Penrith City Council will call for tenders this week to implement a $1 million information management system with plans to start the project in January 2004.
The project is to establish a core information system for the local government authority, which is the sixth largest in NSW, has an annual budget of $140 million and a population of 172,000.
The council's information manager, Graeme Pattingale, anticipates sign-off for the project in December so it can go live in July 2004.
Then Pattingale and his four-member IT team will begin stage two of the project which is the implementation of an asset management system.
Pattingale said pressure to identify and improve efficiencies at the council is the main driver behind the project as the manual filing system currently in place is "creaking".
He said the council has just completed the implementation of an e-mail archiving solution to manage the exponential growth in e-mail and the need to have a legally compliant record management system in place.
IDC estimates the number of e-mails sent on an average day is expected to hit 10 billion worldwide this year increasing to 35 billion e-mails a day by 2005.
The council's legal officer supported installation of the solution Enterprise Vault from KVS which archives all electronic communications so "when we receive a subpoena or are managing a difficult development application I know it is on the hard disk", he said.
Previously, Pattingale said, information was not being retained and the council had to rely on individual users making decisions on what to save, file or print and place in hard copy files.
The council has 950 employees with 450 using e-mail, the same number that will also be using the planned information management system.
The cost of deploying the KVS solution is around $85,000 per 1000 users and the council purchased 520 seats.
KVS' newly appointed regional director, Bjorn Engelhardt, said that, in the past IT managers responded to the e-mail problem by introducing storage limits to inboxes - which means employees delete e-mails or store them chaotically.
"This leaves companies legally exposed as records need to be maintained for at least seven years; also, the probability of data being recovered declines to almost zero within 90 days of its origination. Therefore, storing historical data on primary storage systems is an expensive luxury," Engelhardt said.
"The rate of e-mail deletion is far outpaced by the rate of e-mail growth - which means companies' servers will, eventually, reach premature saturation due almost exclusively to corporate e-mails."
KVS local clients include Clayton Utz and Lion Nathan while global customers include Lehman Brothers and the Sony Corporation.
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