Azure migration digitises pesticides and veterinary authority in Australia

Digital transformation key to record keeping and remote working

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has work with integrator DXC to complete its migration to Azure cloud. This advances its digitisation of analogue records.

Besides managing the cloud transition and deploying cloud-based applications including Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365, DXC will also provide the APVMA with a range of managed IT services allowing it to focus on its core purpose as a regulator.

At the same time as it manages this task, the APVMA has been undertaking an organisational and technology transformation – moving the majority of its operations from Canberra to Armidale in NSW and also shifting information systems from on–premise data centres to the cloud.

The migration is part of the APVMA’s Enabling Technology program, which outlines the roadmap for transforming the organisation into a digitally enabled regulator by 2022. First step to this, is a migration out of third–party managed data centres and into the cloud for platform as a service (PaaS), backup as a service (BaaS) and security as a service.

Bob Smith executive director service improvement and integration key said, the APVMA is moving from what was largely a paper-based organisation to digitising 167,000 files.

“At the same time, the APVMA is ensuring that personnel have access to a highly mobile platform with integrated communication and collaboration,” he said. “The file digitisation is scheduled to be completed by September 2021, with all information loaded into the APVMA’s electronic document management system for ease of access.”

Smith said the relocation to Armidale delivered the ideal trigger for the modernisation of the APVMA’s infrastructure and to prepare it to become more of an online, rather than paper-based, operation.

While the modernisation program is still mid-stream, it was sufficiently advanced to be able to support the APVMA’s staff when they needed to pivot to online working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Smith.

“We moved away from desktops in the first place, migrated everybody onto laptops as stage one, bringing on Skype for Business and getting our people to utilise the digitised files that are already available in the system,” he said. “Allowing scientists and regulators to simultaneously access and review those documents when performing an assessment.”

The APVMA said it’s an important consideration for a regionally based authority where some staff live outside of Armidale itself, and others are still based in Canberra; the ability to work in virtual teams may help reduce the need for as much staff travel. The move to the cloud means that wherever people are located they will have access to the same applications, performance, and security.

Smith said the organisation was able to pivot quickly as COVID-19 lockdown required staff to work from home.

“When the move to home-based working was implemented, the APVMA was only part way through its cloud migration,” he said. “Personnel have been able to use Skype for Business to communicate and collaborate – especially important given the shift to home-based working. When the transition is completed the APVMA will have an E5 licence for Microsoft 365 and access to Teams for all staff.”

It is also working with DXC on implementing Dynamics 365 to manage workflow and provide an enterprise CRM slated for completion later this year. Customer engagement is a priority for the organisation as it interacts with companies developing pesticides and veterinary medicines for the Australian market.

The APVMA assesses the potential impact of pesticides and veterinary medicines on humans, livestock and domestic animals, plants, foods and the environment before it issues a registration number and authorises their distribution and use in Australia.





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