Gen-i and Optimation win Corrections cloud contract

Potential to supply videoconferencing to Police and Justice

The Corrections Department has retained Gen-i to provide an upgraded voice and data infrastructure, in a contract reportedly worth more than $100 million, while a $40million Corrections applications development maintenance and support contract has gone to a consortium led by Optimation.

The infrastructure deal is part of the impetus for an upgrade of Gen-i’s Wellington datacentre, currently under way. The datacentre will now provide support for Wellington clients moving their workload into the cloud. These services were previously centred in Auckland.

Gen-i’s contract also includes videoconferencing services, with potential to hold parole hearings and the like from jail, without the prison inmate having to journey to court. A Gen-i spokesperson says Corrections will not make use of the company’s high-resolution “telepresence” style of videoconferencing under the current contract, but this possibility is being explored for the longer term over “the broader Justice sector”, including the Ministry of Justice and Police.

This would put Gen-i at centre-stage in the current controversy on the use of videoconferencing in a broader Justice context, with advocates demanding rights for accused to appear in Court live.

Meanwhile, under the five-year agreement announced today, Gen-i will provide cloud services to Corrections, beginning with its ReadyCloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering, with longer-term business in cloud storage and backup. The change will begin in August and various pieces of work will be migrated at appropriate times over about the next 12 months, Gen-i says.

The move fits with government’s broader intention to take advantage of cloud services, even adjusting legislation to accommodate the terms and conditions of international cloud providers (Computerworld, May 17). The Gen-i contract should allow Corrections’ cloud work to be kept substantially onshore.

The development is particularly significant in view of Corrections’ potential to become the largest government agency in terms of staff numbers, according to Finance Minister Bill English, speaking earlier this month at a conference organised by the New Zealand Herald. “Corrections will be in two or three years the largest government department, bigger than the Ministry of Social Development or the Inland Revenue Department,” the Herald quoted English as saying.

“The objective is to outsource functions to specialist providers that can work with us to meet our future IT needs, allowing Corrections to focus on our core function of improving public safety,” says Corrections chief information officer Jon Cumming.

The department already outsources some IT functions, Cumming says and conducted a comprehensive review of the IT capability the market could offer before going out to tender in November last year.

The contract was keenly contested, with HP understood to have been the other major contender. IBM was reported to have initially expressed interest but to have backed out earlier this year on seeing the detailed tender documents. The company declines to comment.

The Optimation-led consortium, known as OHR, also includes India-based global services company HCL and business consulting and project management specialist Resultex.

They will provide development and support services for the Integrated Offender Management System (IOMS), which Resultex implemented and has supported since 2005. Optimation migrated IOMS to .Net in 2009.

OHR will also support Corrections’ Oracle-based data warehouse and business intelligence environment, its SAP system, public and internal web services and electronic content management.

“The new arrangements with Gen-i and OHR are designed to give us the flexibility, knowledge and backup we need to support ongoing business transformation,” Cumming says.

“The department is undertaking a major programme of business transformation that needs to be supported by an adaptable, low-risk information technology environment,” he adds. “The outcomes-based outsource model OHR has developed offers a powerful way of meeting our objective of delivering significantly higher quality and robustness of service.”

In something of a coup Gen-i and its parent Telecom gain Corrections’ wired and mobile telephone network, replacing TelstraClear and Vodafone respectively.

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