GCPedia a success, says Government of Canada CIO

Government of Canada CIO Corrine Charette declared GCPedia, the federal government’s internal wiki a success during her keynote speech at GTEC 2009.

GCPedia was launched at GTEC 2008 to provide a collaborative text editing environment for federal government employees.

Since the original pilot within the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada, GCPedia has grown to having more than 8,600 registered users across 95 departments.

“Clearly this is a community that is ripe for collaboration,” said Charette.

Aside from providing a repository for government information, there have been some unexpected uses of GCPedia. Particularly document sharing across departments.

At one point, most civil servants kept their documents in their e-mail box and e-mailed them around when requested, eating up a fair bit of bandwidth.

With GCPedia, a document now only needs to be posted once and is accessible to other users, even those working for a different agency.

Charette said this kind of streamlining of operations should set the tone for future IT infrastructure changes.

She noted that the Government of Canada currently has 30 different implementations of human resources software running departments that have the exact same HR policies.

“The government spends too much time implementing the same systems over and over again,” she said. “Today the diversity of implementations is no longer practical or feasible.”

Charette said she’d prefer the time spent constantly setting up the same payroll systems instead be spent on more interoperability and interconnection.

“It’s something the private sector is doing routinely,” she said.

Charette closed her address saying the government needs to be doing more with less, along with more pilot projects to evaluate new technologies before committing them to a larger project.

“We need to get faster, we need to get more collaborative,” she said.