NSW Police beef up systems as single sign-on approaches

The NSW Police Service has taken a key step towards a massive improvement of policing systems with release of a tender for upgrade of their SAP enterprise software to a newer version and flagging of an associated hardware revamp.The enhancement is expected to boost the operational capabilities of the NSW Police, the largest police organisation in Australia and one of the largest in the world, with around 18,000 employees.

The NSW Police Service has taken a key step towards a massive improvement of policing systems with release of a tender for upgrade of their SAP enterprise software to a newer version and flagging of an associated hardware revamp.

The enhancement is expected to boost the operational capabilities of the NSW Police, the largest police organisation in Australia and one of the largest in the world, with around 18,000 employees. Of those, 14,500 are police officers.

The upgraded system -- in which a newer version of SAP will run on as-yet unspecified new hardware -- will play a central role in several projects being undertaken as part of an AU$55 million, two-year infrastructure enhancement program.

For example, the tender stipulates that downtime on the new SAP system not exceed 4 hours per year as it will become the "source of truth" for a "single sign-on" (SSO) project -- whereby individuals can use a single sign-on across all applications used by the NSW Police -- being undertaken as part of the Technical Infrastructure Enhancement (TIE) program.

NSW Police chief information officer, Tony Rooke, said the upgrade -- from v4.5B to v4.7 -- was being undertaken because v 4.5b was "no longer an officially supported version of the SAP product". SAP v.4.7 is slated for support by the vendor until 2009.

The tender requires respondents to submit plans for ensuring all current SAP functionality, data and integration operates successfully under the new system.

Rooke added that the existing Sun E10K Unix server on which the NSW Police SAP financial, payroll and human resources modules were run was coming to the end of its life and was due for replacement.

The E10K server -- whose architecture was more than 8 years' old and was "expensive to maintain" -- had started to hit performance limits during month-end reporting and payroll runs. "This indicated that the NSW Police SAP system had hit a performance ceiling on this particular hardware and this would restrict the ability of NSW Police to implement further enhancements, such as full Employee Self Service and data warehousing functionality," Rooke said. The police planned to replace the hardware infrastructure associated with the SAP system, including servers and disk storage sub-systems.

Rooke told ZDNet Australia  via e-mail the SSO project would see the implementation of a single sign-on and user identity management system for all NSW Police computer users.

"This project will specifically address the problems associated with different logins and passwords that police currently have to manage as they move between mainframe, Unix and Windows-based applications," he said. "The outcome will be one login and one password for all users and as part of the TIE program, this will go live in June 2005".

Other TIE programs include the replacement of the NSW Police mainframe-based e-mail system with a Lotus Notes-based e-mail system and an upgrade of the wide-area network links between all NSW Police stations. The local area network infrastructure in all police stations is also being boosted, with hubs being replaced with switches and all data cabling upgraded to allow high-capacity transmissions.

The NSW Police said late last year they were testing handheld devices and preparing to introduce new-generation ruggedised terminals. They also introduced a new, more powerful rostering system.

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