Department of Defence spends $5 billion on ICT modernisation

The Australian Department of Defence’s ICT modernisation effort taps into $5 billion in new funding to deliver change across all levels of business. The future outlook is shared by defence’s head of ICT realisation, Mathew Smorhun. 

In a show of support for ICT modernisation, the Australian Department of Defence has added $5 billion to its coffers, while enabling this mega organisation to deliver change at all levels of business.

According to Mathew Smorhun, assistant secretary, ICT Strategy Realisation, defence’s ICT modernisation spending agenda runs over the next 10 years. The spending across platforms will top $20 billion, when fully up and running.

“The program work is enormous, and the challenge is pretty big,” Smorhun told delegates at the Annual FST Government Australia conference held 22nd September in Canberra.

He noted that the size of defence sometimes constraints the capacity to be agile. A comprehensive Defence White Paper, launched in February 2016, offers the blueprint for 21st century modernisation.

This incorporates a major agency-wide review, and examines the processes and practices, together with the ICT refresh.

“One of our key planks is our information management agenda. Three or four major programs consume a big chunk of that $5 billion.

“This is about replacing the baseline infrastructure, building our networks and data centres and replacing our desktops. We need to now start thinking about how we can use the information and get this to the right people.”

Defence’s ICT strategy incorporates an enterprise resource planning (ERP) initiative. This supports transformation around logistics and finance.

The department is also rationalising the application environment for end-users. “This is a nightmare and there are too many applications to count. People somewhere and somehow still use them.”

The other focus is around identity access management, as well as security. “We have been working on this for a long time. This underpins our enterprise resource planning program and way we approach our information management agenda.”

The future strategy is less and less about the baseline infrastructure and the on premise capability.

“This is more about information and how we access the user information to make decisions. This goes beyond a war-fighting perspective, and into our business domains, and the corporate structures.”

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