The digital infrastructure you’ll never see

May 11 2021, by James Rabey | Category: Government

In a secret location there is a Canberra data centre that’s a silent fortress and a cornerstone of the Australian Government’s digital transformation strategy.

At Macquarie’s new Canberra data centre there are hundreds of rack-mounted servers busily processing enormous amounts of data. Uninterruptable power supplies keep the power on, switches, routers, interconnects and cabling provide connectivity across the data centre and externally to the Intra-government Communications Network (ICON), government customers and the internet. Computer room air-conditioning units, storage, backup, biometric, cyber and physical security systems are other essential infrastructure that provide the Australian Government with colocation, hosting and cloud services. Built to government requirements the Canberra data centre is highly secure, resilient and sovereign, and it needs to be, to enable the government’s digital transformation strategy.

Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Strategy.

But what is digital transformation, and why is it so important to the Australian Government?

Digital transformation is the use of digital technologies to radically improve organisational performance. Through digital technologies organisations worldwide are seeking to transform customer experiences, operational processes and business models. Digital transformation can improve market penetration and revenues, cut costs, streamline processes and utilise operational and market data to improve decision-making.

Not surprisingly, governments globally are embracing digital technologies to improved citizen services, workforce experiences as well as long-term cost savings. 96% of government officials across 70 countries said digital technologies are significantly impacting the public sector in a global Deloitte study, however 69% said their progress was lagging behind the private sector.
The Australian Government is one of the top-ranking countries on the UN e-Government Survey for the scope and quality of online services, status of telecommunication infrastructure and existing staff capabilities.

The Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Strategy was first developed in 2018 but has recently been revised in November 2020 with a focus on government being easy to deal with, informed by citizens and fit for the digital age.

Different agencies provide greater insight into the significance and scope of the Australian government’s digital transformation vision. The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources states ‘Digital approaches free-up people from the business of dealing with government and allows them to focus on what’s important. People expect digital services from government that keep pace with their technology and services from other sectors’.

The Department of Defence seeks to reset how, when, and where work is done, and has turned to the market for assistance in shaping its new direction. Through its mobility and digitization project, Defence state ‘With mobile technology revolutionising ways of working across industries and governments, Defence can leverage this technology to untether its workforce from fixed ICT and uplift and expand on its currently limited and disparate mobile solutions; in order to enable a people-centric capability that provides seamless mobile workflows and enhances the user experience for Defence personnel.

Colocation, hosting and cloud – crucial to transformation strategy.

The success of the government’s digital transformation strategy is reliant on earning and maintaining citizen trust, and fulfilling on the service expectations set. To keep Australians’ data secure, the government will need to maintain advanced cyber-security defenses, and to keep data sovereign – no data leakage into foreign hands.

The government’s online services will need to be available, responsive, and secure, so data centre infrastructure, resources and services including hosting, colocation and cloud are critical. Sovereign and cyber security capabilities are essential.

The foundation of the government’s digital transformation strategy will reside with the sovereign capabilities and hosting, colocation, and cloud services available at Macquarie Government’s new Canberra data centre.