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3 tech leaders reveal challenges amidst industry change: CeBIT panel

Jennifer O'Brien | June 5, 2017
ASX, IAG and MidCoast Water discuss ways to future-proof infrastructure for mobility and enterprise enablement.

She said she welcomes the introduction of a deregulated national required mandatory mobile roaming.

"It is done in Canada, in the US and New Zealand. That combination of geographic space and reduced numbers of people is a challenge. What we at MidCoast Water has historically done to deal with that is in putting in our infrastructure we installed a microwave wide area network, linking all of our 30 sites. And as much as we can, we put in a Wi-Fi network that we created ourselves, but, of course, it doesn't reach as far as it needs to."

One of the ways the company has dealt with that conundrum is by integrating mobile applications with its ERP system. "They work when in range, and when out of range, our field workers can still enter their data, but when they come back in-range, it gets uploaded."

And while there's a push towards the cloud in both the private and public sector, Avis said MidCoast Water needs to be cautious on this front.

"We can't move to the cloud. We have reinvested in our own infrastructure, our own datacentres, and while we would like to not have to do that, we are much more cautious," she said, adding the company sees a big opportunity in the area of software defined networking.

And the company does have a cloud plan. "We have cloud applications that we use selectively in the offices. What we are able to do is integrate the cloud applications with our backend systems through a login, so there is a degree of growing awareness of what could be done."

She also sees opportunity in the rollout of the nbn. "The nbn has begun in the area where we are so we are definitely looking at what that creates for us. We are going to have to be very brave as the nbn evolves. Brave and creative in how we use the nbn - and I think software defined networking, and the opportunities from that, are something that provides some creative gain."

Squire, meanwhile, admitted the ASX has been slow to adopt cloud - and for good reasons. "We are fairly immature in this space. Being the ASX we are very risk-averse. It took us 18 months to get our first app in AWS cloud - and the hardest piece was getting all of the internal stakeholders comfortable with what we were doing," she said.

"It was quite a small app compared to what other organisations have done in shifting all of their workloads. We were just shifting a small piece, but it was the effort involved in actually getting people comfortable from audit to compliance to security to insurance - and that was the piece that took 18 months. It was quite exhausting, but what we did was create a practice on how to classify data, determined a checklist and rules. So now we have a path forward and we can demonstrate that we have gone the whole way to production."


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