aware of your role regarding cyber safety (more information can be found at: http://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/csam-tlkt-en.aspx)?

[Across]

  • Very aware
  • Somewhat aware
  • Not very aware
  • Not at all aware/never knew the Plan existed

[Down]

  • Cyber security protection
  • Protecting your files
  • Protecting your identify
  • Protecting yourself against malicious email

Before reading about the IT Transformation Plan how aware were you of the following key programs?

[Across]

  • Very aware
  • Somewhat aware
  • Not very aware
  • Not at all aware/never knew the Plan existed

[Down]

  • Email Transformation Initiative
  • Data Centre Consolidation
  • Telecommunications Transformation Program
  • Cyber and IT Security
  • Workplace Technology Devices Initiative
  • Service Management

Introduction to Shared Services Canada Information Technology Transformation Plan

This workbook is a summary of Building the Government of Canada’s Digital Platform.

Learn more by reading the full document here.

SSC is updating the IT Transformation Plan to modernize the infrastructure that supports the Government of Canada’s government data, email and telecommunications networks. This document provides an overview of the IT Transformation Plan and poses questions on what an updated plan should include and what it should deliver. We are seeking your feedback.

The Government of Canada IT Transformation Plan is the infrastructure component of the IT priorities for the Government of Canada aligned with the IT Strategic Plan. Government IT priorities, including departmental IT plans, the Cloud Adoption Strategy, and the consultations leading to an updated Cyber Security Strategy all fit together.

What is the IT Transformation Plan?

The Government of Canada IT Transformation Plan is the roadmap to modernize the Government of Canada’s IT infrastructure and delivery of IT services. SSC delivers email, data centre, network and workplace technology device enterprise services to departments and agencies in a consolidated and standardized manner to support the delivery of Government of Canada programs and services. With a whole-of-government approach to IT infrastructure services, SSC is generating economies of scale to deliver more efficient, reliable and secure IT infrastructure services.

How to participate

There are different ways you can provide your views.

  • Visit Canada.ca and provide your feedback through the interactive consultation workbook.
  • Provide your feedback before October 31, 2016 by email to: (insert consultation email address).

SSC will review all input. A variety of perspectives will assist the department in its efforts to renew the Transformation Plan. SSC will post online a summary of the feedback received in a “What We Heard” document in November, 2016.

The consultation report will also be provided to the Independent Review Panel. This panel is reviewing SSC IT Transformation plan to ensure IT consolidation initiatives are managed in a way that allows departments and agencies to deliver programs and services to Canadians effectively, efficiently and securely. 

Structure for Workbook Feedback

These workbooks are divided into four topic sections. At the conclusion of each workbook you will be presented with a series of questions. Each section begins with contextual information that serves to aid participants’ understanding of a given topic in advance of being asked related questions.  

Please visit the appropriate workbook below as part of Shared Services Canada’s Information Technology Transformation Plan:

  • Implementation of Management Strategies
  • Service as Priority
  • The IT Infrastructure of the Future
  • Moving Forward

Workbook 1: Shared Services Canada’s Information Technology Transformation Plan: Implementation of Management Strategies

SSC is mandated to deliver reliable IT infrastructure services so government can deliver programs and services to Canadians. SSC inherited an ageing, highly fragmented IT infrastructure, underscored in the Auditor General’s 2010 Spring Report. As the report noted, this environment was at high risk of service failure and exposure to cyber-attacks.

To learn more click [here].

To see a synopsis of what SSC inherited in 2012 to where SSC wants to go, click [here - insert link to Table]

Managing the IT environment – A shared responsibility

There are several departments responsible for governing the IT environment throughout the Government of Canada, each with varying responsibility (more information can be found about each department in the full consultation document):

  • The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) of Canada
  • Customer departments and agencies
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Shared Services Canada
Getting the Foundation Right: SSC’s evolved Integrated Business Model

The benefits of a government-wide approach to delivering and modernizing IT infrastructure services remain clear.

However, the scale and scope of SSC’s transformation agenda is ambitious and depends on a host of external and internal factors for success.

SSC is evolving its business model to better support an organization-wide focus on service delivery excellence and financial and project management throughout operations. Five organizational management disciplines guide the department’s path forward:

  1. People Management: Building the skilled human capacity SSC needs to achieve its IT service delivery and modernization goals, both now and in the future. Workforce planning, recruitment, ongoing learning and development and employee enablement are some of the measures that will be undertaken. A key focus will be on strengthening capacity to meet evolving skill requirements in critical and emerging areas such as cyber security, service and project management, and business analytics.

