Although chief information officer Kelvin McGrath is intent on retaining a service desk in-house – which will handle incident, problem and change management – the bulk of the information systems used in the company will be provided by Fujitsu in the future. He said that staff would have to wait until 2013 to find out their fate, but added that in the meantime staff would be provided with a range of professional development opportunities.
Mr McGrath joined the company in 2010 from Boral as the merged business’s first CIO just before the current CEO John Mullen was appointed.
Asciano was formed five years ago from the merger of Pacific National and Patricks. Mr Mullen has been attempting to overhaul the culture of the organisation to create a more cohesive entity, and is also intent on using industrial technology to improve productivity.
In 2005 the company (then Patricks) introduced unmanned automatic technology able to perform stevedoring tasks in Brisbane, and has now signalled it plans to roll out similar technology in Sydney.
Mr McGrath said that on joining the company he used the Cobit framework to audit and assess the company’s existing information systems and then set about determining what would be needed for the future. He said that the information systems of the two companies which merged to form Asciano could not have been more different from a technology standpoint – one on thin clients, one on thick; one a Lotus Notes shop, the other using Microsoft Exchange.
Over the next 18 months Fujitsu will work with Asciano to overhaul its information systems. A pilot involving 200 employees is scheduled to go live in November, with progressive rollout to follow.
As part of the overhaul Asciano plans to extensively virtualise its environment which will reduce its environmental footprint according to Mr McGrath. Fujitsu will supply a range of cloud services including desktop infrastructure using Microsoft Exchange and Office, messaging collaboration, unified communication and database services.
The company has also signalled that it will undertake a “major database implementation” in 2013 which will allow it to then upgrade its transport management system used in the rail division, and the operating management system used in the ports division.
The value of the five year deal with Fujitsu has not been revealed.
Asciano has also consolidated with Telstra its wide and local area networks.
Image credit: Asciano