Australian police outsource software development

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is now seeking the services of specialist providers to undertake and assist its application development activities following its decision to establish a panel of general IT service providers earlier this year.

A panel of service providers will be used to provide project-based IT application development and associated services for specific jobs.

With application development traditionally performed in-house, the AFP will continue to undertake application development using existing resources, and will use service providers to undertake existing or new projects as required.

“Given the recent significant expansion of the AFP and the associated impact on IT services, it has been decided to outsource certain development activities to external service providers on an as required basis,” according to an AFP document.

The number of panel members will be limited to no more than eight.

The AFP’s preferred development environment is C# .Net, ASP .net, and WIN Forms, with Java and VB 6 its “legacy” languages.

The AFP’s IT environment consists of Dell desktops and notebooks with either Windows XP, Red Hat Linux or Debian Linux operating systems.

IT supports about 6500 staff throughout Australia and internationally.

Both IBM pSeries Unix servers and Dell PowerEdge Intel servers running Windows are used in the data centre.

Standard software applications include Microsoft Office 2003, SQL Server 2005, Oracle 9i and 10g, Windows Terminal Services, BizTalk Server, SharePoint 2003, and Citrix MetaFrame. Microsoft Exchange is used for messaging.

Other software in use is SAS for data mining and business intelligence, and ISYS for desktop searching. Document management is “under investigation”.

The AFP has a number of IT initiatives which are being considered for delivery by members of the panel, however, given the operational nature of the AFP, the IT project pipeline is “subject to change at relatively short notice”.

AFP IS expects to spend approximately A$84 million over the next four years on “operational application development”, which includes expenditure on both internal and external projects.

One initiative to be conducted under the panel arrangement is the replacement of the Police Realtime Online Management Information System (PROMIS) by Project Spectrum. PROMIS is designed to record and manage all AFP operations and operations support activity.

Project Spectrum will include a number of modules using the AFP standard interfacing tools and methodology for future growth, some of which will be bespoke development and others may be commercial products.

During the transition from PROMIS to Spectrum the legacy data will be migrated to the newer environment. Some development and integration activities will be conducted by in-house resources, and other work by members of the panel.

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