DFAT awards eight-year passport issuance contract to Fujitsu

Implementation starts in April, but the first component of the new passport systems project won't go live until 2015.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has picked managed services provider Fujitsu to implement an end-to-end system for issuing Australian passports.

DFAT's Tuan Dao with Fujitsu's Mike Foley signing the contract in Canberra on Friday. Image: Fujitsu/DFAT

The contract, which runs for eight years, is part of the DFAT's Passport Redevelopment Program (PRP), which will see end-of-life passport issuance technology be replaced in the next three years.

PRP was a 2010 Federal Budget initiative that went out to tender in late 2011.

The department is expecting up to two million passport applications per year by 2015, and the new system will help make the application and issuing process easier, DFAT has claimed.

According to DFAT CIO Tuan Dao, Fujitsu is the primary systems integrator for this project and will design, build, and manage the new passport system, including the printing process.

While this will be, according to Fujitsu, one of the largest Microsoft customer relationship management (CRM) implementations for a Federal government agency, Microsoft is not the only vendor the DFAT will be using.

"The DFAT ICT environment is essentially a Microsoft stack so we have standardised on a number of the vendor's technologies," Dao told ZDNet. "The CRM component is Microsoft-based, but that's only one part of the passport system.

"The facial recognition part, and so on, is not Microsoft — there are many other components and technology from different vendors."

Fujitsu will not begin the implementation process until April 15th.

"There are many steps along the way," Dao said. "The first time I will see a component for this project go live will be in 2015."

New services will be introduced as part of this project, which will include improved online passport application capabilities for the public.

As part of the Federal government's ICT reform, whatever old technology can be kept from the current passport system, such as storage equipment, will be reused, Dao said.