NSW Public Sector
Communities of Practice

ICT Professionals Events


Special Interest Group – Problem Management

Registration and Refreshments: 3:00pm - 3:30pm

Session: 3:30pm - 5:00pm

Close: 5:00pm 

This valuable event will focus on Problem Solving and Error Control Management with a case study on the implementation and maturity of Problem Management based on real-world understanding of what works and what does not.  

Special guest speaker Michael Hall, from NAB, will share the successes and challenges faced in implementing and maturing problem management capabilities.

Both government agencies and a broad range of private industries have adopted, or are currently adopting Problem Management into their day-to-day IT operations.  Key concepts of Problem Management and elements to be covered during the Special Interest Group include:

  • Successfully delivering a business case to demonstrate the value of Problem Management
  • Implementing an Effective Problem Management function 
  • Delivering significant improvement in the stability and effectiveness of business service provided by IT 

You will have the opportunity to hear the experiences of other organisations such as Michael Hall who has transformed Problem Management in Deutsche UK, Bupa Australia and is currently working on NAB problem management. He is also the author of "Problem Management an implementation guide for the real world". Of course, the real value of these sessions will be the contributions and sharing of experiences from all participants that attend.


If you have a colleague who would like to attend who is not a member of COMPRAC, please have them register here. They will receive an invite within 24hrs.


Previous events

IDEAS: The Great Debate

The next event of the ICT Community is IDEAS: The Great Debate and will be held on Tuesday 18th February 2014 at 3:30pm. Come and hear the ‘Extreme Cloud’ team of Richard Host (CIO, Fire & Rescue NSW) and David Kennedy (CIO, Trade & Investment) argue vigorously with the ‘Considered Approach’ team of Pedro Harris (Executive Director, Finance and Services) and Stephen Wilson (CIO, Sydney Water) on whether agencies should embrace cloud or whether they should hold off because it is too risky. It will provide an opportunity to listen and question the debaters, discuss the issues with your colleagues and have a bit of fun. Following the official proceedings there will be refreshments and networking time with your fellow ICT professionals from across the NSW Public Sector.
You must be a member to receive an invitation to all Community of ICT Professionals events (click on the Join tab above if you are not yet a member). Entry will be limited to members who have registered for the event. 


INSPIRE ICT Community Event, 4 December 2013, hosted by DTIRIS

At the ICT Community event on 4 December, Anthony Mitchell from Bendelta gave a fantastic presentation on career development. He outlined lots of ideas aimed at developing a career vision and he has kindly given us permission to reprint some of his ideas here, for the benefit of the broader ICT Community (and for their personal use only).

In his presentation Anthony emphasised that career trajectories are very fluid and flexible and that career progression is no longer necessarily linear.

Anthony said that we all actually have many career development options right at our fingertips. These include:
* Staying in our same role
* Enrichment within our current role - working out what we want more and less of and focussing on achieving this
* Vertical movement - moving upwards from our current position
* Exploration - testing out new career options through secondment, job rotation etc
* Lateral movement - moving to new teams or job areas within our current organisation
* Realignment - shifting to less responsibility for a particular period
* Relocation - completely changing business units or career streams within our organisation
* Proposal - pitching to establish a new role in our organisation
* External - moving to a completely new organisation

Anthony in his work at Bendelta has also extensively researched the careers of successful people. Specifically he has focussed on identifying the characteristics of people who have successfully managed their own career and progressed to the top of their fields.

Anthony noted that these individuals share many characteristics. They:
* Have a vision of the career they want
* Manage their careers proactively and seize opportunities when they are presented
* See their careers as their responsibility
* Are willing to make many career moves, even if they are backwards, in order to open themselves up to new knowledge and experience
* Made good use of senior people as mentors and support
* Integrate continuous learning and always challenge themselves
* Know themselves very well and are very honest about their strengths and weaknesses
* Take a long term view of their career
* Take on different traits of successful role models
* Focus on what they find exciting.

