Data#3 hit hard by Qld IT uncertainty

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Data#3 hit hard by Qld IT uncertainty
John Grant

Data#3's HY2013 results were dealt a blow by ongoing uncertainty around the Queensland Government's IT strategy, CEO John Grant has revealed to CRN.

The company is due to report its results for the six-month period tomorrow. Grant said over the past year Data#3 had been forced to seek more business from the private sector as a result of the Queensland Government's stalled $5 million State of IT audit, first initiated in May last year. 

Grant declined to comment on what proportion of Data#3’s business Queensland government contracts made up, but said it was substantial.

“To be a big business like ours, which is generally a products and services business, you need to have government business. We’ve been doing it a million years.”

The results of the audit were due for public release last November, but were stalled at the ministers’ review level. It was to provide a masterplan for the review of 900 IT projects and 10,000 systems. 

Grant said he expected more delays following the resignation of the state's IT chief, but the industry needed certainty. Former minister Ros Bates resigned late last week, with Ian Walker announced as her replacement.

“[The government] has painted themselves a very sombre picture of the state’s finances, and I guess the question mark within the business community is ‘is it really that bad?’ and if it is, are there more constructive ways of getting out of it?”

He said despite the government dragging its feet, Data#3 would still “have dancing shoes on” if the results of the review meant increased investment in technology by government agencies, but it would continue to look at the private sector.

Windows 8 rollout begins

Meanwhile, Data#3 has begun rolling out Microsoft’s new operating system across its 650-strong workforce.

The reseller first signalled its intention to move all its staff to Windows 8 last October. Grant said 240 workers would be moved across to Windows 8 over the next few months, with the remaining 410 staff put on the new OS “over time”.

“We were one of the first organisations to move to Windows 7 and we’re doing the same with Windows 8,” he said. 

Grant himself has already moved onto a Windows 8 smartphone, calling his HTC 8X “excellent”, citing its sleek design and ability to slot into a multi-device Windows ecosystem. 

He said staff will be offered a variety of hardware choices from Data#3 partners HP, Toshiba and Lenovo. He singled out HP’s Envy line of PCs as an example of a well-designed Windows 8 product.

Datat#3 will also offer its staff Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet. But despite already selling in the US, the software giant is yet to reveal when or if the device will make its way to Australia.

Grant said he is yet to receive communication from Microsoft on the tablet’s arrival.

He said the hardware implications of Windows 8, as well as the cost and suitability to Data#’s internal operating environment meant the company was taking a slower approach to the rollout.

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