By 2025 digital government will be delivering more responsive policy, less red tape and better services with Australia as one of the top three digital governments in the world, according to a vision statement by the Digital Transformation Agency.
Three strategic priorities are leading this – the need for government to be easy to deal with, a government that is informed by its citizens, and a government that is “fit for the digital age.”
A report by DTA assessing progress on this digital transformation strategy, released last year, suggests that government is on track with its objectives. According to DTA, 85% of digital roadmap initiatives have been completed including an improved business registration service, single touch payroll and a new aged care website.
A white paper released in September by global technology research company Omdia, “Enabling digital transformation in federal and state government”, highlights the challenges that remain for the Australian government in achieving the last mile of its digital government strategy by its set deadline. Budget constraints and culture are among the leading challenges, as well as balancing the demand for increased efficiency as well as security.
“In this evolving and complex world, government agencies are being asked to deliver more, with greater efficiency, and at lower per service cost,” the report says. “In response, these agencies have recognised the need to transform their processes and adopt innovative technologies.”
Among the solutions to support government Omdia identified is increased alignment with partner agencies – including those who can deliver cloud technology that is flexible, system agnostic and interconnected.
Why cloud matters
DTA’s Secure Cloud Strategy has been a key guiding document supporting the transition of government services to the cloud – while focusing on allowing agencies to develop solutions that meet their specific business needs. Cloud-based software as a service enables that business flexibility as well as scalability to meet changing public demand. Furthermore, it can help relieve agencies of the need to manage infrastructure and licensing, and roll out system upgrades faster.
Among the easy wins has been human resource management systems. According to Omdia, 48% of Australian government agencies said they would be targeting to move to software as a service solution this financial year. But despite this, global government adoption of cloud services lags behind other industries and this risks disengaging citizens who are expecting responsive and flexible services more and more.
Smart infrastructure is identified by Omdia as being an important piece in the digital government puzzle. Legacy systems, they believe, will continue to remain critical to government “for the foreseeable future”, and this means that to achieve the aims of digital government, all elements of ICT need to be connected – old and new. To support government, leading data centres are creating interconnected services that will bridge a government infrastructure directly with cloud, networks, payments, and supply chain partners.
Equinix as a leading partner in digital government
Among to Omdia, digital business platforms and data centre solutions offered by Equinix are among the leading services that meet the growing need of smart infrastructure supporting government.
“Equinix offers a market-leading portfolio of carrier-neutral data centres that have become hubs for a whole ecosystem of services that can support the development of digital government services, capabilities, and ecosystems,” the report says.
As part of its global platform of interconnected data centres, Equinix provides Australian-based data centres – including data centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, and Brisbane. Its interconnection services support linking networks across the same data centre or between data centres, connection to all major cloud providers, and aggregated bandwidth sourced from multiple suppliers.
“Platform Equinix allows its customers to rethink and redesign their compute and network infrastructure deployments to rationalise suppliers, reduce costs, and simplify ongoing support,” Omdia said.
Knowledge of Australian government and its particular needs is important in developing tailor-made digital solutions is an important consideration for Australian government agencies in choosing their industry partners. But being able to leverage the best tools and knowledge the world has to offer is also important for the long-term success of digital government.