So how can we apply these lessons to our own careers? Anthony said that to manage our careers we need to:

1. Focus on success - what is our career vision and how can we build a bridge from where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow?
2. Find flow - this means challenging ourselves. Anthony reported that research shows peak performance is achieved when we are challenged and when we apply our talents to resolving challenging issues. He argued that we will therefore be most successful when we challenge ourselves, when we work beyond traditional patterns, outcomes and routines and push ourselves to achieve new things.
3. Create a learning map - an effective learning strategy allows us to leverage and develop our strengths, mitigate our weaknesses and address our own 'derailers', the personal issues we specifically need to work on and improve.
4. Develop a matrix of reinforcements - Anthony said we can each develop our own mechanisms to help us stick to our plans and to change any behaviours that need changing
5. Foster our handful of helpers - Anthony concluded by saying that no one does it on their own! We all ultimately need a handful of helpers, a group of people who will provide us with: a coach to mentor and give us feedback, a comparison who will give us a role model to emulate, a critic who will tell us how it is, a collaborator who is in there with us and a confidant who will give us a shoulder to cry on. This combination of helpers provides the inspiration and support necessary to succeed.

Anthony's presentation was very inspiring and made all present realise the many career development options we have available to us and the power we hold over our own careers.

Thank you Anthony!



On Wednesday 28 August 2013 the NSW Public Sector Community of ICT Professionals held its second member event, INNOVATE, sponsored by the NSW Police Force.

The Innovate event highlighted three case studies of innovative ICT projects in the NSW public sector. Our speakers were Dr Richard Lehane of State Records NSW, Matt Carrigan from the Bureau of Transport Statistics and Strath Gordon from the NSW Police Force.

Over 105 Community of ICT Professionals members gathered to hear their great stories of Public Sector ICT innovation.


Richard Lehane, State Records NSW

As the first speaker of our Innovate event, Richard spoke about the power of harnessing existing data in new and innovative ways. Rather than waiting for large, complex projects to drive innovation, Richard encouraged the audience to look for the small scale, achievable innovations that can genuinely transform everyday operations.

Richard started by explaining the role of State Records. One of its primary functions relates to regulating state-wide government recordkeeping under the State Records Act but its other primary function relates to providing public access to government archives that document the 200+ years of NSW government administration.

Richard likened State Records’ role in this area to that of the new government agency, Service NSW. Service NSW provides a convenient, coordinated, one stop shop for anyone wanting to engage with any of the services currently provided by the NSW government. State Records provides exactly the same type of role, but for historic functions and services that were once provided by government.

Richard then compared and contrasted the online search interfaces and capacities of Service NSW and State Records. Service NSW has a very clear, simple and powerful search tool that connects users directly to the information of most relevance to their queries.

Up until very recently, State Records’ online search tool was, in contrast, very complex to use. It required users to have a high level understanding of archival catalogues and information management structures and required a lot of active interpretation and assessment from users in order to drill down and ultimately find the information they require. It also required users to understand which form of many potential search options best suited their specific enquiry and to then actively interpret the results.

State Records’ new online catalogue, Search, has changed all this. Now users simply enter a keyword in one standard search box. Results are presented in a clear and simple manner, it is simple to limit searches to specific time periods and the most relevant information is presented first.

Website metrics show the outstanding success of this new tool. Use of the new catalogue has risen dramatically and users are staying within the catalogue for much longer periods of time as they explore the many more connections and information pathways enabled by Search tool.

Richard emphasised that none of this innovation, which has been praised by State Records’ users and awarded with a significant national award, was actually initially intentional. State Records had known that its search tools were complex to use but as a very small organisation with limited capacity for what was assumed to be a large scale catalogue review, a formal review project had never been initiated.  


State Records was however actively engaged in the NSW ICT Strategy and was committed to principles such as ‘Effective government service delivery requires timely access to the vast amount of data, information and knowledge held across the public sector, and an ability to identify and consolidate that information in a secure, structured and consistent manner.’ (NSW ICT Strategy 2012, ‘Managing information for better services’) State Records therefore initiated various small scale projects to enable the tremendous datasets it has compiled about the functions, services, agencies and records of 200+ years of NSW government administration to be shared and used across government.  

