The Victorian government no longer struggles to capture the intelligence from the conversations it has with the 12,000 businesses that exist in the state since implementing its global engagement management system (GEMS).
Speaking at the Criterion's "Transitioning to ICT as a service" conference on Wednesday, Grantly Mailes, Victoria government chief technology advocate, deputy secretary at the Department of Business and Innovation, explained that the government teamed up with Salesforce in 2009 to take advantage of the as-a-service benefits.
"The joy of a scalable platform allowed us to increase what we did with it. So through these business engagements, it gave us opportunities, whether it was to reduce regulation, or opportunities to talk to the skills guys about what needed to change. We call these things opportunities, and we needed to track them," he said.
Other benefits that Mailes said the government has seen as a result of moving to the cloud have been arbitrage, as well as the ability to increase speed to market and time to value.
He also highlighted that while the basic user group of GEMS is approximately 400 to 500 people per day, the as-a-service aspect of the system enables the government to scale up and down, and be able to accommodate up to 2,000 users, if needed, on various screen sizes at different times.
Mailes added that adopting GEMS has enabled the government to make a 40 percent saving from the initial quote that the state government received from a traditional build of a similar system, which was equivalent to "millions of dollars".
"We saved money first up, and every time we added a collection of users, we saved even more," he said.
According to Mailes, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Department of Health, and the Department of Arts are some of the government agencies using GEMS for the management of such activities as government grants, events, stakeholder engagements, hospitality, and contacts.
"We started with conversations, and we've been able to scale it out since," he said.
But the introduction of GEMS was not completely smooth sailing. One downside that Mailes recognised during the early days, and one that the government struggled with, was not paying enough attention to the user interface of GEMS. However, he said, "we're very good at it now".
Mailes said the Victorian government is looking to using GEMS for record management to break the problem it's facing with its existing file sync and share system.