Lego blocks: the new IT cool kid

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Lego blocks: the new IT cool kid
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Government not far behind

The approach is creeping its way into government.

Queensland Health - one of the country’s most notorious IT shops - has a heavily legacy and disparate IT environment.

Around half of Qld Health’s critical legacy applications talk to each other through similarly legacy platforms, Oracle’s e*Gate and JCAPS. External messaging uses a homegrown platform the department dubs the secure transfer service (STS).

The agency had implemented JCAPs as an e*Gate replacement, but a number of Queensland Health’s key applications are reliant on the old integrator. At the moment, the agency is using JCAPS to create and host newly-developed integration components.

Exacerbating the problem, around 50 percent of Queensland Health’s legacy applications rely on bespoke “point to point” type interfaces and messaging: there’s currently more than 300 interfaces in operation, and many applications have multiple interfaces. And that number is growing.

So it’s unsurprising the department is keen for a future devoid of e*Gate and JCAPS and one with a streamlined integration environment - not only for the technological benefits, but also to remove the costs of paying for extended support for the ageing products.

The agency recently went to market for a new interoperability solution that will replace the disparate and ageing set of interfaces with one that will enable Queensland Health to move into a modern IT operating environment.

“This is the most important procurement that we will do with regards to our information infrastructure,” Queensland Health CHIO Mal Thatcher recently told the Partners in Technology forum.

“This interoperability and integration engine will release our potential as a health service provider to be able to interoperate across the ecosystem of healthcare in Queensland, so it is critical for us.”

The future integration state outlined by Queensland Health paints a picture of a health system boasting specialised hospitals with top-class integration with other parts of the sector.

More timely and detailed information sharing will not only allow for effective workforce demand planning and evolving models of care, it will ultimately mean GPs and practitioners can better care for patients.

How the agency will get there is by using agreed standards for interoperability, rather than encouraging use of the same business applications. This will also allow third parties to implement different integration technologies, should they choose to do so.

The department also replacing everything from phones, servers, storage, data centres and over 50,000 desktops as part of its shift off Windows XP.

CTO Colin McCririck hopes the shift will propel the agency towards its strategic goals, such as the state government's push for cloud-first procurement.

“I don’t want to be running $50 million, $100 million projects, I want to be running small things and plugging devices in and out, and one of the reasons interoperability is so critical is it will be a facilitator to go down that path," McCririck said.

Read on to learn how ING Direct is entering the new world of the web...

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