Hamilton embarks on $12.8m application refresh

Dimension Data involved as infrastructure provider

Hamilton City Council is engaged in a $12.8 million application refresh programme around its core line of business that could also extend via the cloud to other councils.

“During the early process, we identified Rotorua District Council as having a similar programme,” says CIO Harin Perara. “We talked about shared services and we got Dimension Data involved as our infrastructure provider.

“We had a preference to stay with them because they were providing services from their Auckland datacentre.”

Perara says the intention is to eventually scale out a community cloud to other local government bodies. “It’s not just the councils,” Perara says. “We wanted to get vendors that had traditional skin in the game involved.”

Its web-based Citizen Services Platform, for example, is designed based on SharePoint. So Microsoft and Datacom, who did that work, became involved.

“We wanted to migrate from a private cloud into a more public cloud,” Perara says.

“It’s taken time because one requirement was certification from Microsoft. Collectively, we should be ready to go online on April 1.”

Perara says a contract to do Hamilton Council’s first e-services development work will be released in mid-May, for dog registration. “Rotorua are running the procurement process for that. The thinking is that we can achieve good synergies around the web program. This is a test case to see whether we really have that commitment.”

Hamilton Council has also been talking to three Bay of Plenty councils and the Taupo District Council with a view to extending shared services.

“Online consenting, for example, has to be a national solution,” Perera says. “We need to talk to central government, DIA and other agencies. We’ve had some informal meetings already.

“Then we’ll try to sell the concept to the larger metros.”

He says the business case suggests a 15 percent saving on development and deployment costs by adopting a shared services approach.

“Dimension Data has brought a lot of IP to the table. They’re the first in New Zealand with what they’re doing with infrastructure.”

Perara says his team had an informal look at what other vendors were offering. “But no one is doing it quite the way we wanted. The capability they bring to the table is one of confidence.”

The software refresh progamme is expected to be complete at the end of 2013. “So far we’ve delivered six of the 10 programs,” he says. “Financials and HR are to come.”

Perara won’t be there to see the final delivery.

He says he’s moving to New South Wales to do the “same type of work” at Shell Harbour.

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