​ACMA enters third wave of ICT transformation

Latest phase will focus on an enterprise data warehouse and online services

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman.

After investing in private cloud and an interdependent application framework, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is now focusing on improving online services and completing an enterprise data warehouse.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the consumer watchdog began its ICT transformational journey back in 2010 with the creation of a two year strategic plan.

“This plan delivered a strong ICT infrastructure foundation, especially the implementation of the ACMA private cloud on which the ACMA’s application stack is built,” he said.

The interdependent application framework is a set of commercial off the shelf (COTS) applications that are combined and customised through agile projects to meet various business requirements.

“Implementing the interdependent application framework, together with the creation of a private ACMA cloud, has significantly reduced project costs," Chapman said.

“The use of these technologies has streamlined the application build, plan and operate processes and when combined with the use of an agile project methodology, has resulted in materially reduced delivery time and higher user acceptance of completed solutions when launched.”

The second wave focused on major core systems and projects such as the ACMA’s new website.

Phase three of the ICT transformation will see the delivery of a new online facility for external customers to manage their radio communications licences with the ACMA directly in 2017.

“In addition, we will implement a new internal system to more tightly integrate our compliance and field operations teams which will provide better facilities for them to access different data sources across the agency and across Australia, together with a new case management system,” Chapman said.

A major data-related component of phase three will be the completion of the ACMA's enterprise data warehouse (EDW).

“The ACMA’s current EDW contains significant licensing data holdings. We will integrate this with other sources – particularly pricing and payment data - to provide a tool which will enable complete historical business reporting,” Chapman said.

In addition, the ACMA is looking at building on its existing internal cloud infrastructure experience by transitioning to the public cloud. It will also mean reduced ongoing support costs, improved business continuity and better risk management.

“Our development process includes a benefits realisation framework which includes, among other things, reduced red tape and enhanced experience of working with the ACMA. This type of benefits realisation underpins all our initiative,” the ACMA chairman said.

Through the development of its consultation engine and the shift to online forms, ACMA stakeholders can, if they choose, transact with the organisation online.

Turning to current challenges for the ACMA, Chapman said that while most of its work is office-based, it also needs to deliver access to systems for field staff that may be located in very remote areas of Australia.

“We have developed excellent, robust communications infrastructure that allows us to deliver this access securely all over Australia,” he said.

“Secondly, the changing nature of the communications sector means that we need to manage our projects in an agile fashion to deliver outcomes in three to six months rather than years,” he added

According to Chapman, all of its systems development is designed so that it can readily transition to the cloud as part of the third wave of its ICT transformation.

Finally, he had some advice for IT managers who may be going through similar transformation projects.

“Determine your key priorities, define your key measures of success and adopt a strong, principles-based approach, with clear governance arrangements in place from the outset. And remember to maintain a clear focus on the benefits you are aiming to achieve.”

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