It was while working with these datasets to enable this sharing that Richard and his Digital Archives team colleagues realised that it would take a very small amount of additional effort to leverage the work they were already doing and create a comprehensive new search tool. Richard estimates that 80% of the work was accomplished by the data improvement work they were already undertaking with all the ensuing benefits for the search catalogue only requiring an additional 20% effort.

Richard emphasised that data is king and quoted Rob Pike’s Notes on C Programming: ‘Rule 5. Data dominates. If you've chosen the right data structures and organized things well, the algorithms will almost always be self-evident. Data structures, not algorithms, are central to programming.’

Richard encouraged the audience to look for little everyday innovations which could lead to unanticipated and serendipitous outcomes. When working with data, there are so many opportunities to design small changes to feed this into business, or to share it with government and the community to radically alter practice and efficiencies. State Records’ Search tool was a fantastic example of this kind of innovation.


Matt Carrigan: The Bureau of Transport Statistics, Transport for NSW (TfNSW)

In his excellent presentation, Matt addressed the theme of innovation by looking at the Bureau of Transport Statistics' (BTS) innovative use of travel data to improve transport services. Matt's team in the BTS is providing visualisations of data generated by Opal cards to TfNSW so they can monitor and improve transport services.

Before the new Opal Card came online in NSW, staff from the Bureau of Transport Statistics contacted business areas across Transport for NSW to ask if there was data from the Opal cards that these areas could use for business analysis and travel improvement strategies.

Multiple business areas from across Transport responded to this call and identified ways they could improve their activities by using the Opal data. Matt's team in the BTS then worked with these business areas to collect business requirements that identified the specific business areas that could get the most benefit and value from the data, and to define and develop the datasets that would best meet their business needs.

Now that the Opal Card is operating, business areas across TfNSW are able to access and use types of travel data that have never been accessible to them before. Also, daily data processing provides staff with incredibly rich and up to date travel data which has already provided tremendous value for business intelligence and improvement strategies.

Because of the success of this project, the BTS is working with more business areas across Transport to generate more data sets to aid more business improvement strategies. They are also continuously liaising with user groups to incorporate lessons learned and to ensure that business units continue to be provided with the most useful and best structured data.

As with any large, complex project Matt's team has encountered some challenges. For example, some of the new data sets have been integrated with legacy data sets. While this provides important through-time perspectives, integrating the legacy data has been a challenge as it is not as complete, rich and granular as the new data. Dealing with the massive amounts of data generated each day by the Opal system will also require active ongoing management.

Overall, data innovation at Transport for NSW has lead to significant business efficiencies and to significant increases in sharing and distribution of business intelligence. It is also all contributing to a better transport system by capturing near real-time data around transport journeys and, thanks to the requirements work that Matt's team undertook with business areas, this data is quickly able to be actively used to help monitor, innovate and improve the NSW transport system.

This project's success came down to the team at The Bureau of Transport Statistics being aware of the upcoming Opal card and working directly with business units to maximise the potential of this new ticketing system. Close collaboration with business units also enabled datasets to be defined in ways that meet best business needs. Matt's team is also committed to continuous improvement, ongoing assessment of their data collection and expansion of this very successful project.


Strath Gordon, NSW Police Force

In his very engaging and entertaining presentation, Strath Gordon from the NSW Police Force spoke of the innovation that has occurred within the NSW Police as a result of their social media program.

NSW Police is the biggest police force in the southern hemisphere. Since 2009 they have been using social media to communicate warnings, arrest information, emergency updates, news and information and crime prevention tips and to thoroughly engage with the NSW community.

Prior to embracing social media, Police had a lot of one way communication with the community through its website and traditional media outlets. Social media however has provided a whole new way of communicating with the public and the media. The messages that the Police Force is communicating have not fundamentally changed, but social media is providing an incredibly rich new channel for these messages and has given Police a mechanism for engaging directly with the community.

The community has been very receptive to the Police Force's social media communications and have been very willing to engage directly with the Police. The Police's Twitter account has 40,000+ followers, its YouTube channel has had 2.2+ million views and the Force has 232,000 friends on Facebook.

