Service NSW upgrades and secures its customer services with a flexible cloud solution by Versent.

Service NSW upgrades and secures its customer services with a flexible cloud solution by Versent.

Service NSW (SNSW) is the New South Wales government agency that provides the state’s citizens with various services, from drivers’ licenses to business certifications and COVID-19 information.

SNSW’s services include a customer-friendly government web portal, citizen identity and digital licensing platform, service centres that can carry out multiple customer transactions, & mobile applications that provide real-time information as customers need it.  

SNSW offers citizen-based services provided through a customer identity digital platform. Currently, SNSW has more than five million users registered on its portal. Due to this program’s success, many customers have increased their uptake of the services they can consume from the NSW government agency. Some of these services include the following:      

  • Booking a driver’s licence test with Roads and Maritime Services.     
  • COVID-19 QR code check-in and contact tracing.     
  • Applying for a Seniors Card.    
  • Applying for Active Kids and Creative Kids vouchers.      
  • Dine and Discover vouchers. 
  • Obtaining certifications, including:  
  • Working with Children Check.      
  • Responsible Service of Alcohol certification.      
  • Digital Drivers’ Licence transactions. 

The digital challenges faced by SNSW.      

The NSW government operated across several individual web portals and backend systems, with limited integration abilities and multiple usernames and passwords for its citizens across its agencies and services.   

SNSW needed a digital strategy to connect its various processes and platforms, creating a seamless customer experience while ensuring customer data was handled securely and in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles. In addition, it needed to provide a platform for the reuse of compliance and proof of identity transactions across agencies which would reduce the time required for individuals and small businesses to interact with the NSW government.    

A key aspect of SNSW was that various departments and agencies required citizens to use multiple methods of identification to access information and services securely. To accommodate this, the portal needed to be integrated with the NSW’s customer servicing platform.      

SNSW needed the customer servicing platform to act as a single, central source that could interact with other government agencies’ existing systems, with appropriate citizen data access controls.  SNSW aimed to make it easier for people and businesses in NSW to access their platforms with ‘Tell us Once’ and ‘Single View of Government’ capabilities. 

The rapid uptake of SNSW services by citizens highlighted the challenges of scaling quickly in a traditional data centre, adversely impacting customer experience.

While its legacy solutions were well-architected, SNSW’s lack of on-demand, scalable infrastructure impaired service delivery. Infrastructure costs increased quickly with the addition of extra server capacity for their growing development and production environments.      

Without the ability to “switch things off” when not in use, SNSW foresaw that their data centre costs would keep on increasing rapidly. The inability to right-size bandwidth to citizen demand was degrading services to the people of NSW.  

Versent’s digital solution for SNSW.  

Versent prioritised and addressed SNSW’s digital challenges with rapid or transformed migration, depending on their potential to be automated and their importance to the business.  

The new AWS environment Versent created provided the foundations for SNSW’s services to scale automatically based on customer load. The AWS environment also has the capacity to repair itself if a server degrades.  

Versent simplified the user access systems to provide SNSW customers with a more straightforward and secure sign-in process.  

Some of the AWS services leveraged when implementing this solution were:      

  • AD Connector.      
  • Certificate Manager.    
  • CloudFormation.      
  • CloudFront.      
  • Direct Connect.      
  • EC2.      
  • ECS.
  • GuardDuty.      
  • RDS (for Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL).      
  • Route53.      
  • Systems Manager.      
  • Workspaces.          

Benefits from the SNSW digital transformation with Versent. 

SNSW is now reaping the benefits of their Versent-designed AWS strategy. During the initial phase of the implementation, the SNSW and Versent teams collaboratively migrated the following services into AWS:      

  • Identity & access management.     
  • APIs.      
  • Security workloads.      
  • Active Directory.      
  • Microsoft Windows Workloads.      
  • Microsoft SQL Server Workloads.      
  • Non-production environments.   

“Moving to a ‘self-service-on demand’ delivery model for base platform loads has enabled platform teams more time to drive enhancements and innovation in this space. Rather than repetitive builds where base environment builds were 3-5 days, they are now completed in about forty-five minutes.”

Ben McMullen, CIO Service NSW, 2018.

By selectively transforming appropriate workloads and rapidly migrating others, Versent’s team ensured the migration finished on time while moving critical services to an optimised state.

“Right-sizing and self-service through more effective technology choices to better support our product teams, agile delivery of environments – base servers, applications and configuration – has all but eliminated blockers for product teams.”

Colin Jones, CTO Service NSW, 2018.      

Some measurable enhancements delivered by the SNSW cloud transformation include:      

  • SNSW workloads transformed to achieve a TCO reduction.      
  • TCO reduction in migrated workloads allowed the SNSW team to move from baseline infrastructure management to proactive improvement of its platform.       
  • Projects able to deliver more quickly with immediate access to infrastructure resources.      
  • Automation delivers application changes with less risk and reduced implementation time.  
  • Technical debt and software issues substantially reduced.      
  • Improved ability to support the fast-moving SNSW application portfolio.       

The SNSW migrated workloads are operating at a significant cost reduction and benefiting from the AWS environment’s flexibility and resilience.   

The SNSW security platform is estimated to cost 25% less to operate in its transformed state.  
 
The impact on staff engagement was monitored during the project. SNSW staff moved from responding to incidents reactively to being able to focus on proactive improvement of the environment.   

Versent transformed or replaced SNSW’s migrated workloads to reduce the total cost of ownership. Versent achieved this by implementing and optimising AWS services such as managed databases, Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and serverless computing.  

SNSW now has the tools they need to rapidly deliver secure digital services to the citizens of New South Wales.