IBM headhunts CIO for $75m-plus Customs project

IBM headhunts CIO for $75m-plus Customs project

Ex-Customs IS manager Deborah Braithwaite recruited to run IBM project management office

Clerk of the House CIO Deborah Braithwaite has been headhunted by IBM to run its project management office for the multi-million-dollar Joint Border Management System (JBMS). Braithwaite had earlier been Customs manager of information systems, for five years.

However, it is not clear whether a contract has been signed yet with IBM. Customs has not responded to several phone calls, and IBM spokeswoman Elaine Koller says she can’t comment.

Computerworld understands there was a short list of two for JBMS: IBM and Unisys.

In its 2010 Budget, the Government approved $75.9 million of capital funding over four years for the JBMS. The overall cost of the project is expected to run into many more millions.

The JBMS is an inter-agency collaboration between the Customs Service and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The purpose is to build a single, integrated, operational system for the border to support the objectives of both organisations and to accommodate the future needs of the trading sector and the travelling public.

Customs’ and MAF’s operational computer systems – CusMod and Quantum – are both more than 12 years old and due for replacement.

Customs Minister Maurice Williamson said last year the investment would protect this country’s primary industries, by enabling Customs and MAF Biosecurity to work more closely at airports and New Zealand’s other entry points.

“The JBMS ... will provide what we call a ‘trade single window’, which will give importers and exporters a single electronic point of access to border agencies,” he said.

The new system is expected to support more streamlined and simplified border clearance, meaning reduced compliance and operating costs for businesses. Capital funding comes from two Votes: $69.2 million for Vote Customs, and $6.7 million from Vote Biosecurity.

Customs says on its website that the JBMS solution is in its first stage of development. Braithwaite starts in her new role on July 1.

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