    People management: what additional workplace and workforce initiatives are required?

  2. Financial Management: Establishing a clear and transparent costing and pricing strategy that fully accounts for new and ongoing service demand and supports a formal capital replacement program to address the challenges with end-of-life, end-of-service IT equipment.

    Financial management: what approach should be adopted to measure progress, demonstrate benefits and report progress to customers, Parliamentarians and to Canadians?

  3. Project Management: Upgrading the project management regime to ensure effective governance, integrated planning, and timely organizational capacity, enabling SSC to optimize the value delivered by its projects, embrace new technologies, and ultimately meet rising demand for ever-faster, capable and more secure digital services.

    Project management: what measures need to be in place in SSC and in customer organizations to deliver integrated project planning?

  4. Service Management: Adopting a more holistic, customer-centric approach to providing daily services and delivering on transformation activities, supported by a revamped Service Management Strategy, enterprise tools and processes, and a dedicated program, all designed to improve service delivery going forward.

    Service management: what new tools and processes are required to deliver on SSC's "as-a-service model?"

  5. Security Management: Adopting a security-by-design approach throughout operations, alongside delivering the trusted, protective and resilient enterprise-level security services needed to achieve the government’s federal IT security vision and outcomes, ensures trusted delivery of federal programs, and protects Canadians’ privacy and their data.

    Security management: how should SSC be delivering its "security by design" approach for 24/7/365 protection against cyber security threats?

Action plans to implement the People, Financial, Project, Service and Cyber Security strategies will be developed and informed by the IT Transformation Plan consultations, by the advice from the Independent Review Panel and ongoing engagement with SSC staff and customer organizations.

Are there other areas that SSC should add for additional focus?

Thank You Message

Thank you for participating in the Implementation of Management Strategies workbook. Please explore the other workbooks below to provide further feedback.

Acknowledgement Email

Thank you for participating in the SSC IT Transformation Plan Consultation - '[SURVEY_TITLE]' Workbook

Dear participant,

Thank you for submitting your feedback to the SSC IT Transformation Plan Consultation. Your responses will remain anonymous and will not be linked to your profile. Responses will be reported by Ipsos to Shared Services Canada in aggregate format.

For your reference, your responses are listed below.

[Answers]

Thanks again,

Ipsos Public Affairs Consultations Team

Workbook 2: Shared Services Canada’s Information Technology Transformation Plan: Service as Priority

Revamping the Roadmap

The updated Shared Services Canada’s Information Technology Transformation Plan, informed by the work of the Independent Review Panel, the broad-based consultations with staff, customer organizations and industry, will comprise a strategic plan. The Plan will address the challenges and guide the government towards a simpler, smarter and more secure government-wide IT platform and service delivery model.

To learn more click [here].

Organizational Transformation – Service is the First Priority

SSC wants to ensure its programs and services reflect an enterprise-class service delivery organization. The Plan will embrace a “service first” philosophy and “as-a-service” model to deliver the right services at the right time.

SSC will act as a service provider and service broker for high-value IT infrastructure services, delivered either by SSC or by private industry. The objective is to meet customers’ highest standards of security and confidentiality, integrity and availability. SSC would offer advice and guidance to support its customers in developing strategies and services for today and for the future.

To achieve its “service first” model, SSC is using service management and service delivery tools such as:

  • Clear service targets, such as service hours, service availability and the time required to restore services,
  • A consistent customer experience, customer-driven demand management regime,
  • Full customer visibility over the state of their services.

What other tools or strategies should SSC consider using?

Thank You Message

Thank you for participating in the Service as Priority workbook. Please explore the other workbooks below to provide further feedback.

Acknowledgement Email

Thank you for participating in the SSC IT Transformation Plan Consultation - '[SURVEY_TITLE]' Workbook

Dear participant,

Thank you for submitting your feedback to the SSC IT Transformation Plan Consultation. Your responses will remain anonymous and will not be linked to your profile. Responses will be reported by Ipsos to Shared Services Canada in aggregate format.

For your reference, your responses are listed below.

[Answers]

Thanks again,

Ipsos Public Affairs Consultations Team

Workbook 3: Shared Services Canada’s Information Technology Transformation Plan: The IT Infrastructure of the Future

Technological Transformation – The IT Infrastructure of the Future

SSC will realize its technological vision through efforts of its six key program areas:

1) Email Transformation Initiative (ETI). The Email Transformation Initiative aims to establish a single enterprise email system with a standard @canada.ca naming convention. This will impact 500,000 government mailboxes across Canada with completion projected by March, 2018.

