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Agriculture moves forward with extensive ICT overhaul

by Sam Murphy •
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The Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) is set to begin some of the key ICT Projects outlined in its 2012-2016 ICT Strategic Plan which CPT Global delivered in 2012. The Strategy came after a somewhat scathing Capability Review.

A spokesperson has confirmed with Intermedium this week that it has plans to approach the market for the development of its Information Architecture (which is part of its larger Enterprise Architecture Program) but that it “will be done next Financial Year through an appropriate Government panel”. 

This updates Agriculture’s advice to Intermedium in July 2013, that it was considering an Approach to Market and that it would make a decision “in the next few months”, in effect suggesting that the ATM will be in the market up to a year later than it might otherwise have been.    

Agriculture’s Enterprise Architecture program is a key enabler required to support further upcoming IT reforms.  The project embraces Business, Technical, Applications and Information Architectures.

By July 2013, Agriculture had completed the Business Architecture component of the project.  Agriculture confirmed this week that the technical and application architecture components have now also been completed, leaving just the information architecture component. 

Agriculture is also embarking on a Service Delivery Modernisation Program which aims to upgrade its environment to a “modern client-focused service delivery model”. The spokesperson said that an implementation plan for the project will be completed by the end of the current financial year (ie before July 2014).

“Service delivery modernisation is focused on modernising the department’s service delivery infrastructure and arrangements to increase the convenience and cost effectiveness of service delivery and facilitate compliance with regulatory obligations. The specific components of the program, including ICT planning, are currently under consideration,” the Spokesperson told Intermedium.

Additionally, Agriculture is in the process of developing a mobile computing strategy that will include guidance on the use of Apple Devices, according to the Department spokesperson. This follows a trial in 2012 of an Apple iPad and iPhone project for mobile computing. According to the 2011-12 Annual Report it increased “productivity through ease of access to email and calendars and significantly reducing paper use through the provision of electronic meeting papers”.

In its 2012-13 Annual Report, the Department acknowledged that it needs to “better use our information holdings and the increasing use of electronic interactions between DAFF and its partners, customers and stakeholders”. It has 4,760 ICT assets spread across many Australian locations, according to the Report.

Agriculture has also put some IT project runs on the board.

During 2012-13, Agriculture completed a number of projects aimed at saving money and enhancing its service delivery. The Department successfully transferred its email from a distributed Exchanged 2003 model to a centralised Microsoft Exchange 2010 and Outlook Platform with planning now underway to upgrade the Department to Exchange 2013.

In August 2013, Agriculture consolidated five separate contracts into one supply arrangement for Internet-based network connections. Optus was chosen as the supplier in a $29 million deal. According to the spokesperson, “the Department is currently in transition”.

In accordance with its 2012-16 ICT Strategy which encourages Agriculture to “better use information holdings”, an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) was also implemented during 2012-13.  “Planning commenced to position the EDW capability to become the Department’s single source of data”, according to the Annual Report.  Supporting this, the agency entered into a $200,000 contract with Teradata for the ‘provision of advice and assistance to develop the capability of the Teradata enterprise data warehouse’.

Data has also been moved from siloed legacy systems to a Virtual Server Environment.

Related Articles:

DAFF refreshes ICT Strategy and reveals major projects

DAFF opens bidding for $25 million telco opportunity

Optus wins $10.7 million in first DAFF telco deal

For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.

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