NSW shared service provider Businesslink, acting on behalf of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) has entered into an agreement with Fujitsu to provide a cloud-hosted email service for approximately 27,000 mailboxes in the FaCS cluster agencies, in a move that is set to improve FACS frontline staff productivity levels by enabling remote access to emails and calendars via mobile devices.
Fujitsu will roll out its Messaging as a Service (MaaS) capability across 27,000 mailboxes over the next three months under a cloud-based ‘pay-as-you-go’ model. The agreement will see Fujitsu move FACS mailboxes from an Exchange 2003 platform to a fully outsourced Exchange 2013 solution hosted in Fujitsu’s Private Hosted Cloud located in the company’s Australian data centre.
Fujitsu will provide the ICT platform on an ‘Evergreen’ basis by accommodating ongoing upgrades to ensure that FACS continually has access to the latest version of the messaging platform without expensive migration between platforms.
The news comes after Fujitsu this month announced that it will invest the equivalent of AUD$2.5 billion in cloud globally to support business innovation and capitalise on the growth of the cloud.
A key benefit of the new cloud-hosted service is the ability to provide critical front line staff, such as FACS case workers, with increased functionality and remote access through mobile technology.
Executive Director of Businesslink, Albert Olley, said the new initiative with Fujitsu aligns with the NSW Government’s overall ‘cloud-first’ strategy.
“The solution provided by Fujitsu will also have a significant community impact, with case workers across NSW being able to access email and calendars on their mobile devices. This means that they can spend more time helping people who are desperately in need of their services,” Olley said.
The commitment to partner with Fujitsu settles a period of uncertainty for Businesslink, after the agency terminated an email migration to Microsoft 365’s cloud email platform earlier this year because of the significant up-front infrastructure investment costs necessary to enable the migration.
The cancellation was triggered by the low bandwidth and sparseness of network infrastructure at some of the more remote sites at which FACS is located, prohibiting the use of Microsoft’s 365 cloud suite at high email volumes.
The NSW government currently owns two data centres providing ‘data centre as a service’ and a private cloud for agencies with in-house systems and infrastructure.
According to its Cloud Services Policy, “Private cloud services will be hosted in the data centres for the exclusive use of the government. These will provide required levels of security and connectivity,” states the document.
However, the Fujitsu cloud solution for FACS will be hosted at Fujitsu’s own private cloud at its Australian data centre. Businesslink has previously used Fujitsu’s facility as its primary data centre.
It is understood that cloud based ‘software as a service’ hosted elsewhere other than the data centres is however permissible. Mike Foster, CEO of Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand, said Fujitsu will be able to ensure the security of FACS data.
“With our proven cloud platform and a service hosted in our Australia data centres, we were able to meet FACS’ stringent requirements to ensure the safety of potentially sensitive data,” Foster said.
It is anticipated that the roll out of MaaS to FACS will be completed by September 2014.