ATO half way through digital rollout

New system to reduce 20 terabytes of data

The Australian Tax Office is implementing a massive new electronic documents management system to reduce and better manage its 20 terabytes of unstructured data and 80 kilometres of data storage shelves.

The new system is in it's forth year as part of an ongoing transformation project which began in late 2002, and aims to remove almost all paper-based ATO records for digital storage.

ATO assistant commissioner for records management Graham Bailey said it is about halfway through the project and is looking for ways to consolidate its 20 terabytes of administration and local data.

"We used the IBM suite of products for the work we have done so far and we are hoping to use it for our work in the unstructured admin data area," Bailey said, adding it allows the records to be managed over the full life cycle.

"Everyone is very supportive of the system. We have 13, 000 users are accessing our e-learning tool, and we setup a helpline and Web Faqs for support. Users have begun to use [Holocentric's] business modeling application as a communication tool, which was an unexpected benefit."

"We used the COSO (The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations) to assist in identifying priority risk areas."

ATO national director for document and records solutions Toni Rolls said the COSO framework was meticulous in outlining initial problems and requirements and described the outcomes in terms of business benefits.

"It took us 18 months to sell the project to the business which we achieved by commissioning an [internal body] to create an in-depth and business-orientated risk assessment to prove the business benefits," Rolls said, adding support significantly increased once the need was explained in business terms.

"There's only so much you can do with some legacy systems, but what we are after is conformance and assurance of all our systems."

"The project is going to be a huge success because we took a risk; it demanded that we identify priority areas and start delivering improvements immediately."

ISO Standard 15489 was used as part of the review process.

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