Management and accountability
Managing knowledge and information
Austrade's knowledge and information systems underpin its capacity to create, collect, analyse and deliver advice and opportunities to Australian businesses and institutions and to the Government. Austrade's information technology connects staff across a distributed network in 50 countries, and enables it to connect Australian and foreign businesses and institutions to pursue trade, investment and international education and training interests.
Austrade's relationship management system is the core business system for managing and sharing information about its relationships and interactions with other organisations.
In 2011–12, Austrade commenced a restructure of its relationship management system to ensure that the strategic objectives of the review of Austrade could be implemented. This work, due for completion by June 2013, addresses system complexity and useability issues to support necessary changes to Austrade's core business practices.
Austrade also initiated a project to integrate two major information systems—its intranet, known as Austin, and information collaboration system, known as Connect. This project will result in a single point of entry to an environment where Austrade will store, access, search, and retrieve its core knowledge and information assets.
Staff will also be able to selectively subscribe to areas of interest and receive notifications as new information is added to the system.
The project will address the structural and content aspects of how corporate information, particularly governance information such as policies, procedures, risk management and fraud control, is provided to staff. The new intranet is expected to be live in the first half 2013.
Information security continues to be a strong focus for Austrade. Continual changes to the cybersecurity landscape and an increase in the volume and sophistication of attempts to gain unauthorised access to Austrade's information and systems mean that constant vigilance and attention is required to avoid compromise.
In 2011–12, Austrade upgraded information security measures in accordance with advice provided by the Defence Signals Directorate. Security-related Austrade access points have been enhanced and early detection of security-related events has also been a priority.
In 2011–12, Austrade continued system trials of a new capability to manage Protected-level information which, when fully implemented, will deliver valuable additional information security. The new system has been subject to independent assessment and is expected to receive formal certification, accreditation and implementation before the end of 2012.
In the first half of 2012, Austrade's Senior Executive Group approved a strategy to house its computing environment within a government-approved commercial data centre. Planning for the data centre relocation has commenced and will involve reviewing the relationship between Austrade's data centres in Sydney and Canberra.
Austrade's data centre strategy is expected to deliver cost savings through reduced floor space requirements, more efficient use of equipment and facilities and reduced power consumption. The strategy is consistent with the Australian Government's data centre requirements and is expected to be completed in 2013.
In April 2012, Austrade updated its data centre optimisation targets plan, or energy management plan, which identifies energy usage by ICT equipment and data centres. The plan reviews current power consumption and projects usage to 2014–15 based on a number of initiatives that are being implemented within Austrade. The plan shows a projected ICT energy consumption reduction of 32 per cent by 2015, compared with 2009–10. Austrade is on track to meet this goal, and in 2011–12 achieved a 3.4 per cent power saving for its ICT systems, compared to 2010–11.
Global ICT equipment upgrade
In 2011–12, Austrade initiated a project for the planned replacement of its global ICT equipment at all office locations. New technologies and contemporary hardware will form a core
component of the design, as will performance and capacity increases to better support and enhance productivity. Improved security and resilience will also be delivered, complementing other security initiatives that Austrade is undertaking.
Telephony and videoconferencing
Austrade continued to leverage its investment in global videoconferencing, which is used for approximately 35,000 conferences per year across around 400 access points. Usage continues to rise. Videoconferencing helps Austrade avoid travel costs, save time, and reduce the organisation's carbon footprint. In October 2011, to support this use and ensure availability, Austrade upgraded ageing and underperforming room-based videoconference end points and desktop-based systems and implemented disaster recovery capability for videoconferencing.
During the year, Austrade provided new telephony operator consoles in major domestic and overseas offices to replace incompatible and expensive legacy equipment. Console operators are now integrated into the central call systems, accessing additional functionality. The project also delivers ongoing maintenance savings.
A related voice project was initiated in 2011–12 to bring Austrade's two ICT call centres, one each in Sydney and Canberra, onto a single platform. This project enables integration with the relationship management system and improved call centre productivity, and offers opportunities for further cost reductions.
Corporate data infrastructure
In 2011–12, Austrade initiated a range of projects to strengthen its management and retention of corporate data. This included the upgrade to Austrade's core email platform, and the purchase and implementation of a new corporate backup system and email archiving capability. These projects, to be completed by the end of 2012, will provide a more secure and transparent environment for Austrade's corporate information.
Support for Austrade's highly mobile workforce remains a core component of its ICT strategy. The Austrade workstation fleet is made up of a majority of laptops rather than desktops and, in 2011–12, Blackberry devices were deployed to 150 Austrade staff.
Austrade also commenced work on upgrading its remote access system, known as Austrade Anywhere, which allows remote access to Austrade ICT systems. This new access capability is currently being tested and is expected to be live by the end of 2012. The upgraded system will reduce operational costs, provide enhanced security features and enable access from a broader range of devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
Accessibility to Austrade systems
Austrade is committed to ensuring that its ICT systems meet the requirements for web accessibility, so that content is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight and cognitive ability, as described by the Australian Government Information Management Office and the mandated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Austrade has completed the first phase of assessment activities and is now in the process of remediation planning and ensuring that all external-facing websites move towards WCAG 2.0 compliance.
Portfolio, program and project management maturity model
The portfolio, program and project management maturity model, known as P3M3, provides a framework within which Austrade can assess its performance, or maturity, and put in place improvement plans. In 2011–12, Austrade completed an organisational maturity assessment of its IT Services areas and identified areas for improvement, such as benefits realisation and financial risk, and resource management. A program aimed at achieving the next level of maturity has commenced and is expected to be completed by 2014.