Tax opens more of IT to business

With a successful business activity monitoring software implementation under its belt, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is preparing to more closely align IT with its business requirements.

As part of its IT transformation program, the Tax Office has deployed an application management infrastructure, based on Mercury's Business Availability Centre (BAC), which began in August last year.

ATO IT director, Terry Green, said now the ATO has put in the platform for supporting systems which "bring up a lot of information", the next few months will see a program of work introduced to engage business "more heavily than today".

As the ATO is seeing a lot of "retirement" of systems in its transformation process, key business drivers for the project are supporting the client experience, visibility to enable decision making on facts, and a single source of the truth, according to Green.

"By monitoring, we can improve our delivery as we can see patterns on how [it's used and] if we do have a problem source we are identifying where it is," he said. "Now we can zero in on a problem, and the people responsible to address the problem can do that and others can do normal work. Visibility gives access to factual data."

The BAC infrastructure consists of four Real User Monitors, and 24 Internal and 16 external Business Process Monitors (BPMs). Mercury's SiteScope was also deployed to monitor Web applications.

"With diagnostics, we will run with application testing so if it doesn't pass the performance criterion we can enable a quicker turn around time with the applications team," Green said. "We have quite strict governance around application service delivery and simple things like provisioning. If we get a bill from an outsourcer, how can you validate that? Now we can show third parties how we validate that."

In addition to BAC, the ATO's application management software includes Test Director, Performance Centre, and will move into mapping later this month.

With all its monitoring information centrally located, the business processes are determined and controlled by ATO based on ITIL and internal processes; there is now an ITIL group within the organization.

"The technology supports existing processes [and] we will not change processes for technology," Green said. "Our approach is for Tax Office staff to provide business enablement - to engage business and applications people on requirements."

Over the next financial year, the ATO will do integration work between Performance Centre and BAC as "sometimes there is a disconnect".

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