To learn more about the ETI click [here - hyperlink]

2) Data Centre Consolidation (DCC). The goal of DCC is to deliver government programs and services through seven or fewer (from 500) secure, and interconnected enterprise data centres in the coming years. The new data centres need to have adequate back-up infrastructure for services to be delivered seamlessly.

To learn more about DCC click [here - hyperlink]

3) Telecommunications Transformation Program (TTP). The government’s IT infrastructure facilitates minimal interconnectivity and standardization.

Some examples of how SSC is addressing these issues includes: Consolidating the Wide Area Network infrastructure into a single enterprise network; consolidating the Local Area Network infrastructure and enabling Wi-Fi for 80% of public servants by 2020; updating phone systems including greater deployment of wireless devices and Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services; and standardizing videoconferencing services to increase productivity, reduce travel and gain efficiencies.

To learn more about the TTP click [here - hyperlink]

4) Cyber and IT Security (CITS). CITS is responsible for the development of plans, designs and operations of Cyber and IT security services for the government’s IT and Secret infrastructures.

To learn more about CITS click [here - hyperlink]

5) Workplace Technology Devices (WTD) Initiative: WTDs are essential office equipment. This includes software and hardware.

To learn more about WTDs click [here - hyperlink]

6) Service Management. SSC has established a Service Management Strategy and account teams to deal directly with client organizations. The goal is to establish effective service management practices by implementing mature IT service management processes to maximize efficiencies, simplify workflows, and enhance the quality of services delivered. 

For SSC to deliver on each program it is adopting an integrated planning approach to identify all key interdependencies, directly address departmental readiness and capacity, and ensure proper sequencing and coordination.

To learn more about the Service Management Strategy, click [here - hyperlink]

Has SSC designed the right plan for building a secure, reliable and efficient digital platform for delivering services to Canadians?

Is SSC's objective to deliver modern, reliable, secure and cost-effective IT infrastructure services to support government priorities and program delivery aligned with the IT Transformation Plan and future of IT and customer needs?

Please elaborate.

Does SSC have the right business capacity and skill sets in place to support a revised IT Transformation Plan?

Please elaborate.

Will the proposed implementation plans help us to move toward the desired goals in each area?

  • Do those implemetation plans raise new issues that SSC will need to address?

Please elaborate.

Thank You Message

Thank you for participating in the IT Infrastructure of the Future workbook. Please explore the last workbook below to provide further feedback.

Acknowledgement Email

Thank you for participating in the SSC IT Transformation Plan Consultation - '[SURVEY_TITLE]' Workbook

Dear participant,

Thank you for submitting your feedback to the SSC IT Transformation Plan Consultation. Your responses will remain anonymous and will not be linked to your profile. Responses will be reported by Ipsos to Shared Services Canada in aggregate format.

For your reference, your responses are listed below.

[Answers]

Thanks again,

Ipsos Public Affairs Consultations Team

Workbook 4: Shared Services Canada’s Information Technology Transformation Plan: Moving Forward

To foster a modern, digital public service, SSC is committed to providing Canadians with secure and reliable service efficiently and effectively.

To learn more click [here].

SSC’s role is to make the right choice in updating and modernizing the government’s technology infrastructure. SSC needs to work in concert with all government organizations to build a shared service and IT platform that is efficient and effective. Underlying this vision is to ensure adequate cyber protection of data, shared firewalls and IT security defences.

What is needed from SSC's IT Transformation Plan to accomplish, maintain and/or further the Government of Canada's commitment to foster an open, transparent and responsive government?

What three things could help with making SSC successful?

What three things could interfere with making SSC successful?

Based on your experience, what three lessons can you share that will aid to make SSC succesful?

  • What are the most important issues or trends that SSC should plan for in 5-10 years?
Thank You Message

Thank you for participating in the Moving Forward workbook. Please explore the other workbooks above to provide further feedback, if you have not already.

Acknowledgement Email

Thank you for participating in the SSC IT Transformation Plan Consultation - '[SURVEY_TITLE]' Workbook

Dear participant,

Thank you for submitting your feedback to the SSC IT Transformation Plan Consultation. Your responses will remain anonymous and will not be linked to your profile. Responses will be reported by Ipsos to Shared Services Canada in aggregate format.

For your reference, your responses are listed below.

[Answers]

Thanks again,

Ipsos Public Affairs Consultations Team

Ipsos, Public Affairs
1 Nicholas Street, Suite 1400
Ottawa ON K1N 7B7
Tel: 613-241-5802
Fax: 613.248.7981
www.ipsos.ca

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