A report commissioned by the Ministry of Finance last year highlighted several issues in basic public sector digital service solutions, such as desktop services and server infrastructure.
For example, the basic workstation service includes management of the local network and workstation software. Server infrastructure covers hosting, cloud computing and data services. These are services with which the end user usually does not have direct contact but which are nevertheless crucial for the functioning of IT solutions.
The report suggests sufficient resources to ensure that funding for basic services has not been allocated. The state has no overview on the cost of basic services and on how to plan the relevant investments. Existing solutions do not facilitate effective cooperation between agencies either.
The public IT sector has been underfunded for years. While ministries and agencies in their administrative areas have requested additional funds to maintain and update basic services, such requests are generally ignored.
Siim Sikkut, MKM’s deputy general secretary in charge of digital development, said the domain requires an additional 60 million euros per year.
A technological backwardness has been created, and if 30 million euros have been allocated in next year’s budget to remedy the problem, it will not go all the way.
“We will postpone some updates. We will replace the servers later than we should, we will take that risk so to speak. We will also be adopting new software versions that are late. Incidents have become more frequent as the security work of the information is pending due to lack of resources. Or because the systems are uneven for the same reason, “Sikkut said.
The new National Center for Information and Communication Technologies to be created should make it possible to remedy these shortcomings. The Economy Ministry said the new agency would help save money, improve the quality of service, improve efficiency and provide specialists with a more motivating working environment.
“We can do more with less by working together,” Sikkut said.
Former Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology Kaimar Karu described the establishment of the center as sensible and capable of solving a number of public sector IT problems.
“Solving these problems can be seen as a hygienic measure. Improving the management of basic services creates a premise for dealing with the remainder of the technological backwardness. Consolidation of basic services makes sense in both cases. basic infrastructure – which will stay or come closer to the customer. While the problems that everyone shares will be taken care of by this one center, ”explained Karu.
Karu believes that the general expenses will not decrease thanks to the new center. However, this would help reduce spending on insensitive activities. The remaining money could be used to improve services.
Karu said the people behind the Estonian digital state have done a good job under conditions of limited resources.
The National Center for Information and Communications Technologies is due to start work on December 1.