AR 2014-15: 2. From the Chief Executive
CenITex saw a strong finish to the financial year with a good surplus, a solid balance sheet, a stable operational platform, continuing low staff attrition and key service levels being met.
We ended 2014-15 with a surplus of $8.4 million, our first since 2010. While an element of this related to a change in the accounting treatment of our assets, the major share was achieved by a focus on cost management and cost reduction, and by increased productivity enabled through efficiencies realised from investments in modernising and standardising infrastructure on the Government Shared Platform (GSP). The year also saw greater than budgeted project work driven by our customers.
Our staff demonstrated remarkable resilience and professionalism, particularly in the face of an uncertain future as a result of market testing and potential for outsourcing as an outcome of Project Atlas. The Government’s decision to retain CenITex brought some certainty about our future and renewed vigour to a workforce eager to capitalise on the investment and hard work we have put in over the past several years.
In 2014-15 we again met the service benchmark of 99.8 per cent availability for our workplace and application hosting services. We resolved close to 90 per cent of the 10,000 Service Centre contacts each month in less than the targeted two hours and exceeded our customer satisfaction benchmark among all customers who engaged with our Service Centre or second level support.
In light of the efficiency gains achieved, the CenITex Board agreed to the absorption of both Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) related cost increases, so prices for customer services will remain at 2014-15 levels for 2015-16.
Further efficiencies are anticipated from the decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to migrate from its separate environment to the GSP, which will nearly double the number of users on the GSP to 23,000. The migration will take up to two years to fully realise and will further strengthen our ability to convert economies of scale into better services and lower costs.
Our business planning indicates we will have the capacity to share these efficiencies through reducing prices in 2016-17.
A key factor in our delivery against agreed service levels has been a continued focus on risk management and a targeting of infrastructure refresh investment in those areas that risk assessment identified as most relevant for service availability and customer satisfaction. These improvements have enabled CenITex to deliver benefits to customers through the year, both in improved customer service and reduced costs. Improvements to infrastructure and services include:
- an upgrade to the Storage Area Network (SAN), which brought improved application performance
- an upgrade to the remote access service by migrating Citrix-based virtual desktop infrastructure to a dedicated server and state-of-the-art solid state disk storage, which uses two-thirds less space and 80 per cent less power
- the introduction of the McAfee spam quarantine system and a self-service spam control console to combat the increasing frequency and sophistication of malicious email campaigns and allow our customers to release quarantined email messages without having to call or email our Service Centre
- the roll out of self-service password reset features across DELWP, DEDJTR, DTF, DPC and the Victorian Ombudsman
- the introduction of a RSA remote access security soft token for new users and users with expired hard RSA tokens, which allows security codes to be downloaded onto mobile phones when working offsite
- a significant price reduction for the Traveler smartphone and tablet service and added mobile access to the Sametime instant messaging feature for Apple and Android devices at no extra charge.
A total of 531 customer projects valued at $18.3 million were opened during the year. Of those, 204 were larger projects valued at $14.3 million and 327 were minor projects valued at $4 million. Some of our significant customer projects included:
- an upgrade of 1400 customers to Windows 7 on the GSP across the former DTPLI, DSDBI and VicForests in Melbourne and regional offices (all GSP customers will be on Windows 7 by early August)
- completion of an 18-month project to refresh 40 servers with DJR and CSV and migrate their shared Oracle Financials system to the new platform
- completion of a TRIM document management upgrade for 1600 desktops across DTPLI, Public Transport Victoria and the Taxi Services Commission, plus a further 600 users in Land Victoria and the former DPCD
- an upgrade of the Citrix Access Gateway, Lotus Notes email servers and TRIM for the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel
- assisting DTF with the update of its financial management system (SRIMS) development environment, and migration to the Whole of Victorian Government (WoVG) wireless network
- completion of an upgrade to the Integrated Client and Case Management System (ICCMS), a 24/7 application supporting DHHS child protection services
- installation of a new guest wifi network at DPC’s MacArthur Street offices. By leveraging off previous WoVG network investment, wireless guest access has now become a CenITex-supported service and will be offered in the Customer Service Catalogue at 60 per cent below market rate.
In 2014-15 we continued to build capabilities across the organisation and develop staff skills through training and development courses. There was a large focus on programs related to resilience in response to change, and staff also participated in online training programs and courses covering management development, workplace effectiveness, team building, specialist technical areas and occupational health and safety. An externally delivered employee assistance program was also available.
I would like to recognise the professionalism shown by our people during the past year. In the face of uncertainty, they have responded in a manner which you would expect of those who take deep pride in delivering quality services to their customers and through them, to the Victorian community.
The 2014-15 year has been financially successful.
Earnings before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were $31.7 million, representing a $9.6 million improvement on 2013-14. Importantly, we achieved a surplus of $8.4 million, the first time a surplus has been achieved since 2010.
This year we continued to implement and strengthen our financial controls and accountability, particularly in relation to procurement and recruitment.
Due in no small part to the hard work and professionalism of our staff, we head into the future on a strong financial and operational platform.
Our primary focus will be on building a closer relationship with our customers, delivering a more contemporary workplace environment and exploring the opportunities that the cloud offers for greater efficiency, mobility and lower cost. We are budgeting for a further surplus in the coming year, which will enable us to reduce prices.
We will be investing in the technologies, skills and partnerships needed to best enable our customers to meet the needs of the communities they serve. We will also invest in the people, systems and services needed to ensure the reliability of our platforms with a particular focus on enhanced security, access control and system availability.
The organisation has been well served by the CenITex Board, which remained unchanged this year. Taking up the recommendations of the independent review of the Government’s business support shared services, we look forward to welcoming greater customer representation onto the Board next year.
Management and staff consistently delivered in 2014-15, meeting customer expectations while managing major change. I thank them for that and I also thank our customers for their on-going support.
I am confident that we will continue to deliver a high quality of day-to-day services while embracing innovation and increasing our customer focus. We are heading into an exciting, challenging and rewarding year.