Future proofing the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs

Building ‘One Team’ to tackle emerging challenges

The Department of Internal Affairs was looking for extra help in its journey to control information flow and develop quicker and more cost-effective IT management and maintenance.

Rather than trying to meet these growing IT needs in-house, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) decided that the most cost-efficient way to maintain a world class IT shop that provided ease of use, as well as future-proofing was to outsource all of its infrastructural components.

The obvious solution was to approach Datacom. The two parties have had maintained a close working relationship since 2009 when Datacom was brought in to move the Government Logon Service (GLS), which Datacom also built, from the State Services Commission (SSC) to the DIA. Following on from there came further projects involving the Identity Verification System (IVS), Data Access Platform (DAP), Shared Workspace, and Celebrants online, as well as the development and support of several other specialised applications.

Discussions regarding a shift to total IT outsourcing began in 2014 with a final contract being signed off in May 2016. It remains a project with huge responsibility as the DIA has dominion over portfolios as diverse as the National Library, Archives New Zealand, Passports, Births, Deaths and Marriages and Gambling Compliance.

The transition to the new managed system took less than five months, with more than 80 people across both organisations involved, and went live on schedule in August 2016. As part of that golive, 22 people from DIA transferred into Datacom permanently. The contract term was set at three years, two months, the maximum available under the ITMS master construct.

From the first discussions, a One Team approach was put in place which allowed issues to be dealt with quickly and effectively in a low stress manner. The relationship and mutual respect that was forged as a result means the One Team approach continues to strengthen while the success it has fostered now sees the total transition being hailed as the best ever conducted by Datacom Wellington, even as new processes and updated tools continue to be rolled out.

The project came in on budget, to schedule and of a high quality, creating a solid base for ongoing operations and project delivery. The value of DIA’s improved maturity across all operational processes and tooling was then proven in the period immediately following Wellington’s November earthquake where Service Desk and other services carried on relatively seamlessly even though all people had been instructed to evacuate the building.

“While the transition ran very smoothly, I was always well aware that it was just the start of the journey. The relationship between our teams and organisations continues to evolve as we each work out our strengths and weaknesses. What’s impressed me most is Datacom’s willingness to respond and change in order to maintain our good working relationship.”

Chris East, Chief Information Officer, Department of Internal Affairs