Mobilising the government? We have an app for that.
Social-media government or bust
Emergency Services tech
APRIL/MAY 2012 â€˘ ISSUE 12
on the roll
People power and
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Getting smart in WA â– How DSD keeps current
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cover story: M obilising the government? We have an app for that. From asset maintenance to customer service, government organisations deal with their citizens on the ground in many different ways – but the traditional dispatch model has limited responsiveness and flexibility. All that’s changing, however, as investments in iPads and other mobile devices are empowering field-service workers with real-time information – much of it provided directly to state and council organisations by the smartphonewielding citizens they serve.
Introduction 2 Editor’s letter 3 News 36 Opinion: Kevin Noonan; Lee Ward; Chris Jones
Features 12 DSD: Defenders at the gateway The Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) offers security guidance for government – but with new attacks every day, how does it keep up? 16 A license to print money Managed print services are helping government agencies slash the cost of what has traditionally been a financial black hole. 32 NBN, IBM drive Geraldton’s tech vision City of Greater Geraldton executives will use an IBM grant and Geraldton’s NBN primacy to become the high-tech capital of the north-west. 36 Emergency services answer the call Mobile broadband promises new emergency services – but are incumbent technologies really dead? This GTR roundtable polls industry thought leaders. 43 Victorian councils shine in LG awards The 2012 National Awards for Local Government highlight innovative forms of council-to-citizen communications.
Tapping people power for big data
Government gets a social life
Hackers and developers have often had a natural antipathy towards government, working in the shadows whether by accident or design. With new data volumes and security threats looming, however, some government organisations are using novel techniques to tap the community’s latent development and problem-solving skills.
Depending on where you work, social media may be warmly welcomed or completely verboten. But as speakers at the recent Social Media for the Public Service conference shared, government organisations willing to embrace a social-media strategy are reaping the dividends many times over.
27 GIS analysis finds Qld’s biggest tree If a tree stands in a forest but nobody knows it’s there, is it still the state’s tallest tree? 28 Lessons from the shared-service wars It started off hard, but things are looking up for the New Zealand Defence Force. Its shared-services head explains why. 30 Fremantle Ports gets into ship shape As WA’s resource-driven economy took hold, Fremantle Ports had to get smarter about its operations. 34 Learning the downside of free devices They may have been free, but thousands of government-funded computers created bandwidth problems for the Catholic Education Office Parramatta.
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Participatory democracy has long been a fundamental tenet of Western governments, and Australia’s vocal political environment is a testament to its enduring success. Yet for the technologists charged with keeping the wheels of democracy spinning, sometimes the sheer complexity of government means you could use a little help. Enter what, for lack of a better phrase, I’ll call “participatory dataocracy” in which government bodies function less as ivory towers of administrative process, and more as citizen-centric arbiters of progress. Forget the town meeting: forward-looking governments are using technology to reach out to their communities in novel ways. Social media has given citizens unprecedented access to their representatives at every level. Twitter and Facebook are at the vanguard of this revolution – yet many government bodies are only now appreciating social media’s power to help government participate in the community as well as dictate to it. Many fascinating stories of citizen engagement were shared at the recent Social Media for the Public Sector conference, to which hundreds of local-government and state departmental representatives converged to learn how social media can help them service their communities better. In this issue, we cover a few of the highlights and offer some takeaway advice for your own explorations. Social media is only one way that modern government bodies are delivering the new data-ocracy. Increased use of mobile field-service technologies is empowering council and departmental officers, whose work is being informed by traditional asset management and innovations such as crowd-sourced reporting of faults with council-specific smartphone apps. Others are furthering the data-ocracy with competitions that draw out innovative developers offering new perspectives on old problems – or demonstrating their hacking prowess in unprecedented government-backed security challenges. Others, like the International Space Apps Challenge, provide access to massive data sets to see what citizens can make of them. Also this month, emergency-services systems providers discuss the challenges and opportunities of new technologies; we find out how the Defence Signals Directorate is keeping up with rapid changes in information security threats; and look at managed print services, which is trimming costs from an area an area that is often a budgetary black hole. I’d love to know how your government body is empowering the new data-ocracy – or hear any thoughts, comments, concerns or suggestions on the magazine. Have a read through, and drop me line so we can make GTR a participatory media-ocracy. Hey – that has a nice ring to it.
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Hack analysis shows breaches unsophisticated, avoidable A surge in online ‘hacktivism’ drove cybercriminal activities to near-record heights during 2011, with more than 855 reported incidents and 174 million database records compromised as a result of hackers’ activities. The figures were documented in the Verizon Business 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), which boasts a number of high-calibre backers: the Australian Federal Police, Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit, Irish Reporting and Information Security Service, Police Central e-Crime Unit, and United States Secret Service. It is based on aggregated data that spans eight years, over 2000 security breaches, and more than a billion compromised records. Interestingly, the analysis showed that most attacks were opportunistic, uncomplicated, and undetected by their victims for some time. Fully 96 per cent of attacks were rated as “not highly difficult”; 92 per cent of incidents were discovered by a third party rather than the victim; 85 per cent of breaches took weeks or longer to discover; and 79 per cent of victims were hit by opportunistic attacks. Despite their typically larger IT budgets, government organisations didn’t fare much better than large private enterprises, Mark Goudie, managing principal for Verizon Business’ Asia Pacific investigative response business, told GTR .
“I wouldn’t say government organisations were any better or worse,” he said. “One thing I would say is that they are very good at classifying data. And from someone who has seen a lot of data being stolen, I am a firm believer in data classification being an extremely valuable exercise. The whole point of data classification is knowing where data can and cannot exist.” Most of the organisations hit could have protected themselves better, with 97 per cent of breaches deemed “avoidable through simple or intermediate controls”. Of the victims that fall under the auspices of the financial industry’s PCI DSS data-security requirements, 96 per cent had not achieved PCI DSS compliance. One significant trend was the rise in technology-based hacking: fully 81 per cent of attacks involved hacking and 69 per cent of attacks involved malware; that’s a 31 per cent and 20 per cent increase over the previous year, respectively. By contrast, use of physical attacks, social tactics, and privilege misuse were down significantly; this suggests a stronger presence by outside hackers than in the past. Indeed, the report found that 98 per cent of attacks were instigated by “external agents” and 58 per cent of all data theft could be tied to activist groups. The full DBIR can be downloaded from bit.ly/GIoSmp.
Australasian e-waste recycling program launched
Vendors of printers, computers and other IT products were lining up in late April behind the Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP, at www.anzrp.com.au), the first industry-led national electronic waste collection and recycling program. Designed as a common effort to deliver a viable product stewardship effort, ANZRP has more than 20 members including Amicroe Australia, Bluechip Infotech, Brother International, Dell Australia, Dicker Data, Direct Memory Access, EMC, Epson Australia, Medion AG, NEC Australia, Pioneer Electronics Australia, Rectron Electronics, Targus Australia, The Reject Shop, Thorn Group and Uniden Australia. Founding members include Canon, Epson, HP, Panasonic, and Toshiba. The program will provide the community with permanent e-waste collection sites across Australia by July of this year, with more sites across the country by 2013. Its stated goals are to boost the recycling rate for televisions and computers from 17 per cent in 2010 to 80 per cent by 2021, and to provide a long-term solution to television and computer waste.
e-payments could save gov’t $240m per year Australian government bodies could save $240 million in annual administrative costs by replacing paper-based citizen payments with prepaid cards for electronic payments, a Deloitte Access Economics report has advised. Entitled Efficient and Modern Payments: Benefits of Government Prepaid Cards, the report was commissioned by Visa and suggests that government bodies’ high
dependence on paper cheques was costing them unnecessarily. Use of prepaid cards rather than cheques would also benefit government disbursements by shortening delivery of time-critical payments, as in emergency and disaster relief situations; replacing cash and cheques with electronic payments; electronically limiting the use of payments to specific circumstances; and reducing the administrative and compliance
costs of paper-based processes. The full report is available at bit.ly/K9eZ5H.
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Perth councils set for consolidation Thirty local-government organisations across the metropolitan Perth area may need to brace themselves for a period of dramatic IT and organisational consolidation after a government-commissioned panel found the preponderance of councils was creating service duplication and confusion. A final recommendation will be presented to the government in June, but indications are that the panel – headed by former University of Western Australia vice-chancellor Professor Alan Robson – will offer one option that suggests reducing the 30 councils to anywhere from 12, five or even one ‘super council’.
DHS commits to $374m integration project
Proving the era of the mega-contract is far from over, the Department of Human Services (DHS) recently signed on for a $374m IT overhaul that will provide a major plank in the agency’s Service Delivery Reform agenda. The scope of the project includes consolidation of 14 data centres down to three; a 25,000-desktop Windows 7 rollout; consolidation of HR and finance systems; adoption of Microsoft Exchange rather than various legacy messaging platforms; a review of telecommunications services, and potential rollout of customer relationship management (CRM) and unified communications.
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Privacy agency updates data-breach guidelines
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has moved to fill the void around mandatory data-breach guidelines with the release of a formal guide designed to help organisations shape measures to deal with data-security breaches. OAIC’s guide comes four years after a 2008 recommendation from the Australian Law Reform Commission advocated the passage of a law requiring affected individuals and the OAIC be notified in the event of a data breach. No specific law has been passed as a result, but the current publication is intended to guide organisations that want to form their own data-breach policies.
The guide outlines four key steps – including containing the breach, determining the nature and extent of the breach, and assessing what personal information is involved; evaluating the potential harm the breach may cause; notifying law enforcement agencies and, once the breached system had been fixed and tested, affected parties by phone, letter, email, or in person; and demonstrating a spirit of transparency when breaches occur. The updated guide can be downloaded at bit.ly/Iz3Af9.
AIIA considers need for accreditation of SME government suppliers An accreditation scheme for SMEs wanting to supply government buyers is being considered by a working group reviewing last year’s troubled Victorian eServices Panel review, which saw the number of governmentapproved suppliers slashed and then expanded after widespread protests. The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), one of four industry organisations on the eight-member review panel, floated the idea of SME accreditation as a way of compromising
between large companies’ desire to be recognised for their capabilities, and small providers’ determination not to be left out of the lucrative government market. Such accreditation could simplify the competitive process for SMEs that often struggle to meet government agencies’ onerous due-diligence requirements. “You should not have to reveal highly confidential information, just to win government work,” AIIA treasurer Russell Yardley recently told technology news site iTnews.
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Mobilising the government? We have an app for that.
The relentless explosion of data, how to handle it, house it, mine it and leverage is depicted as the private sector’s bete noir – but in the public sector, these rich data issues are amplified by a range of factors. New approaches to field service and mobile data access are helping many government organisations keep up. By Natalie Apostolou
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ll layers of government are currently not only dealing with the streams of data that they have at their disposal, but how to integrate these cross current streams across multi-layers, divisions and geographic boundaries. In many areas, local councils are trailblazing in mobile applications innovation – and showing state and federal governments how field-service apps can be implemented to derive business, social and community benefits from big data. Those councils are finding it of paramount importance to grapple with the explosive growth of local data, storage data management – and using that data for the wider benefit of the community. IT managers and CIOs are finding that using mobility and applications that leverage data is about the ways in which the council can use services in a better way for the community, and how they can store that information and manage it data in a more effective way. Act global, app local Australia’s sixth largest government authority, Queensland’s Logan City Council, has been one of the more progressive in terms of using mobility to help power the community’s utility, information and communications needs. According to CIO Jim Barclay, the Council is concerned with getting a better share of information among the different tiers of government. Management and processing of that data into meaningful and timely information is of paramount concern: “Trying to find relevant information across layers of government and departments is always a challenge,” he explains. “We are building new cities, yet we are still building
