Defence signs $15M IM contract

Defence signs $15M IM contract

By Alicia Camphuisen

Australia's Department of Defence has signed the country's biggest information management (IM) contract, to establish a new document and records management system (DRMS).

The enterprise agreement, worth $15 million over 5 years, is part of the Federal Government's Government Online initiative which aims to deliver all appropriate services electronically by 2001.

The contract was signed before Christmas with Objective Corporation (formerly CompuTechnics) for its Objective Enterprise suite.

Defence has purchased a license for a nationwide implementation, which means it could be delivered across its more than 40,000 seats. Objective will assist with the implementation, and provide nationwide on-site support.

"Defence wanted to stop different technologies emerging in its different areas. It wanted to standardise, which is why it went for one IM solution," said Objective director Tony Walls.

The DRMS will provide an integrated document management and workflow solution, that also includes search and retrieval facilities.

The implementation involves a series of projects that will initially establish a core management base, followed by many installations that will allow staff across Australia to link and contribute to Defence's records.

Staff will access DRMS via a restricted network, however Defence is exploring the option of migrating to a Web-based solution, said acting project director for DRMS, Phil Lindenmeyer.

"We have established the paradigm of a sausage-making machine. We crank the handle and create another point from which staff can access documents, and these are all linked," he said.

"The core of the system is a shift away from paper to electronic records which will enable staff to undertake their own filing and recording," said head of Defence Corporate Support, Peter Sharp.

At the moment, Defence has "millions" of electronic and hard copy records that must be managed according to National Archive Authority rules, according to Mr Lindenmeyer.

"It was getting progressively more difficult to manage," he said. "We wanted better value for the information we produce. Now any person can exploit information from anywhere else, which will give us bigger paybacks."