The Department of Health is planning to accelerate its migration to the public cloud after extending its long-running IT outsourcing deal with Datacom for a further three years.
The extension follows what Datacom has described as an “intensive period of work” over the past two years to reconfigure the department’s IT infrastructure in a bid to cope with the impacts of the pandemic.
The new contract, which comes into effect when the current infrastructure and support services deal expires at the end of June 2022, will bring the term of the arrangement between the pair to 10 years.
Datacom replaced IBM as the department’s infrastructure and support services provider in 2015, closing out a 15-year relationship that extended five years beyond its original limits thanks to ministerial approval.
The department last extended the Datacom deal May 2020 at a cost of $159.7 million, and also allowed for an increase in the consumption of services during the first wave of the pandemic.
The existing contract has cost the department $506 million over seven years, meaning the extension likely puts this fresh deal in the hundreds of millions of dollars range.
In a statement on Wednesday, Datacom said the new deal would see it provide a “number of new capabilities aimed at enhancing services and driving cost savings”, in addition to its existing services.
“Datacom’s AIOps will use AI-drive insights to enhance the operational delivery of IT services, while up to 80 percent of the department’s cloud workloads will be automatically provisioned,” it said.
“A CI/CD [continuous integration/continuous deployment] approach will automate aspects of application development and monitoring.”
Datacom chief innovation and technology officer Matthew Gooden said the extension comesa courtesy of a “significant investment” in the company’s capabilities.
“Our increasing use of AI and automation will speed up the migration of over 1000 production workloads to the public cloud, streamline the release of new applications and deliver improved functionality for department employees,” he said.
Cost savings by migrating to the public cloud and automating the configuration of workloads on cloud platforms are estimated to be in the “millions of dollars”.
New channels such as forms and chat tools will also help the department “save on IT service costs” by reducing support calls to the Datacom IT helpdesk, while improving the employee experience.
Datacom added that teams will “employ the Agile methodology and SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) across their operating model”, without indicating whether this was a recent decision.
The pandemic experience
Datacom also used its annoucement of the contract extension to highlight work it has performed to allow the department to respond to the pandemic.
It said a remote working solution was rolled out to approximately 7500 staff during the initial wave of Covid-19, which involved procuring, provisioning and deploying thousands of laptops.
“Busy health workers can now seamlessly move between working environments while having secure access to all the devices and applications they need,” Datacom said.
Datacom said it also worked with other vendors to “stand up vaccine management systems” – likely Accenture, which provides the department’s main vaccination tracking system – and ramped up its contact centres.