Queensland plans huge Exchange 2007 project

Summary:The Queensland state government has kicked off one of Australia's largest email and identity management projects, in a move that will see up to 80,000 email accounts consolidated into one overarching Microsoft Exchange 2007 system by mid-2010.

The Queensland state government has kicked off one of Australia's largest email and identity management projects, in a move that will see up to 80,000 email accounts consolidated into one overarching Microsoft Exchange 2007 system.

Credit: Tourism Queensland

The project, known as the Identity, Directory and Email Services program (IDES), is being undertaken by state-owned ICT services group CITEC, as one of the main initiatives to spring from a wide-ranging package of reforms first announced by Queensland's ICT Minister Robert Schwarten in October 2006.

The reforms have seen CITEC re-focus on being a shared technology services provider to the Queensland government and pull back from private sector work. After external companies develop the new email platform, CITEC will take over its operation and deliver the associated services to government departments under a service provider model.

The state described the project extensively in request for tender documents it issued over the past few weeks, calling for suppliers to separately provide identity management, email storage, content filtering and data migration solutions. The documents said the overall project would:

  • Transition all existing Microsoft Exchange installations to a new whole-of-government email service, to be based on the new Exchange 2007 suite
  • Implement a whole-of-government identity management platform
  • Provide a simplified sign-on service to the government's SAP business application portal
  • Provide the ability to deliver identity information from the SAP-based human resources platform to all agencies
  • Enhance government white pages by delivering up-to-date information to GovNet, the state's secure internal information portal, which provides access to government-wide information

The project will see some 80,000 email accounts and up to 250,000 identities migrated to the new systems, and is slated to be completed by June 2010. Implementation of the project will commence in the first quarter of 2009, with an initial pilot to touch some 5,000 government staff.

Some other portions of Queensland's overall reform program, such as consolidation of its networks and datacentres, are on similar time frames.

The departments and agencies whose users will be migrated onto the centralised email platform are already using Exchange, but some installations of IBM's Lotus Notes/Domino and Novell's Groupwise platforms remain throughout the state government.

The future of those installations, which constitute almost a further 80,000 users, would require additional analysis, CITEC said in tender documents, and those users were not immediately included in the scope of the centralisation project. However, eventually the agency said the email project should be able to handle up to 200,000 accounts.

A similar situation exists with the identity management side of the project, with much of the government already using Microsoft's Active Directory solution, but other parts using Novell eDirectory or LDAP. It is unclear whether the state has chosen a standard directory platform yet, although the tender documents mention Active Directory in a number of places.

The new email system will not only provide desktop access to Microsoft's Outlook client, but also Outlook Web Access and tie-ins with Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform and Research in Motion's BlackBerry handsets.

As part of the project, Queensland is also planning to refresh its digital certificate infrastructure.

Further information on the project can be found through the Queensland government's tendering website.

The news comes shortly after ICT Minister Schwarten revealed that the Queensland government intends to beef up the powers of its state chief information officer role, to ensure the position has enough power to effectively deal with individual departments and agencies.

Topics: Government, Government : AU, Microsoft, Security

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