Australia Post is in the planning and design phase of the next stage of its network transformation, which will focus on optimising data centre and cloud interconnectivity to improve data flows.
The postal service laid out initial plans for its network transformation in the middle of last year, bringing 4000 post offices, delivery centres and offices onto the NBN and managing that connectivity via a Cisco SD-WAN.
It has cut over around 1000 sites to date, head of network and workspace technology Shane Hazim told a webinar last week, but even once complete, this is only a subset of Post’s ambition when it comes to transforming its networks.
“From a network transformation point of view, we're very early - and what I mean by very early is although we've transformed about 1000 sites onto SD-WAN, that's our edge transformation,” Hazim said.
“How we leverage it from a multi-cloud [perspective] and how we pass information or workloads between different types of data centres, whether private or public cloud, is yet to be determined.
“We need to start thinking about our next evolution of network transformation, which is what I like to call our data centre networks.
“That's our next stage and that's in the planning and the design phase.”
Hazim noted that this part of the transformation would be driven largely by the data and analytics needs of the organisation.
“It's all about the experience or ... that piece of data that helps [the business] make a decision or provide a different experience for their customer in some sort of way,” he said.
“How do we give insights and information to your business [area] to make smart decisions on-the-fly about rapid change or give them insights and information of what's going on within their operational network?
“For us, it's about parcel tracking and deliveries, the quality of an actual service, or a box or something else a customer wants.
“Feeding that information back into your customer [data]sets or to your stakeholders as an organisation [can help] to actually determine how you make different types of decisions.”
From a practical perspective, that meant embarking on a phase of work to optimise interconnectivity between AusPost’s data centres, private and public cloud infrastructure.
The ability of organisations to move quickly and make decisions had been put to the test by COVID-19, underlining the importance of having the right enabling infrastructure.
“The world that we're moving towards is, how do you gear up your network in the future to be able to pivot and move large amounts of data regardless of where it is, but then process that data fast enough for people to be able to make on-the-fly decisions that enable their business quickly?” Hazim said.
“I think that's what’s important and what's come out of COVID. That's why next year for us it's all about our data centre network strategy to be able to get a business case approved, to get our C-level executives to understand why we need to do it and how it takes things to that next level, because right now what we're ... transforming is just our branch sites.”