them in the same ways. Private and public entities are all holding disparate bits of information and it doesn’t help citizens at the end of the day.” Logan City Council has worked with a number of established and startup IT organisations to take their digital data management to the next level. One of the council’s partners is information management specialists Glentworth, which recently overhauled the council’s information management strategy including how they gather and supply information to customers. “Previously we had the approach, let’s improve technology, whereas Glentworth provided a real focus on what information is needed, and where it is gathered from,” Barclay said. But with Logan’s population anticipated to rapidly escalate over the next ten years as southern émigrés flock north, Barclay says expectations will rapidly increase. “Logan is in one of Queensland’s major growth regions and we wanted to make sure we were able to service the needs of our growing areas with a very proactive approach,” he explains. “People expect to self service, get their information from one place, and for that information to be correct.” The council has also recently competed a data collection trial project with Rype, a Queenslandheadquartered mobile and cloud integration consultancy, and Blink Mobile Interactive (BMI). That mobile data collection trial, completed in February, is now being rolled out and enables the rapid creation and deployment of customised electronic forms that can be completed and uploaded to Council systems using a variety of tablets, phones and laptops. BMI’s Blink Mobility Platform provides the capabilities to build and deploy many different mobile services based on existing services. This is allowing the council to extend mobile services to
the field, improving its customer focus and allowing council officers to receive customer requests online in real time from mobile customers. Rype designed the processes and interfaces to take the critical inspection data recorded in BlinkForms in addition to uploading it into the council’s Pathway administrative system. During the trial, council officers experimented with two inspection forms – one for food premises inspection and the other for nuisance trees. The iPad was used by council officers as the device of choice. Barclay says the council was assessing the roll out of the use of the mobile technology across all departments including Development Assessment, Animal and Pest Services, Road Infrastructure Management and Parks – where officers are required to be out in the field and report information back to council. “The trial mobile pilot delivered increased productivity and efficiency for officers,” he explains. “They found they were able to stay in the field for longer and didn’t have to return to the office as frequently to input the data they had collected. This is something we’ve been working on for around ten years now, and the it has enabled us to develop a platform which allows mobile devices to have secure access to council’s systems with fantastic outcomes.” Working with new data sources Adding to the complexity of government’s data management issues is the rise of social media, web based crowdsourcing and two-way digital communications, which means that ‘other people’s data’ has become a relevant part of the public data matrix. There’s nothing like a natural disaster to push a government into creating a bigger focus on disaster
“We are building new cities, yet we are still building them in the same ways. Private and public entities are all holding disparate bits of information and it doesn’t help citizens at the end of the day.” GTR APRIL/MAY 2012 | 7
and crisis management. While local government has been experimenting with social media and crowdsourcing as new modes of data collection, the Queensland flood disaster in 2011 brought the benefits of this new social and transactional data resource to the fore. During the flood crisis, the Brisbane City Council and Sunshine Coast Councils actively used social media feeds such as Facebook and Twitter via mobile to relay more granular details on the effect on the floods – not only to the community but as a way of researching what was actually happening within the community when traditional modes of communication were cut. As a result of the flood experience, Sunshine Coast Council now has a dedicated social media team which works in the field, reporting back and capturing accurate information on real time issues such as road closures and infrastructure that needs fixing by the council. The rise of social media as a mobile application, and as an application that can quickly digest rich data and disseminate to a wide community of people, has allowed government bodies to also experiment with inhouse mobile applications that would have never been possible in pre-social Web days. Queensland Health, for example, last year developed an iPad app called The Viewer as an inhouse attempt to solve the problem of aggregating disparate patient data and records from various health institutions. The read-only web-based application consolidates all existing patient information from Queensland Health systems in one place. According to Queensland government chief information officer Peter Grant, it is the only application of its kind in Australia and saves clinicians time when searching for patient
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B uilding the N B N , one i P hone at a time
They may be building the infrastructure behind our fastest cutting edge telecommunications networks, but engineering teams often have to contend with antiquated operational methods to get the job done. Given the remote terrain and situations that they are often operating in, capturing and relaying data for engineers in the field is one of biggest concerns for project managers. To improve this situation, seasoned infrastructure deployment specialists Kordia developed an in-house iPhone app that allows engineers to retrieve, capture and relay rich data from site surveys in real time. The iPhone app, which is currently being considered to be launched as a licenced product, was originally developed during the design phase for the first-release national broadband network (NBN) site in Townsville. The initial Townsville site covered about 3100 premises with an additional 3000 premises covered off in stage two. Given the NBN deployment’s difficult and unpredictable geographic rollout areas, the design work had to be done on site in ‘brownfield’ deployment areas with existing infrastructure.
