IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

3 data challenges of modernising government agencies

By Contributor
Fri 31 Jul 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by Hitachi Vantara A/NZ regional director Tony Whigham.

When COVID-19 hit, Australia’s public sector suddenly had to deal with the technology challenges of providing services through a pandemic, while in the midst of an amalgamation of agencies. 

Merging government departments were already facing three key data management challenges that now needed to be addressed in a totally new and unprecedented context. 

No matter which country you're in, the risk in making technology-related decisions in a crisis situation is that you opt for solutions that meet the requirements of the short term but leave you with new decisions and investments to make in order to meet long term requirements. 

From a technology perspective, the best-case scenario is to invest in the right solutions for now and set yourself up with infrastructure on which you can build. 

The merger mindset

Following a decision issued by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to reduce the number of departments and create a new structure “for greater collaboration on policy changes” and “to put Australians at the centre of government”, an amalgamation of departments was in progress as of February 2020. 

Key agencies were working through technology decisions that are typical of any kind of merger, such as considerations around data management, access, security, governance and storage requirements. They were identifying which technology systems to keep, what data to share with whom, how to integrate applications and where the gaps are, et cetera. 

You can imagine what it must have been like, then, when the impacts of COVID-19 began and newly-merged, key government agencies had to quickly equip a suddenly remote workforce. There’s been a lot to think about, but how they resolve each of the following data management challenges will dictate how effectively they can use their data to support continuous improvement to digital services and how resilient their systems will be as we head into a ‘new normal’.  

Underlying data management challenges: The data silo situation

It’s natural for people to feel ownership of the data sets they create, capture, store, protect and use. Time and time again we see that ‘owners’ of the data are reluctant to share it. There are many possible reasons for this, but ultimately it means that the holding of data in silos across an organisation or government is not just a technology or location issue, but also a cultural one. 

Modern data management calls for organisations to make sure the right people have the right access to the right data when and where they need it. Real-time access to data is necessary to support everything from crisis management through to business growth and innovation with analysis and actionable insights.  

Breaking down silos, particularly in a situation where agencies or companies are merging, starts with encouraging collaboration and creating an environment where people can see the value in sharing information. It’s not all about the technology, but providing the right tools and infrastructure to enable secure, timely access to relevant data in a way that people can actually understand it and use it, and base decisions and actions on it, must go hand in hand with the cultural change. 

Everyone’s favourite: unstructured data

Yes, the amount of data – or “big data” – is a challenge, but a pressing issue is that most data is still stored as unstructured data, and that means it is not usable. 

However, if – for example - ministerial staff can interrogate data from social media feeds to determine how the political landscape is interpreting and reacting to their latest messaging in real-time, they can be much more effective advisers. If agencies can efficiently process and analyse information from their constituencies to identify trends they can highlight emerging preferences or pinpoint high needs areas in a timely manner. 

The unstructured data that government agencies collect and generate is growing at an exponential rate but it can be quite useful if harnessed. That requires the data to be assessed, catalogued, identified with metadata and stored in such a way that it is accessible. 

Avoiding the big-budget project by maximising what you have

Of course, across the amalgamated agencies there is a massive investment in existing infrastructure, and therefore a great desire to maximise that investment especially while there is still return on investment to get out of the systems and legacy infrastructure. 

At the same time, they do need to consider storage and data management and performance improvement options that will keep pace with changing data analytics, application and workload requirements. 

High-performance object storage has an increasingly significant role to play as cost-effective and scalable support for these requirements. From an infrastructure management point of view, the right virtual storage platform (VSP) will integrate with, manage and maximise your existing environment, giving a performance boost to your legacy systems as well as the object storage.


The smartest technology decision-makers make sure they are considering their plans for the future even as they make decisions to deal with the challenge of the day. How do you do that? 

Invest in solutions that do what infrastructure is supposed to do – shore up what you already have to provide you with a strengthened, modernised base on which to build. 

Work with technology partners that are partnering together, themselves, so that they can bring you future-proofed infrastructure and platforms. Interrogate them on those promises. Insist on solutions with a future, that can be consumed and grown at your business’s pace.

Using data to assert relevance 

This brings us to the third underlying data challenge: finding business value in the data to remain relevant or competitive in your market. 

We often talk to private sector organisations about finding the value in, or “monetising”, their data. While that may initially feel like a more commercial approach than a government agency may be inclined to take, the service-focused public sector needs to stay relevant and effective and it is critical that they can find value in their data. 

Digitisation can have a downside to traditional government departments because in some cases the data over which they used to be sole custodians becomes more easily obtained by and shared with others who can manipulate, interrogate and use it to create products and services based on it. 

To continue providing valuable services to constituents and assert their relevance, some agencies need to find new ways to leverage the data they collect, have access to or generate. That can be done by collaborating with institutions, researchers and innovative application developers to package the data and related services, differently. 

In order to do this successfully, they will need to take control of their unstructured data and get better at sharing their data internally. 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Infoblox's State of Security Report spotlights Australian remote work hazards
Attackers exploit weak WiFi, remote endpoints, and the cloud, costing 50% of organisations over $1.3 million in breach damages.
Story image
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Lightspeed launches all-in-one marketing platform in A/NZ
ECommerce provider, Lightspeed has launched a new all-in-one marketing solution, Lightspeed Marketing & Loyalty in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Zendesk announces new conversational CRM solutions
“The last few years have made it obvious that digital is the front door, convenience is paramount and relationships are anchored in conversations."
Story image
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Data solutions
South Australia state satellite makes significant progress
South Australia’s first state satellite has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR), moving it closer to providing tangible data solutions.
Story image
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
Revenue operations is taking centre stage
As the business world continues to evolve, new demands need to be met to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. 
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The Huawei APAC conference kicks off with digital transformation
More than 1500 people from across APAC have gathered for the Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress to explore the future of digital innovation.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Airwallex launches new bank feed integration with NetSuite
Airwallex has launched a new bank feed integration with NetSuite, developed in partnership with NetSuite solution partner, Onlineone.
Story image
9/10 Aussies to stop spending if personal data compromised
"Based on the patterns we are seeing among Australian consumers, it is evident that trust in a brand is exceptionally important."
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Nutanix study reveals financial services sector lagging with multicloud adoption
Nutanix has released new research that reveals the financial services sector is lagging behind when it comes to multicloud adoption.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS announces new products amid cloud portfolio success
Analytics and AI company SAS is deepening its broad industry portfolio with offerings that support life sciences, energy, and martech.
Story image
New Relic enters multi-year partnership with Microsoft Azure
New Relic has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to help enterprises accelerate cloud migration and multi-cloud initiatives. 
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
Telstra enters into new RSP agreement with Opticomm
Telstra has entered into an RSP agreement with Opticomm (A Uniti Group Limited subsidiary) to provide network fibre services to customers.
Story image
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Remote Working
Australia’s remote workers face connectivity and security issues
SOTI's new report finds better video conferencing technology and improved security measures are top concerns for remote workers in Australia.
Story image
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware.