Dept of Health extends multi-million digitisation deal with Datacom

Department of Health Datacom

The Department of Health (DoH) has inked a three-year extension to a longstanding outsourcing deal with Kiwi tech company Datacom, expected to save the DoH “millions of dollars” through streamlined public cloud adoption.

Datacom said the new deal, secured for an undisclosed sum, would accelerate the Health Department’s digital transformation push and migration to public cloud, while also maintaining its existing IT infrastructure and support services.

As a result of the extended partnership, Datacom said the DoH would realise significant cost savings not only through this cloud migration, but also “by automating the configuration of workloads on cloud platforms”.

The new three-year deal, which comes into force at the end of the existing contract in June this year, cements a decade-long partnership between the pair.

The original, five-year contract (renewed for another two years in 2020)*, which covered the provision of new hardware and software, was secured back in 2015, with DoH calculating its total cost at upwards of $506 million. The multi-million deal was then extended for another two years in 2020 to support the Department through the Covid-19 pandemic, with Datacom providing assistance with the development of a remote working solution, a vaccine management platform, and contact centre operations.

In addition to its existing infrastructure and support agreement, Datacom said the new deal would deliver a “number of new capabilities aimed at enhancing services and driving cost savings” for the DoH.

Among these include an ‘AIOps’ offering, which it said leverages “AI-driven insights to enhance the operational delivery of IT services”, while adding that “up to 80 per cent of the Department’s cloud workloads will be automatically provisioned”.

“A CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery) approach will automate aspects of application development and monitoring,” it said.

Datacom chief innovation and technology officer Matthew Gooden noted that “increasing use of AI and automation will speed up the migration of over 1,000 production workloads to the public cloud, streamline the release of new applications and deliver improved functionality for Department employees”.

The partnership will see teams consisting of both parties employ Agile and SAFe (scaled agile framework) across the model and make use of new digital channels to improve employee experience, expected to help save on IT Service desk costs.

Commenting on the announcement, Datacom associate director – customer, Nick Brennan, said: “Datacom understands agile ways of working and how to build scalable systems that allow the Department of Health to expand its digital services to meet emerging needs, whether it is managing a national vaccine roll out or offering more contact centre support.

“We had a lot of dialogue with the Department of Health about how we could drive service improvements while lowering costs over the next contract period.”

Pandemic support

The new deal “caps off an intensive period of work” for the DoH over the course of the pandemic.

As part of a previous program of works, Datacom said it designed and implemented a remote working solution for around 7,500 employees at the Department, and was tasked with “procuring, provisioning and deploying thousands of laptop computers in the process”.

“Busy health workers can now seamlessly move between working environments while having secure access to all the devices and applications they need.”

Datacom said it also “worked with other vendors to stand up vaccine management systems, redeployed staff to address the Department’s Covid-related priorities and ramped up its contact centre operations”.

*Correction: The original deal was for five years, not seven as first stated. The contract was renewed again for two years in 2020.