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Monday, 16 December 2019 13:34

Victorian Electoral Commission to deploy Microsoft cloud to ‘streamline’ voting process Featured

VEC election day team use Microsoft cloud VEC election day team use Microsoft cloud

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) is deploying Microsoft’s three cloud solution to streamline the State’s voting processes.

The VEC conducts State elections, local council elections, and maintains the electoral enrolment register.

Mirosoft says the cloud migration is scheduled to be completed early in 2020 and will enhance VEC’s agility, “ensuring it is able to respond rapidly to legislative changes with no sacrifice of integrity or security”.

According to Microsoft, specifically, the rollout of Microsoft 365 is allowing VEC to:

  • Increase speed to delivery through deploying Dynamics 365 as its CRM.
  • Enhance its productivity platform by implementing a new intranet site and document management system using SharePoint, and
  • Utilise Teams as a key support to encourage communication and collaboration in the previously heavily siloed organisation.

CIO Jonathan Underwood has led the digital transformation at VEC which has seen key systems move to Microsoft Azure.

Under the transformation, the VEC is using Office 365 as its workplace productivity platform, and Dynamics 365 to manage its political party donations register, and service desk.

According to Microsoft, this cloud-centric IT strategy enhances VEC’s agility, ensuring it is able to respond rapidly to legislative changes with no sacrifice of integrity or security.

“In fact, the move to Microsoft’s three clouds has substantially improved the security posture of the organisation while reducing the burden on Underwood and his team,” Microsoft says.

“The more I use the built-in security of cloud, the more I reduce my risk. There are about 10,000 various things I need to monitor and control with an average server application. By putting the application in the cloud, I reduce my workload by half. Using a cloud platform contributes to risk reduction,” Underwood said.

Microsft says the VEC is also working on a major security project with it to ensure adherence to the Australian Signals Directorate’s Essential Eight recommendations for cyber security.

According to Underwood, “Moving to the Azure cloud and Dynamics 365 has helped us achieve our security goals and ensured we have met the timeframes. The clean design and simplicity is a boon, as is the fact that Microsoft continually updates and enhances the system.

“My team can now be so much more effective and innovative. Rather than completing four projects a year we are now handling 50-60 projects delivered with improved speed and quality.

Microsoft notes that Underwood acknowledges it’s been a “pretty substantial transformation after a decade during which many of VEC’s IT systems languished”.

“It was like stepping back in time. So, there was plenty of opportunity to introduce new tools to improve and support mobility, innovation and modern working,” said Underwood.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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