New Zealand Defence Force

New Zealand Defence Force

2007 ranking: 2

Senior IS executive: Peter Thomas, chief information officer

Reports to: Dr Graeme Benny, general manager organisational support

Size of IS shop: 360

PCs: 14000

Mobile PCs: 2000

Terminals: 0

Hand-held devices: 1500

Total screens: 17,500

Industry: Government and defence

PC environment: Windows XP, Dell, HP

Server environment: Solaris; Other Unix; Windows XP, 98, 2000, NT;

Compaq; HP9000; OEM Intel-based

DBMS: Oracle, SQL

Address: Defence House, 2-21 Aitken Street, Wellington


Key IS projects this year: Next Generation Network build; SAP

upgrade to ECC6 and move to Defence version of SAP DFPS.

ARGUABLY NEW ZEALAND’S most complex organisation in terms of

global ICT infrastructure, Defence has multiple ICT projects underway

in 2008. These include going to market for a high speed and high

redundancy NGN (Next Generation Network) telecommunication

network and for a unified mobile communications solution. (Defence

currently uses both Telecom and Vodafone mobile services, but Thomas

says the intention is to select a single provider this year).

Defence spends around $20 million annually on telecommunications,

including around $4 million on satellite services. However, Thomas says

Defence expects to reduce overall spend by leveraging cheaper market

rates, coupled with the installation of Defence owned and operated

Land Earth Satellite Stations.

“The work done by the State Services Commission in recent times

regarding telecommunication base rates, has given us a benchmark to

work with. We will be extending some services with our current providers

Telecom and Gen-i, but will also be going to market to examine other

options in the key areas of mobility and data transfer,” says Thomas.

In regards to the issue of cost effectiveness, virtualisation software

VMware has been of signifi cant benefi t. “Using EMC VMWare we have

virtualised three-quarters of our server environment, and are now

looking at virtualisation across our deployed environments, such as

ships, aircraft and at the army battlefield headquarters,” says Thomas.

Defence employs around 360 ICT staff. Key ICT projects this year

include the NGN network build, an SAP ERP system upgrade to ECC6

and the potential move to a defence-specifi c version of SAP. This will

allow defence organisations to operate a replicated version of the SAP

system between head offi ce and on ships and mobile units.

Other significant projects include an electronic command and control

system for all deployed forces, a focus on improved information and

knowledge management, along with support to the new platforms

being introduced by NZDF over the next 12 months — such as with

new ships as part of the “Protractor” programme.

NZDF will also begin to leverage its investment in VoIP-capable

Nortel PABXs and a VoIP data platform, with planned forays into unifi ed

communication applications using Microsoft technologies.

NZDF is a champion of wireless technologies and sees the potential

benefi ts as signifi cant. There is already some limited wireless infrastructure

across the organisation at an unclassified level, something

that will be extended even further this year.

“We are going through the process of getting approval for wireless

use across our restricted networks. By implementing this technology we

see huge future benefi ts in reducing cost of maintaining and upgrading

infrastructure, but also giving us a more fl exible working environment.

While there are also security considerations; [implemented properly]

wireless can be considered even more secure than fi xed communication

networks,” says Thomas.

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