SITA spends R500m on defence IT

Johannesburg, 28 Jun 2007

The State IT Agency is spending about R546 million on behalf of the Department of Defence to keep the organisation fighting-fit, at least in terms of IT.

<B>Application software and data projects:</B>

Defence management applications
Command and control: 5
Planning and control: 51
Military intelligence: 7
Business intelligence: 28
Functional applications
Resource management: 47
E-learning: 17
Military health: 8
Organisational design: 4
Support: 7
Common applications
Messaging: 23
Electronic content management: 44
Data projects
Various: 23

SITA acting CEO Peter Pedlar recently told Parliament the department was his second-largest big customer and operated about 500 separate information systems, 120 of which he defined as major. These supported over 720 units and 30 000 business and military users in the land, air, naval and information spheres.

Pedlar told the joint standing committee on defence that the department had recently approved a defence enterprise information system master plan. This would "provide an integrated departmental view and a realistic single execution mechanism of all initiatives, programmes, projects and requirements, in terms of both the investment and maintenance portfolios".

The SITA acting chief added the monolithic view the public took of the defence establishment was wrong in that the department consists of a civilian defence secretariat and a defence force, which, in turn, consists of four services and a number of supporting entities. Many of these have highly individualistic proprietary legacy IT and telecoms systems that are now approaching the end of their useful lives.

<B>Infrastructure projects:</B>

Telecommunications: 87
Computing platforms, peripherals, sensors: 27
Database management: 6
System collaboration services: 3
App delivery services, portal: 20
Info and comms security system: 17
Infrastructure management: 13

The master plan will allow the department to work away these stovepipes in a way that will see better value for money; more secure IT infrastructure and data transmission; and greater compliance to governance standards, as well as legislation. It will also put its crafters in charge of priorities and allow "all acquisition and partnership [to] follow [a] transparent procurement process".

Pedlar broke down defence department projects involving SITA into two categories - those involving infrastructure and those involving application software and data projects.

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