It’s that time of year again where we reflect and think about what we want for the year ahead. This year, with all its highs and lows, was an eventful one for CIOs, with many starting to get the ball rolling on their cloud and mobility initiatives, or undergoing some kind of transformation.
CIO Australia has put together some highlights of 2013:
Cloud in government
When it comes to the role of cloud in government, system integration issues between government agencies dominated discussion.
Australian Tax Office CIO Bill Gibson criticised government ICT systems as being siloed and disparate. Australian government CIO Glenn Archer said a cloud environment has the potential to help overcome some of this silo.
"In a cloud environment, policy ownership is not such a big issue because of your ability to move the underlying application between entities is much easier,” Archer said. "And if you do need to form some kind of integration hopefully we will look to do that in a cloud environment not between physical departments of state.”
The Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy version 2.0 that Archer released in May maps out his implementation of cloud computing initiatives. This includes government exploring the feasibility of a government community cloud in early 2014 and migrating public facing websites to cloud hosting at natural ICT refresh points.
CIO of Victorian Department of Business and Innovation, Chris Gilmore, questioned whether the cloud would prove to be easier when it comes to integrating government systems across different agencies, as there are still issues in terms of interoperability, data sharing and security, and the level of complexity in different cloud offerings.
The NSW government has shown a keen interest in adopting cloud, with the state’s CIO, Laurie Glanfield, saying it’s a “move away from spending a lot of money on infrastructure and starting to acquire a much more mobile and agile range of services to deliver the services we need to deliver to the community”.
Cloud in the enterprise
National Australia Bank moved its customer website from an internal legacy system onto the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud.
The transition, which took place in September, meant the NAB website was reduced from 10,000 pages down to 2000 pages. Website information is hosted by AWS at its Sydney data centre.
“If you’re in New York, instead of traversing the Internet all the way back to Melbourne, you are viewing the site on Akamai’s cache. That gives us a sub two second performance, particularly on mobile [devices],” said general manager Thor Essman.
The move has saved almost 250 per cent on technical operating costs and reduced incoming Internet traffic into NAB’s data centres by 90 per cent.
Coles announced it was setting up a hybrid cloud environment for its Kronos-based ‘time and attendance’ workforce management application in order to quickly stand up testing and training of projects. Infrastructure deployment times can go from six weeks to one day, depending on the project, and it is forecast to save the company “millions” of dollars per year. About 600 to 700 workloads will be moved to the cloud over the next year or so, with about 30 per cent already in the cloud.
Woolworths announced plans in April to roll out its Google Apps platform to 26,000 national and state office staff. The supermarket was also looking into how it can use Google Plus, Google Drive and Google Sites to help transform “other aspects” of its business.
Dick Smith announced it would phase out its Microsoft environment and replace it with Google Apps to facilitate staff collaboration on their mobile devices, making extensive use of Hangouts, Google Groups, Talk, Drive and Docs.
NAB’s general manager of infrastructure, Kari Schabel, said, “Team members have mobile access on a device of their choice to workplace applications, as well as documents through a secure cloud-based document repository.
"The next stage of NAB's workplace strategy will be introducing greater choice for team members, with a select-your-own-device strategy soon to come delivering support for iOS, Android and Windows 8 smartphone devices.”
The Department of Defence created a BYOD plan this year called corporate owner and personally enabled (COPE). This will be supported by a Defence app store and users will be able to work even when they are disconnected from the network. The department is working with Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry to make it a reality.
The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) started developing a bring-your-own device (BYOD) policy at the beginning of the year. CIO Eija Seittenranta said the BYOD policy is being created for the department's ‘one stop shop’, which is part of a reshuffle of ICT services and staff.
Learning from past mistakes
Following Queensland Health’s $1.2 billion payroll disaster, the state government released an outline of its ‘ICT action plan’ in August, where “immediate action” is being taken to stabilise ICT systems currently used and address their risk profile.
The plan includes making the progress of IT projects visible to the community through an online dashboard. The dashboard includes information about each initiative’s investment objectives, timeframes, implementation partners and costs, as well as a link explaining why projects have a ‘red’ or ‘amber’ status.