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Sharing data securely to coordinate critical government responses

In today’s interconnected world, collaboration within and between organisations is increasingly important.

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Description

In today’s interconnected world, collaboration within and between organisations is increasingly
important. In Brooke’s client, a critical services government agency, co-ordinated action across
sub-agencies can mean the difference between life and death.

The agency needed to improve integration and data exchange through a Whole of Sector
approach, but each sub-agency was under pressure to meet their own immediate needs. Brooke
was engaged to determine the data sharing requirements across the sector, identify possible
solutions and recommend the preferred approach – quickly.

The Problem

Brooke helped agency executives align around the underlying problem to be solved. Like many
sectors, integration capabilities between core systems had evolved over time. As a result,
systems were at different levels of technological maturity and at different life cycle stages, with
several key systems at end-of-life. Systems were integrated with tightly coupled point-to-point connections. Differing sub-agency approaches to cybersecurity added even more complexity to
the integration landscape.

Some of the impacts experienced include:

  • A lack of interoperability of data across the sector, with critical response data mostly
    shared through voice communication, which is prone to errors of interpretation and recall
  • Data was difficult to access and analyse in a timely manner, impacting proactive resource
    deployment
  • Coordination of system upgrades across the integrated network was complicated by
    differing sub-agency timelines and priorities
  • Point-to-point connections were dampening innovation across the sector
  • The above resulted in duplication of effort and cost in maintaining and upgrading the point-to-point connections

These integration problems were impacting service responsiveness, with life-or-death consequences, in a
context where demand was increasing driven by population growth and climate change.

Thinking Differently

Brooke supported executive stakeholders to align around the problem and the case for action. Our team
facilitated development of an overarching outcome statement for the sector, to “be able to securely share data to proactively deploy resources and respond in a co-ordinated fashion”.

Defining this as the outcome meant that the integration solution must be able to adapt and scale in line with changes in demand and the evolving technological maturity of each sub-agency. The executive team
defined a detailed set of success criteria for the future solution.

From a technology perspective, the key stumbling block to finding a viable Whole of Sector solution had been the requirement that it achieve 99.999% availability. Brooke helped the executive team to establish
a grounded definition of what this requirement means in practice and what it would take to achieve
it, given the variation in technology maturity across the sector. This led to the insight that while high
availability was important, it was redundancy and reliability that were critical.

Once the requirements were agreed, Brooke assessed the best performing technology options, and
developed a target architecture and implementation roadmap. The target architecture included MuleSoft Anypoint Platform as the core workflow engine and API platform.

Meaningful Results

Brooke’s approach to solving complex problems helped the agency break through the intractable issue of
how to share data given a complex landscape of technologies of different maturities. And we did it fast –
the entire project was completed in 10 weeks.

Importantly, the quantum leap that the agency was supported to make was done collaboratively, which
ensured that executive stakeholders held a deep understanding of the underlying problem, what success
looks like, the preferred solution and the roadmap to achieving it. It enabled the executive to talk with a
single voice about the road to future success.

In an environment where funding is always scarce and expedience is the rule, this level of insight, foresight and sector-wide alignment is considered invaluable by the agency.

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