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The Modern Workplace Initiative working hand in hand with the National Digital Strategy

Publication Date: Jul 04, 2019

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Written by Ian Scicluna Laiviera

Scicluna Laiviera Ian 93783M.jpgThe Finance and Contract Department (FCD) is in many ways a facilitating and department by which MITA can track its engagements and the progression of those endeavors as prioritized by the Strategy Business department (SBD) in its strategic goals.  In so many words the FCD department tries to ensure that the budgetary votes assigned to MITA per year are best utilized to ensure the best impact and efficiency, at the least cost both for its day to day operations and for its respective clients, which preclude Ministries and Government entities.  The Licensing Management Unit, which operates as part of FCD in terms of Software Licensing management, is making headway and leading with a major change in both business operations as well as shifting a cultural change at MITA and government.

This refers to the Modern Workplace Initiative, which was established as part of the National Digital Strategy. A high-level discussion, which included higher management officials, was held to undertake a shift in the licensing model that was present and adopted through Government at the time. This change entailed moving away from a one-time cost perpetual model to a Subscription based model, also known as Software as a Service (SaaS).  ICT operations are rapidly moving away from the old in-house server models and perpetual licensing to virtual and more responsive Cloud Services and software through consumption and on demand.

FMD 3.jpgWhile this nouvelle idea may seem just in the way costs for software licensing are made it has far reaching implications.  The change to SaaS serves several objectives in line with the National Digital Strategy which can be summed up as having the ambition of ‘Empowering Government Employees through a Digital Workplace.’ How you may ask?  The strategy, as set by the Modernization Initiative will ensure that all Government Employees are located on the same platform, streamlining technology and licensing to all government work force in terms of operations (such as Microsoft Office 365). Achieving this transition to one central unified platform will bring many direct and indirect advantages.  One key benefit for this will be to facilitate faster updates and reduce required technical support on outdated systems.  Additionally, the modern tools offered by having the latest software across the board allows for greater depth of use, access, scalability through devices and mobility, which is a pre-requisite in today’s day and age.   This radical change would ensure that adoptions are in line with shifts in the ICT industry as well as Government’s outlook on the digital Sphere, which is ambitious and goes beyond Workplace Digitization.   At its core and through the initiative, in line with empowerment through modernization the following benefits become palpable;

·       Work anywhere

·       Anytime

·       On any device in a secure manner

With the onset of Cloud based computing and SaaS, security has been a main concern, both internationally in recent years as well as domestically in recent months.  At the time of writing, Malta is fully invested in a nation-wide Cyber Security Initiative, led by the Information Security and Governance Department (ISGD), as part of the National Digital Strategy.  The Modern Workplace Initiative complements this strategic driver, in as much as the SaaS warrants added encryption and security, which in many cases is shifted to the supplier of the software license and gives an added level of security to users, entities and ultimately Government.

FMD 1.JPGThe first milestone for Workplace Modernization will be attained when all government users have changed to new 365 platform, which has a target date of end of year 2020.  Achieving this will set the foundation by which MITA and Government can be better equipped and connected to then cease and capitalize on future coming technologies such as Cloud Computing and later, Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT’s) which would cement the titular moniker of “Blockchain Island”.  FCD as a department is proud to have been in a key instrumental position to assist and guide contractually  as well as  financially with Microsoft and other departments, to have facilitated this initiative, and through it help MITA deliver on its remit within the National Digital Strategy as a whole.