NEC wins AU$23m contract with WA Health

The contract will see NEC Australia upgrade WA Health’s IT systems across 500 regional sites by 2020.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

The Western Australian government has signed on NEC Australia to upgrade its IT systems and provide a connectivity platform for WA Health under a AU$23 million contract.

As part of the state's HealthNext project, NEC will connect more than 500 WA Health sites in regional areas by late 2020.

Leading HealthNext is Health Support Services (HSS), which said it would "move the WA health system onto a contemporary, scalable and cost-effective hybrid-cloud environment with improved network reliability and security" as part of the state's GovNext program.

"This will provide fast and reliable access to critical health systems while enabling us to better utilise digital innovation to support a more patient-centric and sustainable health system," HSS CIO Holger Kaufmann said.

NEC more than two years ago signed on to provide IT infrastructure under WA's GovNext-ICT initiative.

"NEC Australia has now signed in the vicinity of 180 orders with 35 West Australian government agencies connected to the state's GovNext strategy," NEC Australia's WA state manager Marcus Ashby said.

GovNext was previously touted as a way to digitally transform the Western Australian government and remove ownership of IT infrastructure.

However, Western Australian Auditor General Caroline Spencer last year criticised the GovNext-ICT program, finding flaws in its business case and execution.

The program was originally set to save between AU$29 million and AU$82 million per year, but the auditor general's report found in August that only AU$3.9 million had been spent by April 2018, with almost half of that spent on old telephony, and almost nothing on cloud services.

"GovNext can deliver savings to government, but will not deliver the savings originally anticipated in the business case," the report said.

Following this, the Western Australian Department of Health last month announced that it would be spending AU$124 million over five years to adopt a hybrid cloud model across its IT infrastructure.

Atos will be moving the legacy system to its cloud platforms, working with HSS on the project.

"The HealthNext transition program represents an opportunity to improve the way WA Health utilises and delivers ICT services to support the provision of healthcare to the WA community," Kaufmann said in March.

"A modern and contemporary cloud-based ICT system will enable us to respond better to innovation that will help improve patient care and reduce unnecessary duplication."

Atos said the scope is to provide "private cloud, managed public cloud, hybrid cloud orchestration, co-location, and managed services for 2,000 servers, over 1,000 applications, and a fully-managed Oracle Cloud platform".

NEC is also working with the NSW government, providing microwave backhaul, network management systems, and radio network support to the New South Wales Telco Authority under the state government's Critical Communication Enhancement Program (CCEP).

The contract, established in October last year, covers 87 sites on the NSW North Coast as well as 40 priority sites that will be kitted out with its iPasolink VR microwave communications system and UNMS network management system.

"NEC Australia's agreement includes 24x7 help-desk support and advanced logistics services from its Australian technical service centres," the company said.

NEC was also chosen by NSW Police Force in July 2018 to upgrade its microwave radio communications network using its iPasolink VR platform and supplying 110 iPasolink terminals to the New England region.

NEC was similarly signed by the NSW Telco Authority to deliver network management systems and wireless backhaul technology for state emergency services and other public safety agencies as part of the CCEP back in February 2017 for a three-year deal.

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