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Inside Auckland Council's emerging ICT strategy and roadmap

Inside Auckland Council's emerging ICT strategy and roadmap

Auckland Council is opening its strategy tent to vendors while not closing the tent flaps to the contract opportunities that follow

The Council has been spending $15 million a year with the provider until a more recent dip to $12 million in its most recent disclosures.

Denvir said the future strategy is to move to a hybrid cloud where the organisation can take better opportunity of Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and "whatever may come next".

Moving into hybrid cloud means, or even requires, Council to start to containerise its workloads to be able to move them to the most appropriate infrastructure: IaaS or cloud.

Council has inked an agreement with Revera to help it begin that transition, allowing it to use the benefits of the All of Government agreement and also take advantage of "pureplay" cloud providers such as AWS and Azure where appropriate.

Denvir said the first phase of that has already been executed and is delivering some reasonable cost savings.

Revera's CloudCreator orchestration platform will be used "in the first instance", he said.

"We will be going into co-design to see what the future environment will look like," he explained. "We are not closing down any opportunities. We are looking. We are doing that with Revera."

Other cloud-based opportunities are also being embraced, including a shift to Office 365 from Exchange.

Council is looking at the rest of the Microsoft productivity tools and has also moved to another pure play provider for procurement in Ariba. More recently, it deployed SAP's SuccessFactors for HR and people management.

Furthermore, the Council signed an agreement for using VMware's Workspace One to help deliver services to the end user device through the browser.

"Fundamentally, it's a good way to take advantage of what the market is developing," Denvir added.

So long, traditional procurement

Donaldson said those changes are accompanied by significant shifts in how Council procures ICT products and services.

Traditional procurement, he said, starts with go-to-market through a request for proposal. Once those are received, they are scored and then everybody "wonders why you don’t get the best result out of the market".

Council wanted to come up with processes that allow it to talk to vendors and be challenged. That means releasing high level requirement and outcomes sought and letting vendors challenge what the organisation is trying to do.

"The ICT space is evolving so quickly, we need to have that opportunity constantly," he said.

While Council's hardware procurement strategy is still under wraps, Donaldson said it’s about how to make the best use of the AoG hardware panel and use Council's scale and volume to get the best deal.

A professional and technical services procurement strategy is also due in the first half of current financial year.

Reseller News reports on the changes to procurement strategy generated some unfavourable comment on LinkedIn.

Denvir said the changes mean providers get to have their say early in the process and to help define strategy without precluding them from participating in subsequent procurements.

The aim is to protect vendors' unique IP during that early engagement to ensure they have an opportunity in the future, he said.

One complaint raised was that smaller, local developers and suppliers were not getting fair access.

"Looking at the way we want to deliver SaaS with API using SAP as the system of record, the system of innovation opens the door to all those guys that in the past have struggled to deal with us," Denvir said.

The primary requirement is what’s right to drive the best outcome for Council and ratepayers, he said.


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