The New Zealand Customs Services has laid out its technology roadmap, including shifting its legacy core CusMod border management system to Datacom's platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
CusMod was scheduled to be replaced by a new $140 million Joint Border Management System (JBMS) developed over the last five years, but remains a significant part of Customs' operation.
Customs told Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee that its priorities for capital expenditure over the next four years included further investment in "cost-effective technology-based service delivery solutions" as well as maintaining and replacing core business systems and operational equipment.
"A major programme of capital works undertaken over the last five years is delivering on NZCS’s long-term vision by providing multi-agency joint risk-based technology solutions," the department said.
That includes delivery of the Trade Single Window within the new JBMS, eGate automated self-clearance for travellers, joint border risk and intelligence data analytics capabilities and Digitally Enhanced Systems technology within the Integrated Targeting and Operations Centre.
In 2007, Customs said there was a "significant risk" that CusMod couldn't continue to respond to changes in global trade and travel, continue to manage emerging risks such as international crime or meet revenue collection objectives.
The new NZ$140 million JBMS was supposed to replace the two decade-old CusMod but in 2015 the department described the latter as "suitable for continued use" after server and software upgrades.
At the time, the agency told Parliament very large amounts of information were still stored in CusMod and it was still considered an important tool and was to be retained "for the time being".
CusMod upgrades appear to be continuing.
In it's latest report, Customs told Parliament it expected to enter into a contract with Datacom in the coming year for the provision of PaaS under the all-of-government infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering, along with additional IT service management services.
Overall, spending on the JBMS fell in 2018 to $7 million from over $40 million in each of the previous two years while spending on IT increased to $35.1 million in 2018 from $18.7 million in 2017.
"To date, the costs of moving to 'as-a-service' arrangements have been managed within approved operating and capital baseline funding, and are expected to remain so going forward," Customs told Parliament.
Ongoing capital investment will be made to continue to maintain, develop, and enhance business-critical systems over the next four years and beyond.
The planned capital spend for the next four years also includes provision for maintaining, upgrading, and replacing critical operational assets such as cargo screening equipment and the financial management information system.
IT projects are also planned to enhance productivity, mitigate risk, integrate and share information with other agencies and to help manage volume growth.
Customs' 2019 capital expenditure budget is $4.5 million more than in 2018, which is primarily from the timing of the delivery of core business systems in 2018/19 and the forecast commencement of the replacement programme for significant operational equipment.
Also included is $2.74 million of new capital expenditure funding provided under the Drug Smuggling Networks: Strategic Disruption initiative.
"The capital expenditure for this initiative is for the purchase of mobile X-ray units, marine craft, and vehicles," it said. "The capital expenditure budgets will be updated throughout 2018/19 to reflect new investment approvals and timing between financial years of the delivery of capital investment programmes."