Q&A with 
Derek Paterson, Director, NSW GovDC & Marketplace Services,
NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation

Can you tell us about your role and current priorities?

As the Director of the Government Digital Communities service, I’m focused on building capability that empowers the public sector to harness digital technologies. The efficiency imperative is placing increasing pressure on agencies to adapt, and ICT as-a-service it a model with proven results. We are developing services to assist agencies in their transition to an as-a-service ICT model, including identity management as a service, hybrid cloud capability, colocation services, and the digital marketplace.

What are some of the biggest challenges for future government service delivery?

Finding a balance between centralisation and autonomy of service delivery has always been a challenge for government and will continue to be. NSW is a geographically and demographically diverse state, and accounting for the service needs of all those different people and contexts is going to require us to really empower our agencies to make the best decision for the citizens they serve.

How do you see GovDC and the Digital Marketplace fitting into helping solve these challenges?

GovDC provides a solid foundation from which an agency can grow its digital practice. We provide a home for your infrastructure, a hybrid network through which to consume services, an online marketplace for sourcing services and an identity management platform to manage access across a large ecosystem of technologies. Agencies are free to use these services as they transform their internal practices. But each agency has a unique place in the NSW ecosystem and it’s up to them to structure their practices to suit their individual needs and the communities they serve. We hope to give them the tools to make that job easy.

Where are the opportunities for innovation in service delivery?

I think NSW government has some very well defined goals in terms of achieving a customer-centric service model, which is demonstrated by the Digital Strategy announced by Minister Dominello last April. In particular you can really see the role data will play in a truly digital government. So I would say there’s an opportunity to really orchestrate the best way to harness data – how do we collect it, how do we decide what data is valuable, how do we store and filter it, how do we display it. There’s a lot of experimentation taking place.

Why did you chose to participate in the event? What are you hoping to achieve onsite?

I just want to hang with all my friends - But really, this is a community event, and it’s about all of us coming together as a community to discuss the issues most important to us. It’s also an event to discover the exciting projects we are each working on and learn how we can leverage the work each other are doing. I hope at the end of the day I’ve met someone new, discovered a new innovative initiative, connected leaders in the sector with leaders in the industry, helped to solve a problem, helped to define a problem… it’s all about connection and working together.

Q&A by eHealth NSW Chief Executive Dr Zoran Bolevich

Can you tell us about your role and current priorities?

As well as being NSW Health’s Chief Information Officer, I’m the Chief Executive of eHealth NSW, an agency responsible for planning, implementation and support of the largest digital health program in Australia – the digital transformation of NSW Health. My priorities are to build on our current areas of strength to accelerate implementation of the eHealth Strategy for NSW Health: 2016-26. I’m passionate about improving our public health system through meaningful and effective use of digital technologies, data analytics, research and innovation in partnership with patients, clinicians, health organisations, government departments and industry partners.


What are some of the biggest challenges for future government service delivery?

For starters, we are being challenged to meet an almost insatiable demand for more, while doing so in an agile, flexible way while maintaining the integrity, safety and security of our systems and data. We are also being asked to enable access to a wide portfolio of solutions available to customers, while delivering to their expectations on operational and cost efficiency, service availability and key SLAs and KPIs. We are striving to provide for individual customer requirements while ensuring that the overarching requirements of NSW Health, and indeed the wider State Government, are not compromised.

How do you see GovDC and the Digital Marketplace fitting into and helping to solve these challenges?

GovDC provides NSW Health with a solid foundation for the hosting of eHealth NSW’s critical digital systems. We no longer have to worry about ongoing maintenance of a range of legacy facilities but can now rely on the solid consistency and availability of two Tier 3 Data Centre facilities. GovDC integrated with our Health Wide Area Network and the recently announced State Budget investments, through our Whole of System Digital Platform, now gives us the ability to provide availabilities from Health facilities to the applications located in GovDC. This is not something we have been able to do in the past and it’s becoming more and more critical with the growing reliance on our clinical applications. The GovDC Marketplace is also a key element in our planning. The ability to leverage off the size of NSW Government to consume appropriate, consistent services offers us a fantastic opportunity. For example, we recently struck a deal with Cerner Corporation to host all of NSW Health’s Electronic Medical Records disaster recovery systems in GovDC as a service. In short, GovDC is central to our future planning for an enterprise-wide NSW Health Virtual Data Centre which will allow Health entities to consume services from a range of other ‘as a service’ providers in addition to those consumed directly from eHealth NSW.

Where are the opportunities for innovation in service delivery?

eHealth NSW’s innovation agenda focuses on providing our customers with consistent and reliable services that offer value for money - an array of services that customers can choose to consume to best meet their needs. Our value proposition is strengthened by our ability to provide a single source of delivery and billing for a wide range of ICT services. eHealth NSW will move to more of a broker role in service delivery, through offering services from a number of providers. This approach will continue to lock in competitive tension, ensuring cost-effective service delivery, whilst also continuing to offer services off our own equipment. In many cases, our own hosted environment will be the best and most efficient means of service delivery particularly involving sensitive patient or research data.

Why did you choose to participate in the event? What are you hoping to achieve onsite?

It feels like a fantastic opportunity given that this event will involve 750+ key stakeholders from the public and private sectors across Australia, including CDOs, CIOs, CTOs, and heads of departments involved with digital and ICT services and solutions, for presentations, workshops, briefing sessions, panel discussions, a large exhibition and networking. eHealth NSW is striving to be more and more innovative and the best way for us to do that is to collaborate with industry and other jurisdictions. I’m hoping to make connections, share news of some of our great work and to be inspired by other innovative approaches to digital transformation and digital services.


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