CIO year in review

CIO year in review

Industry highlights from 2013

The Department of Human Service vowed to reduce system outages in January, as it had experienced 137 system reliability outages between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.

To improve the stability of its systems, the DHS cut the number of data centres used by the department from seven to two, located within data vaults. The department used “highly resilient tier 3+ facilities” to improve service reliability.

DHS migrated its customer portal to a 64-bit environment to increase the number of concurrent sessions that its online portal can handle, improving reliability.

The department’s ICT teams were undertaking ongoing configuration of “agentless monitoring devices” through its data centres to monitor data packets. These devices are expected to provide more comprehensive monitoring of IT transactions across the department.

Reducing complexity

The Department of Defence announced it would reduce its number of computer rooms from 280 to 10, which along with the next-generation desktop project, was expected to save the department around $400 million.

“[This] moves us into more of a private cloud, virtualized environment, [which provides] more flexibility and the ability to scale [capacity] up faster than we do today,” said CIO Dr Peter Lawrence.

Defence said it was also retiring around 3000 complex legacy applications and replacing them with Oracle’s database and middleware products under a four-year, $63 million contract with the software giant.

NAB is about three years into a 10-year business transformation initiative to modernise its IT systems. The bank said it expected to save $800 million annually by reducing the complexity of its technology systems, centralising operations and support functions, and reshuffling senior management positions.

The bank also announced it would migrate 4 million customers over to its NextGen core banking platform during 2014-16.

“In parallel, we have been rationalising our product range. We will than progressively look at how we put business products onto the NextGen platform,” said NAB's enterprise services & transformation group executive, Lisa Gray.

Healthcare in a digital world

SA Health rolled out the first part of the state’s largest IT project in August. The Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) was deployed at Noarlunga Health Service, with the complete rollout across all hospitals to take place over the next two years.

SA Health CIO David Johnston is about seven years into $422 million, 10-year project, having spent five years implementing the underlying infrastructure to support EPAS and two years developing the e-health system.

The system is configured to work with the federal government’s personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) scheme, with eight metropolitan hospitals and one regional hospital now sending discharge summaries to the PCEHR.

SA Health, in partnership with Telstra, also rolled out more than 3500 beside computers across 12 of the state’s hospitals, which has been the largest rollout in the world for this type of technology.

The equipment for a bedside computer consists of a 17-inch touchscreen, keyboard and telephone, headphones and it is mounted to a wall or from the ceiling. The equipment can be bleached and cleaned for infection control.

With EPAS now rolled out at the Noarlunga hospital, the bedside computers can switch from being an entertainment package for patients to a clinical work station for healthcare workers.

The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) issued a tender in February to digitise more than 40 million patient records stored on old microfiche archive equipment between 1975 and 1984 before the government’s Medicare scheme was introduced.

Digitising these records reduces the risk of the department not being able to access these records when microfiche becomes obsolete. It also eliminates the risk of damage and deterioration of the microfiche media, “rendering the card unreadable due to wear the tear”, DoHA said.


Carsales’ search engine, RyvusIQ, won the Most Innovative IT Project award in the inaugural year of CIO Australia’s CIO 100 Awards.

The online business’ engine is the brainchild of developer Michael Ridgway, and it was initially created for internal use across the company’s many sites but is now being promoted to external classified and retail organisations.

Carsales used to be previously powered by a search engine called Endeca which is now owned by Oracle. “It cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not a seven-figure amount of money to implement,” said CIO Ajay Bhatia.

In 2010, users wanted to be able to search by multiple vehicle makes, models and colours. The company was restricted by the search platform it used at the time and was not able to respond as quickly as it would have liked to customer requests.

“One of the developers came to me and the CEO and said, ‘You are asking me to do all these innovative things, but I cannot do them with this search engine.’ And from customer feedback, they were also asking for all these new search innovations,” Bhatia said.

“So we commissioned six weeks of research for them to work only on the project and prove to us what they could do and build a prototype.

“Carsales-owned Quicksales website is also powered by that search engine, our own proprietary search engine, and we now are starting to sell that to other organisations,” he said.

Since implementing RyvusIQ, Carsales has experienced a 16 per cent decrease in customer support calls; and a 1 second reduction in page load times compared to the previous search engine. The company can also publish new stock online in less than 1 minute compared to 1 to 2 hours previously.

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Tags Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy version 2.0IT transforrmation

More about Akamai TechnologiesAmazon Web ServicesAmazon Web ServicesAppleBillBlackBerryDepartment of DefenceDepartment of HealthGoogleKronos AustraliaMicrosoftNABNational Australia BankNextGenOracleQueensland HealthSamsungTelstra CorporationWoolworthsWoolworths

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