The app was developed organically as engineers worked out what served them best in terms of using audio, video or data streaming to survey a rollout site. The data was collated and then transmitted live to the NBN Co database using the iPhone app. The project included ‘for construction’ diagrams, outside plant equipment selection, methodology and decision matrices for design rules, documentation on asset identification, optical budget planning, production of the bill of materials, and engagement with local utility suppliers – and the local council. To support the iPhone application, the Downer/Kordia team also developed an asset database register called KOST (Kordia Operations Services Team). The database allows for asset information to be collected during the field scoping phase for use during the design phase. The database comes complete with photos, asset location, customer property entry information, conduit requirements and more. “The intention of the iPhone application is to enhance the efficiency of data collection in the field with immediate upload capabilities, ” said Kordia MD Peter Robson.
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“As a result of the flood experience, Sunshine Coast Council now has a dedicated social media team which works in the field, reporting back and capturing accurate information on real time issues such as road closures and infrastructure that needs fixing by the council.” information stored at various Queensland Health hospitals and facilities. It also supports improved decision-making and reduced errors in Queensland Health facilities. In NSW, local and state government have had an experimental journey into mobile apps – particularly in the transport arena with several attempts at a statewide platform suffering from teething problems. Parramatta City Council, for one, has been heavily investing in its digital information strategy with a heavy emphasis on mobility and instructive data usage. The council has introduced two smartphone applications, Parra Smart Parking which features live navigation to car spaces, using the smart phone GPS function and Parra Shuttle Bus Tracker that allows users to view real-time tracking of Parramatta’s free shuttle bus. The Smart Parking app also enables access to additional data on car park details including up-tothe-minute occupancy rates. Parramatta’s focus on connective technologies is an initiative of the ParraConnect Advisory Committee, an ongoing program that aims to help businesses, community groups, government stakeholders and residents. Both apps were developed by mobile application development and smart city solution integrator Smart Global Solutions.
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“I don’t think there’s any other government in Australia that has leveraged connective technologies like we have here in Parramatta,” says Parramatta lord mayor John Chedid. “Parramatta is a key employment, cultural and social hub and it is vital that we continue to improve the way visitors, workers and residents access our City.” Frank Dorrian, program manager for Parramatta’s Digital Concierge program and MD of
Smart Global Solutions Australia, believes that the applications will assist in improving future traffic management. “The Parra Smart Parking application will identify capacity data trends,” he says, “which will ensure Council can provide the necessary car parking spaces required for Sydney’s growing second CBD and will also reduce Parramatta’s carbon footprint by minimising the amount of traffic congestion.”
Adelaide taps citizen power for pothole spotting Improving field service and customer responsiveness aren’t just about putting new faces on old data sources; many councils are enlisting the help of their ratepayers to identify problems that can be triaged to appropriate council staff. South Australia’s Adelaide City Council has taken a bold step in this direction with the release of Adelaide Report It! (bit.ly/ Iz3d4k), an app that lets iPhone, Android, and Blackberry users report issues ranging from graffiti to potholes and faulty lights across Adelaide city and North Adelaide. Developed by Web-apps firm Freedom Speaks LLC and based on a similar platform from CitySourced (www.citysourced.com), the app taps into the phone’s GPS to pinpoint their locations, allowing users to
attach photographs and written reports that will direct council officers to the relevant locations. This lets them be reviewed and actioned, if necessary, far faster than if the council relied exclusively on council officers to patrol and identify the issues.
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