DSITIA completes Office 365 rollout

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DSITIA completes Office 365 rollout

But not without hiccups along the way.

The Queensland Government’s lead IT agency, the Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA), migrated its last seats onto Microsoft’s Office 365 email and collaboration cloud last weekend, marking the completion of a high profile project plagued by delays.

Newly appointed chief change and operating officer, Evan Hill, revealed during a parliamentary estimates hearing late yesterday that the Queensland State Archives have now moved onto the platform. The rollout is now more or less percent complete across the roughly 3000-employee department.

“We now move onto stage three of the project,” he said.

The original deadline for DISITIA’s cloud email project was December last year – which came and passed before the department even had the opportunity to sign a contract for licences for the solution.

DSITIA finally kicked off work earlier this year when it renegotiated Queensland’s state-wide sourcing agreement with Microsoft so that it would cover the software giant’s cloud products.

IT Minister Ian Walker yesterday described the deal as “the first whole-of-government contract in Australia to be cloud ready”.

But the contract delay wasn’t the only hurdle the department faced, Hill told the estimates committee.

The project has recently been marked with an ‘Amber’ warning status on the state’s ICT Dashboard as a consequence of issues with the quality of the rollout.

The problems are “predominantly around shared mailboxes” Hill explained, which have become ingrained in the way that DSITIA staff use their email accounts to date, a practice not supported by the new Office 365 suite.

“There has been a lot of business process change that has had to happen before we could deploy the technology properly,” he said. “[But] it certainly hasn’t stopped the project proceeding.”

The DSITIA rollout will act as a pilot for cloud email to guide the rest of the government. Queensland Treasury and Trade has already registered its interest in a migration.

The Microsoft deal covers a potential 149,000 Queensland Government seats, as the Department of Education has its own licensing arrangements with the company – but it is not mandatory for agencies to move off their on-premise Exchange solutions.

Walker has recently unveiled the details of the state’s ‘cloud first’ policy, which will see agencies going to market for email or any other IT solutions obliged to consider cloud options as their default choice.

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