Accenture launches defence innovation hub in Canberra

Co-design office features AI, blockchain, robotics, IoT demo space

Accenture has opened an ‘innovation hub’ in Canberra, to serve as a co-design space for the Department of Defence and security organisations.

The new office space has capacity for 100 employees, and is set-up to give demonstrations of blockchain, artificial intelligence, internet of things, robotics and advanced analytics, the professional services firm said.

“Defence organisations need to increase their resilience to emerging threats and require secure, innovative and flexible delivery capabilities, often on tight turnaround,” said Accenture’s defence and national security lead for Australia and New Zealand, Matt Gollings.

“Through on-site demonstrations of how innovative and often disruptive digital technologies can enhance mission readiness, deliver better operational outcomes and ultimately help deliver mission success, our innovation hub addresses this need while maximising innovation and delivering the defence agency of the future,” he added.

Partners in arms

Accenture has a substantial history with Defence, working with the department to migrate a petabyte of data out of its Canberra data centre over 18 months in 2012.

“This included the migration of 153 applications across 412 environments on 3,263 servers and nine technology platforms,” Accenture said.

The firm was also given a five year contract in 2012 to partner with Defence on modernising its human resources systems. As well as consulting and process design, the contract included application development and support for an Oracle-based payroll.

The project was found to be running over budget and behind schedule, according to a Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report.

In 2017 Accenture was awarded an $8.38 million contract to “modify the new system to meet important policy and legislative changes” which involved the deployment of Oracle PeopleSoft software.

Accenture is also behind the roll-out of the Australian Defence Force’s CAMM2 system (Computer-Aided Maintenance Management), a tool for personnel to manage maintenance in a way that meets aviation regulatory and maintenance policy and process requirements.

Last year the firm also helped the department develop and deploy a cloud-based NATO supply codification system.

“The government welcomes Accenture’s investment in building a local ICT capability, which will help foster ongoing innovation and allow projects to transition into business operations quickly and seamlessly,” said defence industry minister Christopher Pyne at a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday.

“Accenture is responsible for delivery of the core technology upgrade that will lay the foundation for future enhancements to Defence’s Digital Identity capability. The upgrade will integrate into Defence’s complex and secure information technology environment,” Pyne added.

“Today we can add the development of this fantastic new facility to the significant list of collaborative achievements.”

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne opens the Accenture hub
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne opens the Accenture hub

Accenture will be hoping to further capitalise on some of $200 billion the government committed to spend on defence over the next ten years in a 2016 white paper.

Earlier this year, the government released a Defence Industrial Capability Plan, which highlighted the need for submarines and aircraft as well as cyber warfare capabilities and autonomous systems to “augment soldiers performing dirty, dangerous and dull roles” and improve decision-making.

Government this year launched a Defence Innovation Hub which will invest around $640 million developing technologies that have moved from early science into engineering and development. Its Centre for Defence Industry Capability opened in Adelaide in 2016.


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Tags governmentinnovationaccenturecanberradepartment of defencefederal governmentdefenceAIChristopher Pynenational securitycontractcyberconsultancyIoTMarissa Payne

More about AustraliaAustralian Defence ForceAustralian National Audit OfficeDepartment of DefenceNational Audit OfficeNATOOraclePeopleSoft

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