E-business boosts government coffers

Revenues are booming for New South Wales (NSW) state’s premier collection agency, which has had an 800 per cent growth in electronic business in the past 12 months.

To manage such huge increases and deliver a Web site with 24×7 availability, the NSW Office of State Revenue (OSR) consolidated its e-business network.

The OSR is responsible for revenue collection, administration of grants and subsidies, infringement processing and fines as well as providing services for tax professionals in areas such as land tax, contracts, conveyancing, payroll tax and fines.

In dollar figures Mike Kennedy, who is CIO of the office, said this translates to A$12 billion (US$8.6 billion) worth of transactions each year, of which A$7 billion is received electronically.

“Our Web site is in the top 20 government sites visited; at certain times of the year we move into the top 10 and at peak times, like Friday lunchtime, it puts a lot of stress on our network,” he said.

“Many people want to settle house purchases on a Friday afternoon so they can move in over the weekend; if those transactions don’t occur then those properties aren’t settled.”

Kennedy said the department’s electronic business had been supported by several networks with different operating systems and databases.

“It was difficult to manage, expensive to maintain and not a 100 per cent reliable; we needed to consolidate and simplify,” he said. Making the decision to upgrade, Nortel Networks and specialist integrator 3D Networks were appointed and stepped in to design and install an e-business network which was implemented in several stages and went live in July this year.

“It was amazingly complex work to move us from one network on to the next without our clients being aware of it,” Kennedy said.

The new network includes Nortel’s BayStack 450 switches, Alteon Web switches and Alteon switched firewalls as well as Nortel’s Network Passport 8600 switches in the core local area network and a fully redundant access point to OSR.

The Alteon products address application performance, traffic management and security while the 8600 is a chassis-based Ethernet switch supporting from eight to 128 Gigabit ports as well as connectivity for ATM, PoS and Wave Division Multiplexing technologies.

Kennedy said the upgrade has led to considerable savings over the old multiple network, which had 17 computer servers supporting its Web services.

That number has been reduced to seven, he said, creating savings in hardware costs, software licensing and day-to-day overheads.

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