These different channels provide excellent mechanisms for disseminating important Police information but each day, NSW Police also receives fantastic information from the community through social media. For example, the Police Force conducts regular Facebook surveys and these generate genuinely useful data about community needs and interests which is used to better configure services and priorities.

Police's social media engagement has shown that overwhelmingly, the community really wants to assist the police and social media provides a direct channel for them to do this. A significant number of cases have actually been solved thanks to all the information provided by the public through social media.  

Police social media channels vary in their scope, from broad, high level engagement across the whole state to very granular, local and community based programs, such as the tremendously successful local Eyewatch Facebook pages run by local area commands. These pages have had major success in resolving local crime, engaging communities, sharing local

information and fostering relationships and partnerships in local areas.

A significant amount of monitoring is required for all of Police's social media accounts but the Force is fortunate is having a very committed and active media unit that operates 24 hours a day. This Unit performs continuous monitoring of all Police social media channels.

Through Strath's presentation it was clear that the real innovations that have come through the Police's use of social media have been:

* genuine community engagement

* genuine strengthening of relationships with the community

* speed and efficiencies in information dissemination to the community and media

* rapid and effective communication in emergency situations

* increased intelligence from the community that has helped to resolve many crimes and improve Police awareness

Due to the resounding success of their social media strategies, Police are looking to expand their social media presence to other areas of their business, including crime reporting and case tracking for certain offences. More announcements from Police on these innovations will be forthcoming.


Launch event: Thursday 23 May 2013

The official launch of the NSW Public Sector Community of ICT Professionals was held on Thursday 23 May 2013 at the William Wilkins Gallery (Department of Education and Communities) in Bridge Street, Sydney.

The launch event was hugely successful. More than 180 members filled the William Wilkins Gallery to capacity and Chair of the ICT Community Tim Hume introduced the Community and the speakers. Members enjoyed listening to:

  • Michael Coutts-Trotter, NSW Government CIO and Director-General of Department of Finance and Services who officially launched the Community of ICT Professionals. Michael’s very entertaining speech gave compelling examples of the business, social, personal and economic transformations that are possible through ICT innovation. Michael highlighted NSW’s commitment to ICT and gave examples of NSW ICT priorities from the perspective of both a Director-General and also a public education consumer.
  • Graeme Head, NSW Public Service Commissioner also strongly welcomed the establishment of the Community of ICT Professionals. Graeme showed how ICT is a fundamental underpinning to the strategic and policy objectives of the NSW Government. He encouraged the networking, knowledge exchange and information sharing that the Community can facilitate and commended NSW ICT professionals for their obvious support of this new community of practice.
  • Hayley Jensen, Principal Commercial Analyst, Corporate Services Relationship Management, Housing NSW, who told her personal story of transitioning from a core ICT role in the banking sector to her current role in the NSW Public Sector. Hayley’s entertaining and inspiring presentation reminded all present of why ICT work in government is so important. ICT is a critical underpinning to every service that is provided to the citizens of NSW, and Hayley reminded us that innovative ICT practice can contribute so much to every citizen in the State.
  • Dave Rumsey, CIO Tourism Australia who told the extraordinary story of Tourism Australia’s amazing social media presence. Tourism Australia has 4.5 million Facebook fans, and 1,000 images are uploaded by fans to its Facebook page every day. Dave’s very entertaining and informative story was a wonderful demonstration of the power of social media and showed how social media can genuinely be a win win for business and for the community. Tourism Australia’s business has benefitted exponentially through use of social media – there are thousands of conversations about Tourism Australia every day and it has advocates now across the world actively selling the message of Australia as a tourist destination. But each of these individuals gains something as well, such as the ability to share their story, or promote their business or connect with others or learn more about Australia. With a small investment and with the involvement of passionate staff, supportive management and a team of ICT enablers, Tourism Australia has produced very significant business and community outcomes.

After the event, a large number of members stayed to talk with one another and to discuss their work in ICT. It was wonderful to see all this networking in action and it really demonstrated the value of the event, and the genuine connections the Community can help to establish.  


Thank you again to the Department of Family and Community Services, particularly CIO Tim Hume and his team, who were the proud hosts of this event.