Public Trust starts down the open source track

Public Trust one of the first Crown entities to go down the open source path, says CIO

The Public Trust is undergoing a major IT makeover, which includes the option of moving to open source at some later stage.

“We’re moving to a modern architecture,” says CIO Cathy Poppe. Largely, this is being driven by changes to the business, which is introducing new products and services to stay competitive in the financial markets. The 132-year-old organisation is probably best known as a repository of wills, but much of its new business is in family trusts.

Other financial operations including banking, term deposits, mortgages and investment portfolios.

A decision was made in 2004 to refresh hardware. The two-year project began with the purchase of Hewlett-Packard blades and a storage area network. Poppe says most of the previous servers and infrastructure were pre-2000 vintage. “It was a business imperative to provide much more responsiveness,” she says.

Public Trust’s Oracle environment is being moved on to Oracle Real Application Cluster, running on Red Hat. However, the organisation will retain Active Directory and Exchange. It is also moving its DM document management system on to Oracle.

Over the past year, Public Trust has rolled out Voice over IP to coincide with consolidating from several buildings in Wellington to one building. This included relocating the computer room.

“This year, we’ve put in a lot of backbone infrastructure and upgraded part of our Exchange environment,” Poppe says. “Most of our customer-facing applications talk to Exchange.

Public Trust is a Crown entity, and Poppe says it has taken on board a State Services Commission edict that all government agencies should consider open source. That’s why it is also implementing Novell. Poppe thinks Public Trust is one of the first Crown entities, along with Inland Revenue, to take positive steps to go down the open source path.

She is implementing a range of application development projects to help in the operations area of the business.

“We produce more tax returns than any other organisation in New Zealand,” she says. “A lot of our work now is in getting rid of manual processes. It’s about streamlining.” Broadly, the projects fall into three areas — identity management, workflow and defining sales and services processes.

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Tags open sourcepublic trust office

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