Thursday, 12 November 2015 20:18

ACMA part way through ICT infrastructure transformation

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority says it is progressing to schedule with a major, five-year transformation of its ICT infrastructure to put it at the forefront of “best practice” infrastructure, applications, processes and ‘smart’ data.

The ACMA announced its proposed ICT transformation back in 2010 and Chairman Chris Chapman says the recent refresh of its Do Not Call Register and switch to a new provider – Salmat – for one of the agency’s core functions, exemplifies the success of the on-going transformation.

According to the ACMA, in the first eight hours alone, more than 2,000 phone numbers were added and call lists containing nearly two million numbers checked - or ‘washed’ - by telemarketers against the Do Not Call Register – and the post call survey results showed customer satisfaction at 92% for the week ending 6 November.

“As well as a redesigned DNCR website, the new register provides better information to the ACMA about types of telemarketing calls that citizens complain about,” Chapman said.

“This will enhance the ACMA’s understanding of the market we are regulating, identify harms, and allow better targeting of compliance and enforcement activities.”

On progress of the transformation project. Chapman said, “In 2010 we set out to be a leading Commonwealth agency for innovation in ICT. Five years on, and after three waves of hardware and software changes, our journey is progressing on point and to plan.

“As a regulatory agency, particularly one active in the communications arena, the ACMA needs to be agile, informed, collaborative and relevant in our deployment and use of ICT. I believe the ACMA’s ICT transformation is fundamentally reinforcing our ability to deliver on our corporate strapline promise—better communication, facilitation and regulation.”

The ACMA’s ICT transformation has taken place in three distinct phases or “waves of change”.

The first phase, completed in 2012, renewed the ICT infrastructure to deliver lower maintenance costs, higher productivity, improved systems response and application deployment times.

The second wave focused on major core systems and major business projects, the most external-facing of which was the ACMA’s new website, and culminating recently with three major ICT rollouts of renewed external-facing ACMA consumer and industry services in as many months.

Chapman said the third wave of transformation, currently underway and rolling out against a target date of late 2017, is focused on smart process and data, getting maximum returns on investment from new systems, and prioritising information management and data transparency. It is designed to supporting migration to cloud-based technology infrastructure and provides a greater emphasis on user training.

‘Earlier this year, the ACMA worked with Nihilent, a global consulting and solutions integration company, to comprehensively review our custom business analysis and project management methodology, with careful benchmarking against successful global organisations and proven practices responsive to the ACMA’s unique needs,” Chapman said.

“This has underpinned the quality of our “solutions delivery.

“Overall, the principal aim of the ICT transformation program has been to create a better customer experience for industry, citizens and consumers, with a firm emphasis on user control through appropriate levels of self-service.”

Other projects implemented under the ACMA’s fi e-year ICT transformation project include:

•    Spectrum licensing allocation: A multi-year scoping initiative (Project HELM) for licensing and frequency assignment of spectrum, with a recent move to a modern system, SPECTRA, designed to deliver a reduction in red tape as well as reduced processing time and lowering costs to users of the system

•    Numbering allocation (Numbering Work Program): An automated numbering allocation system switched on last year following a comprehensive review of the regulatory framework for telephone numbers in response to deep changes in industry structures, service offers and consumer behaviour.

Chapman also cites complementary activities to the transformation plan as including:

•    Spectrum auction capability: In July this year, the ACMA selected Power Auctions for the provision of software capability for conducting spectrum auctions. The first use of this software will be for the upcoming auction of regional 1800 MHz spectrum, scheduled to commence later this month

•    Spam compliance and complaints systems: Over the last two years the ACMA has created a case management and investigation system to streamline spam compliance and complaints, and a network to allow for the efficient and more secure processing of high risk, prohibited content complaints.

•    A ‘one-stop’ Customer Service Centre: The ACMA opened an integrated Customer Service Centre in March 2014. The Centre was initially positioned as the central point of contact for customers of ACMA’s Communications Infrastructure Division, but during 2015 the authority has been working on expanding it to include queries related to the Content, Consumer and Citizen Division—taking calls, emails and web enquiries.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year 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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