ANAO renews 10-year IT outsourcing deal

IT client satisfaction at 90 percent

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has renewed its 10-year outsourcing contract with Unisys for an additional two years to continue major redevelopments of its IT infrastructure.

The office provides parliament with independent financial and performance assessments of 240 public administration agencies including financial reporting, administration, accountability and service delivery.

The contract was inked in 1997 and has seen big changes to IT infrastructure including a migration to Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), a unified communications network and a new document and records management system built in an ITIL2 architecture.

ANAO CIO Garry Pettigrove said the June renewal tightened SLAs and reinstated the $11 million six year contract for another two years.

"Key features in the extended contract are a joint responsibility matrix, a balance scorecard that divides the SLAs into five assessable sections," Pettigrove said.

"Now we judge the contract on infrastructure availability, operational availability, staff and service performance, value add, and security integrity, whereas before we only had a single unit one client satisfaction which was not good.

"Unisys can be awarded a bonus if it performs well in the sections, [however] the bonus drops significantly if there is a security breach."

According to Pettigrove the contract is based on outcomes rather than specific pass or fail SLAs.

The office was forced to outsource IT back in 1997 due to federal legislation which amalgamated the IT shops of government "like agencies" into clusters for large outsourcing deals, however the sensitive nature of ANAO audit data forced it to establish its own contract.

"The benefit for us with having a single contract is we have independent agency services. We can get a more tailored contract which allows us to sit down and discuss one to one about what we want done whereas it is much more difficult to change things in a cluster," he said

The office enlisted an independent enterprise IT consultant to asses outsourcing vendors including Unisys, Hewitt-Packard, Valante, and in-house alternatives. Unisys won the three-year contract and subsequent tenders in 2000, 2004 and 2007.

Unisys employees working on the ANAO contract must be certified on the government 'protected' level while staff working on the most sensitive data must acquire a 'top secret' level certification.

Unisys provides support and management for the office's internal IT upgrades, security and network administration, desktop and infrastructure support, desktop asset management and change control support.

An Australian Public Service Commission online survey which assessed the customer performance of the ANAO's IT shop reported 90 percent client satisfaction.

The ANAO's gateway and Web site security has been outsourced to security vendor CyberTrust under a three-year $448,000 contract, signed until October 31 2009.

The office installed a 400 handset VoIP system last September over Enterasys switches and network infrastructure as part of an agency-wide unified communications project, allowing some 150 mobile users to set call forwarding between office and mobile devices, log in to desktops and check e-mails.

Pettigrove said the IP telephony system has been well receive and has not been disruptive due to a detailed staff training procedure and its incorporation into strict security policies.

"We are certified through IRAP (Defence Signals Directorate's InfoSec Registered Assessor Program) so every change to the network has to be certified and accredited through ASCI33 and PSM government requirements," he said.

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