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AUSTRAC to make Major Investment in Enhanced Business Intelligence Capability

by Kristen Hammond •
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Australia’s peak anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism unit, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), has released a comprehensive tender for an ‘Enhanced Analytical Capability Solution’. The request for tender, issued on 10 January, also includes a case management and workflow system and a portal solution.

In an unusual move, the agency has indicated that its total budget for this project is approximately $5 million, making it one of the bigger software and systems integration projects to emerge from the Federal Government in 2010-11.  

This project is likely part of the $24 million allocated to AUSTRAC in the 2010-11 Budget for ‘National Security: Combating Organised Crime – Enhanced Analytical Capability’. According to the project information contained in Intermedium’s Budget IT tool this funding will be made available over four years from 2010-11 to facilitate improvements in financial intelligence and support the Government’s framework for a collaborative response to organised crime. 

Given the nature of the tender, AUSTRAC expects that multiple vendors will be required to deliver the project, and signals an intention to ‘mix and match’ the solutions submitted by tenderers. AUSTRAC suggests however, that they would ideally aim to leverage as much as possible from vendor capabilities so as to facilitate more seamlessness within the operating environment.

AUSTRAC says that its intelligence function has become increasingly challenged over the last few years by an increase of data volume, report complexity and the demands placed on it by its partner agencies and stakeholders. This has led to the need for a more sophisticated ICT architecture, which will allow AUSTRAC to function more efficiently and keep pace with a constantly changing environment.

The tender has three main components, which are broken down into six ‘service streams’. The first component, the analytics solution, is aimed at enhancing the analytical capability of AUSTRAC and its 35 partner agencies, which include the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Centrelink and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), and will deliver high value financial intelligence in order to better meet the needs of stakeholders and the broader intelligence community. The analytics solution is broken into three service streams:

1)    General Analytics

2)    High End Analytics; and

3)    Monitoring Systems  

The analytical capability solution requires:

  • Advanced search tools
  • Link/social network analysis
  • Graphical analysis tools
  • Geospatial and temporal analysis
  • Knowledge discovery and data mining platforms

The second element of the RFT (and the fourth service stream) requires the implementation of a case management and workflow system, which will ensure continuity of data across all intelligence business units, while the third tender component (and fifth service stream) is the formulation of a portal solution to integrate AUSTRAC systems.

The tender documents indicate that vendors may tender for one or more of the five service streams. However, all tenderers must submit a response for the sixth service stream, core mandatory requirements, including security clearance, service and support levels and other procedural elements, or they will be excluded from the process.

The release of AUSTRAC’s strategic analytical tender is consistent with their 2010-12 Intelligence Strategy, which states that a major priority for it over the next four years is enhancing information technology capabilities.  According to the Strategy ‘effective information technology systems are critical to AUSTRAC’s ability to successfully maintain its financial intelligence unit (FIU) function and manage growing reporting volumes’.

The Strategy also states that an extra $23 million of funding will be dedicated to the implementation of new analytical technologies over the next four years, while $3 million will be funnelled into the design of a comprehensive case management system, suggesting potential opportunity for vendors between now and 2014.

According to the RFT’s timeframe for delivery, successful tenderers will be expected to engage in a pilot beginning on 18 May 2011. Provided the pilot is completed successfully, the internal customer roll-out will commence on 4 December 2013, and the agency roll-out on 17 September 2014.

The tender closes on 11 February, 2011. 

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