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Australia Post speeds up application delivery with as-a-service model

Australia Post recently implemented an Application-as-a-Service platform to help address the company's slow DevOps environment, which hindered how quickly it could release applications and iterations to market.

Prior to 2013, Australia Post took up to 50 days to get a new DevOps environment up and running, and because of the slow progress it meant the company was only able to make 20 production releases and build 240 applications per year, according to Andrew Dilenis, Australia Post head of digital systems.

"A single line of code took up to six weeks to get through different stages of development. We were hindered with our ability to make iterative changes, we had limited scalability, and product development environments were all different," he said.

But Dilenis revealed during Criterion's Implementing an As-a-Service Model conference that today Australia Post can have a DevOps environment up and running in a matter of eight to 12 minutes, and now conducts 250,000 application builds and releases 357 applications per year.

Dilenis said Australia Post's realisation that it needed to change was when it was experiencing a decline in revenue, an increase in competition, and a growing shift in the digital market.

He added that it was necessary for the company to create a culture that would enable the company to automate testing and deliver continuous iterations, without having to "jump through hoops" when deploying new infrastructure.

"Failure wasn't an option for us; we had a burning reason to get better at digital and we needed to do it faster," he said.

Dilenis said the company spent three years building and implementing an Application-as-a-Service platform to address the problem to allow developers to concentrate on creating applications, and have the platform "take care of all the infrastructure heavy lifting", including operating systems, networks, application containers, and security.

"We realised we needed a secure cloud platform for the delivery of our digital applications, without the infrastructure hassles," he said.

The environment now supports 90 percent of Australia Post's digital traffic including applications and API, Dilenis said, pointing out developers are now able to test and release codes faster with fewer bugs.

More recently, the platform supported the delivery of the company's MyPost app, which Dilenis said was delivered in three months, not nine; and since its launch 12 months ago there have been 800 iterations of the application, and 14 mini datacentres builds per day.