Microsoft Australia scores Department of Defence ERP modernisation deal

Microsoft will now work with SAP and IBM on the ERP program.

The Australian Department of Defence has inked a deal with Microsoft Australia as part of its plans to deploy a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform.

As part of the contract, Microsoft will host SAP/4HANA, the technology underpinning the ERP system, out of its Australia Central Azure region.

Microsoft said the deal will enable Defence to deploy its improved reporting capabilities this year, followed by the delivery of a larger logistics maintenance capability in 2022.

"We are very proud to have been selected to provide the cloud foundations for this nationally important transformation that will provide a near real-time view of critical information across Defence to better inform decision making," Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall said.

"ERP will modernise, integrate, and transform Defence's approach to managing its finances, human resources, logistics, engineering, maintenance and estate with Azure delivering the performance, security, and resilience, which is essential for such a critical application."

See also: Defence finally reveals AU$190m major IT support contracts

The project will see Microsoft work with SAP and systems integrator IBM on the delivery of the ERP. 

IBM was handed AU$95.5 million last July to deliver the design phase of the ERP program under an 18-month contract. 

Once in production, the ERP is expected to support some 85,000 Defence users in Australia and deployed overseas.

This latest project adds to the growing list of technology projects underway by Australian government entities.

Documents received by ZDNet under freedom of information (FOI) revealed at the time there were 62 ongoing technology projects valued at over AU$10 million and loosely under watch by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA).

One of those projects included the Department of Defence's Terrestrial Communications program, called JP 2047, which was originally touted by the department as a multi-phased project to maintain and improve Defence's networked communications infrastructure. 

In early 2017, the DTA was charged with looking into the structures of existing Australian government high-cost technology projects, but as was revealed during a round of Senate Estimates last year, the DTA's powers only go so far and the best way to avoid scrutiny for a troubled IT project is to ignore phone calls from the DTA, not reply to emails, and bump up self-reported scores.

The earliest project the DTA is aware of started in April 2013, but the documents showed that it has yet to be marked as completed.

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