Optus extends managed services contract with government department for AU$13.6m

Optus will continue providing managed IT services for the Australian Department of Agriculture under a AU$13.6 million three-year contract extension aimed at enabling the department's digital transformation.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus Business has announced extending its managed services contract with the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources over the next three years for AU$13.6 million with an emphasis on digital transformation.

Under the contract, Optus will continue delivering mobile, data, and voice services across the 5,500 mobile and tablet devices used by the federal government department, along with managed telephone, video conferencing, Skype for Business, and a contact centre solution for the department's 150 sites.

According to Optus, the managed services being provided are also "aimed at increasing collaboration among staff working remotely across Australia and overseas".

Optus had originally won the tender after a competitive process back in 2013, after which it upgraded the department's network infrastructure and transitioned its workers across.

Optus Business MD John Paitaridis said the telco will now focus on "the department's digital transformation".

"We're supporting the department's mission to ensure Australia's agriculture, fisheries, food, and forestry industries embrace new digital technologies to improve competitiveness and sustainability," he said.

Departmental CIO Peter McKeon acknowledged the drive to "build greater capability across the department".

"By updating our critical technology platforms and investing in managed services, we're well positioned to achieve our objectives now and into the future," he said.

Optus Business is focused on delivering communications services for government, in June announcing that it will be offering its secure private cloud service to multiple Australian government agencies under a deal with Canberra Data Centres (CDC).

CDC has over 40 government departments already using the four centres it operates across two datacentres in Canberra, with Paitaridis saying this could grow as the federal government embarks upon its digital transformation program and fulfils its "cloud first" policy after establishing a Cloud Services Panel back in 2014.

Optus will provide secure infrastructure as a service (IaaS), managed storage, and disaster recovery cloud solutions, as well as utilising CDC's venues to host its unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) and contact-centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) offerings so as to sell these to government and enterprise customers in Canberra.

At the time of launch, Optus' cloud partners included Microsoft, AWS, Dell EMC, HPE, Nutanix, NextDC, Cisco, VMWare, Optus subsidiary Ensyst, Pure Storage, and Interactive; ZDNet understands that Optus will initially store unclassified information on its private cloud solutions while utilising its AWS and Azure partnerships for information needing government certification.

Optus Business added cybersecurity prevention, detection, and monitoring capabilities to its managed security services portfolio in September, with the solution running on Singtel subsidiary Trustwave.

Optus also announced extending its satellite communications partnership with the Department of Defence in June for the next 10 years for AU$40 million, involving a reconfiguration of the C1 satellite.

The deal will involve the upgrade of ground infrastructure at Optus' facilities in Belrose, New South Wales, and Lockridge, Western Australia, with Optus to continue operating and maintaining the satellite and its services.

Optus Business has this year also signed managed services deals with power utility Energy Australia, health services company Uniting, and travel agency Flight Centre, along with ANZ Bank last year.

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