Though not new to the Federal Government market, Australian technology services company, UXC Limited (UXC), has significantly increased its market presence, with four major contracts announced in the last two months. This success follows a decision taken by UXC approximately a year ago to pursue Federal Government contracts under the UXC banner, rather than have individual UXC companies compete for opportunities. UXC’s emergent business model was outlined in an earlier article in The Medium.
With the Federal Government market running hot with major application development or systems integration projects, this decision appears the right one to have taken. Agencies are clearly receptive to a model where companies with deep specialisation in key niches band together to provide a more comprehensive solution. The lessons from this for well put together prime/sub-contractor offerings should not be lost for other small to medium enterprises competing in the Federal Government market, even if they do not have the benefit of parent company acting as umbrella.
According to Geoff Lord, Executive Chairman of UXC, the wins are testament to the success of UXC’s business model where business units with specialist experience collaborate to provide clients with independent advice and the best solution, regardless of vendor.
“It is also important to recognise the decision by Defence, DFAT and DHA to engage UXC as further proof of an Australian Company being able to offer leading solutions, and to be rewarded for doing so.” said Mr Lord.
The most recent win (May 2007) was a two year contract for $10 million with the Department of Defence. Red Rock Consulting, UXC’s specialist in Oracle-related services, has already commenced providing support and maintenance services to Defence for its Personnel Management System, PMKeyS under the contract.
As part of the contract Red Rock will undertake three component engagements:
- Transition project: a seven week project to transfer responsibility for existing PMKeyS services from the Department to UXC/Red Rock.
- Production support: initial 24 month on-site support that includes fail and fix support, incident and problem management and monthly management reporting.
- System change requests: on-site resources for system changes and enhancements including development, testing and management into the production system.
UXC also secured two major contracts at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
The most recent (reported May 2007) is for deployment of a new Voice Platform in Australia and across DFAT’s international locations. Valued at more than $7 million over four years, this contract will deliver DFAT’s requirements for a common global Voice Platform and improved communication capability with a mix of IP telephony and traditional voice networking.
The project will be delivered by UXC’s business units Integ and BCT Group. Integ is an integrator of secure voice and data infrastructure, while BCT Group specialises in the provision of IT and data management services to government intelligence and security agencies. Alcatel-Lucent will provide technology and support solution services to assist in the delivery of the project.
UXC proposed a solution to DFAT that combined “market leading voice technology, specialist experience and a team of highly skilled voice, project and integration resources” according to UXC CEO Chris Nicolli.
UXC will deliver the Alcatel based IP telephony solution to every DFAT user across Australia. Internationally, DFAT will maintain its existing voice networking system; however staff will share the same user interface and functionality - helping streamline communication and improve productivity.
The functionality is designed to support DFAT’s unique business environment, mobile workforce and global locations. It includes:
- Unified messaging that provides a single multi-media mailbox for all messages, including voice, email or fax accessible from anywhere in the world;
- PC telephony that enable mobility, conference calls and access to a universal directory for all DFAT staff;
- One number, regardless of location with call routing and screening functions; and
- Teamwork applications that enable web and audio conferencing, document sharing and collaboration.
“Security has always been considered a major issue when it comes to IP telephony. The fact that UXC can deliver a unique combination of the latest voice technology along with specialist security skills was a significant benefit to DFAT and went a long way to building confidence in this solution,” said Nicolli.
The first of UXC’s wins at DFAT was a $5.9 million contract (reported April 2007) for the development and deployment of a new Consular Assistance Information System (CAIS).
The CAIS solution is part of a major redevelopment of the DFAT’s consular business systems in Canberra and at more than 130 Australian embassies and consular posts. The solution will accelerate the Department’s ability to locate and assist Australians involved in a crisis abroad.
The new system will replace and enhance the existing solution with a contemporary service-oriented architecture design using a Microsoft suite of technologies including .NET 3, BizTalk, SharePoint and SQL Server Replication Services.
When fully deployed the system will enable greater assistance to be rendered to Australian travellers and Australians overseas through:
- Improved online registration of Australian nationals travelling overseas (via the web);
- Improved issue of DFAT travel advices and bulletins;
- Enhanced Case and Crisis management;
- Increased knowledge management capability to support consular staff; and
- Increased information analysis and reporting and data exchange with a range of Australian and international systems.
The solution will also provide a central co-ordination cross-agency hub (portal) for all activities related to management of international crises and a central knowledge base for all documents relevant to DFAT embassies and consular posts. The solution will be able to be used by consular staff who are working remotely from their embassy or consular post.
“UXC has a unique position. As a group, we have deep expertise across systems development, content and document management and project management. We were able to develop a customised solution that met DFAT’s unique requirements and delivered value for money,” said Geoff Lord, Executive Chairman of UXC.
In the earliest of its recent successes, UXC secured a major new project with its application development company Dytech Solutions at the Pharmaceutical Benefits Division of the Department of Health and Ageing (DHA).
The $3 million Interactive Communications Facility (ICF) project is a major component of the systems modernisation recommendation of the Post PBAC Review Report launched in 2004.
Dytech Solutions will design, construct and deploy the ICF to support the management of processes required for drugs to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
The solution will provide portal access to pharmaceutical companies to lodge a submission and track its progress through the process that produces the listing on the PBS. It will also support departmental staff and other stakeholders to manage the submissions through a central and secure store of information.
“Dytech Solutions has a proven track record in large scale software development life-cycle (SDLC) projects with considerable expertise in enterprise content management, workflow and collaborative web enabled solutions, which means that they are very well suited to work with the department to realise the objectives of the ICF solution,” CEO Nicolli said.