IT project provides life line to counsellors

National telephone counselling service, Lifeline has started a project to simplify and unify volunteer access to applications and network resources.

Using an Oracle Xellerate Identity Management system implemented by Sydney-based systems integrator Attain IT, the project forms part of a national initiative by Lifeline to roll out an IP telephony system and help volunteers answer more calls. The VoIP rollout will cover 60 locations across Australia.

In its strategy to assist volunteers work effectively from local centres around the country, Lifeline recently rolled out new technology including databases of support resources and specialized telecounselling applications.

This includes an application called LIFE, which is being used to co-ordinate and document information about the telephone counselling process.

In addition, another application, Just Look, provides counsellors with a directory of information about local community service and health care organizations.

Lifeline required a solution to manage and streamline counsellor access to these centrally-held facilities while at the same time maintain the anonymity of volunteers and callers. Lifeline investigated a range of systems and settled on Oracle Xellerate Identity Management.

Steve Tucker, national IT manager for information systems at Lifeline, said identity management and directory design and integration are complex problems.

He said Attain's solution will use Lifeline's Microsoft Active Directory as the central repository for user identity data while Oracle Xellerate automatically synchronizes this with other applications, databases and the IP telephony system. Attain IT will use the Oracle tool to create a single interface for Lifeline's administrators to manage user information across its entire IT infrastructure.

The new system will allow single sign-on access to all the applications and resources volunteers need to work. It will also strengthen system security and audit capabilities and provide significant productivity benefits by reducing IT management and administration time.

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