Census website fail will have ‘profound’ impact on Australian technology sectors, IT analysts say
Emily Burke and staff
16th August 2016
The fallout from the census debacle will be far reaching and could open up the field for tech providers vying for lucrative government contracts, IT industry analysts say.
- Progress report on findings of investigation into census website fail due this week
- Industry experts say IBM will bounce back
- IBM one of the dominant players in IT services market, expert says
One week after the “census fail” there are reports some Australians are still trying, and failing, to complete the census online.
An investigation into what went wrong with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website by technical security experts is expected to release a progress report sometime this week.
Meanwhile, IT industry analysts have told ABC’s PM program the fallout from the incident will be far reaching.
Founder and chairman of the Glentworth company which specialises in data information, Neil Glentworth, said the impact would be felt in both the public and private sectors.
“We will see a great deal of risk-aversion creeping back in and there’ll be a lot of people who rightly will be quite shy of a) doing business with the public sector, but b) the public sector doing business with the private sector,” Mr Glentworth said.
“I believe the impact will be profound because people will be reluctant to expose themselves to that level of risk.
“The incident with the ABS and their vendor ultimately breaks trust and that trust and reputational damage affects everybody, right across the board.”
Mr Glentworth said regardless of what is found to have caused the ABS website breakdown, “reputations have been damaged.”
“I think we will see a slow down of activity that in the end will damage the community at large.
“The pace of change in the wider economy is so significant that Australia as a country needs to stay competitive.”
He said this is generally not the domain of the public sector, which needs external organisations to assist.
“Australia has a thriving talent base of companies that can assist in that area and the public sector is quite a challenging environment to deal with, but also private industry is very hard to negotiate as well.
“I believe it’s incredibly important we keep that conversation going for the good of the advancement of the economy of Australia.”
IBM will ‘bounce back’
There is now fresh scrutiny towards IT giant IBM which has been blamed for failing to take adequate pre-emptive steps to deal with “entirely predictable” denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Apart from a brief apology issued last week IBM has made no further comment about the problems with the online census, for which it received almost $10 million to design, develop and implement.
Independent IT industry analysis Rodney Gedda from Telsyte said “it doesn’t look good” for the company.
“But having said that we can probably expect to see more negotiations with IBM alongside other competitors, rather than just being seen as the contract renewal, or the go-to, company,” Mr Gedda said
“I think IBM still has a lot to offer government customers, it’s certainly not out of the game, it’s not the end of IBM.”
Jim Longwood, from the IT research and advisory firm Gartner, said IBM will “bounce back”.
“They typically have 15-25 per cent of the IT services market share in countries like Australia, it’s certainly one of the dominant players in the Australian and global market,” Mr Longwood said.
“The brand will suffer initially in the Australian marketplace … particularly in state and federal government.