Size of IS shop: 360
Mobile PCs: 1800
Hand-held devices: 2000
Total screens: 13,530
Industry: Government and defence
PC environment: Dell, Lenovo, Windows XP
Server environment: HP, Windows
DBMS: Oracle, SQL
Address: Defence House, Aitken Street, Wellington
Key IS projects this year: Defence Command and Control System (DC2S); Information Management and Exploitation (IMX); Telecom-munications NGN.
The new Government is currently undertaking a white paper Strategic Review on the New Zealand Defence Force, due for completion at the end of this year. The last review happened 10 years ago. CIO Peter Thomas says whilst there is financial pressure in the public sector generally, and an extensive review of the wider government sector with a view to cutting cost and becoming more efficient, NZDF has to date not been subject to line by line reviews due to the Strategic white paper and the NZDF’s own Defence Transformation Programme (DTP).
“Under the DTP we have a number of programmes of work designed to help improve military outputs, increase productivity and deliver large-scale transformation changes across NZDF. The core areas of focus are in functions for logistics, human resources and headquarters,” says Thomas.
He says $8 million of annual IT cost has also been removed within the past 12 months through better procurement systems and management of key vendors — a figure that comprises more than 10 per cent of the NZDF IT and communications budget. Within this were “significant savings” gained by going to market for a mobile and data solution, which saw NZDF commit to a 10-year service contract with Vodafone for mobile services and TelstraClear for data.
“TelstraClear is delivering a 100-times increase in bandwidth across our core network, and we signed with both Vodafone and TelstraClear for 10 years because we wanted to build long-term strategic partnerships in these critical supply areas. We had been with Telecom for 10 or more years prior to that, and whilst they were unsuccessful in these tenders they are still a key partner — we do a lot of work with Gen-i in the distributed computing and IT service delivery space,” says Thomas.
NZDF upgraded to the latest version of SAP last year and this year will continue in-house SAP development, consolidating ERP systems and information onto SAP architecture to drive benefits. Thomas says the new SAP architecture is less rigid than previous versions of the platform and allows other technologies and services to be integrated into SAP.
“We can now overlay Microsoft tools at the presentation layer — a far better user experience,” he says.
Among other ICT projects for 2009, NZDF is committed to unified communication technologies and services, with Microsoft the key UC solutions supplier. Thomas says while there is some VoIP implementation within NZDF, the cost of providing VoIP handsets throughout the organisation is a significant barrier to further deployment.
“You can get the same benefits using UC without going to VoIP,” he says.
E-channels are also being developed, with links to social networking sites and Web 2.0 features being integrated into a new recruitment website, due to launch in the short term.
On the knowledge management front, NZDF is rolling out Microsoft Sharepoint 3, and a new records management system. Thomas says this will help towards Public Records Act compliance around storage and retrieval of documents.
Although NZDF is constantly running at between 80 to 90 per cent capacities for IT staff, a better calibre of candidates is now available as a result of the recession, says Thomas.
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