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QBCC embraces the benefits of hybrid cloud

  • The Queensland Building and Construction Commission switched to a hybrid cloud model to help better utilise their data.
  • Due to QBCC’s constant state of change, it was essential that the right platforms were reliable, stable and allowed flexibility.
  • Though in its early days of implementation, it is seen as a real improvement in the eyes of staff.

To promote organisational flexibility, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission made the switch to a hybrid cloud solution. Find out how the project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.

As its traditional server hardware was approaching end-of-life last year, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission sensed an opportunity for customers and staff alike. 

Architect at construction site

To maximise its performance as a modern regulator, the commission was keen to better utilise data to enable it to adopt an insights-driven approach to its work.  

“That may include things such as helping to identify companies that are at future risk of insolvency or being able to identify top building defects throughout the state, for example,” says QBCC Chief Operating Officer Ben Ward.

“To get those types of insights, and also insights around how we can better regulate, we needed to have the right platforms in place to allow us to be innovative.” 

The QBCC settled on a hybrid cloud model that utilises multiple service providers. Reliability and stability were crucial considerations in choosing the new network model. 

Hybrid cloud was an ideal solution, as it provided the agility that QBCC required to meet upcoming business challenges, while minimising risk and remaining in control of its cloud assets. This assisted QBCC in maintaining compliance with industry regulations.

“One of our core purposes for the organisation is peace of mind, and to be a more trusted regulator in the industry, transparency is a key factor,” says QBCC Infrastructure Manager Krushal Shah. 

“To become a better regulator, we need to utilise data insights, have more effective regulatory processes in the organisation, and this can all be achieved by having the right platforms in place.”

Flexibility was also a key concern. Compared to a pure cloud platform, the hybrid model offered the advantage of allowing easy transitioning between suppliers. This leaves the commission well-placed to avoid vendor lock-in for when future disruptors come on the market.

“One of the other thought processes when we started talking about this is we’ve noticed the rate of change in the business has been a constant thing and that’s not going to go away anytime soon,” Shah says. 

Telstra worked to ensure data flexibility was a focus of the transition, as data fragmentation can be a potential consequence of the move to a hybrid cloud solution. This empowered QBCC to create the greatest value from its analytics insights, without compromising security or running into regulatory issues.

With Telstra as the curator of a consortium which brought together two vendors and multiple supporting partners, QBCC was able to reap the benefits of a deeper poll of experts and support mechanisms. 

“The solution was effectively designed with each and every vendor providing their area of expertise,” says Shah. “AWS provided us with the compute and the cloud platform, NetApp and Katana1 provided us with storage as a service solution and Idea11 was the integrator who actually implemented it.”

By taking a consortium approach, meanwhile, Telstra could take charge of actually choosing and managing the multiple firms, removing a potential headache for the regulator and retaining overall accountability for the project’s delivery.

“The consortium approach significantly reduced the vendor management as Telstra owned overall accountability of vendor deliverables and hence reduced project risks,” Shah says. “It also simplified the financial management with single-entity billing and tracking.” 

Scalability was another big draw of the hybrid cloud model.

“Cloud enables QBCC to quickly provision new environments, scale up and down to meet demand, remain flexible, improve the resilience, availability and performance of systems to customers and staff,” 

Ben Ward.

Representing a major cultural as well as technical shift, the transition was a highly complex undertaking on a number of levels. Despite this, it was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, largely thanks to the careful planning of the QBCC and the Telstra-created consortium.

Among other steps, the creation of an easily-digestible roadmap and the inclusion of staff in the process from the beginning stages contributed to an efficient implementation. To ensure minimal disruption for customers and staff, the transition work was carried out outside of office hours. 

“We regularly communicated with staff about what was going on and where we were up to,” says Ward. “We set realistic expectations with staff, and were transparent about the changes and improvements being made.” 

While the system is still in the early days of implementation, the initial signs are that it is a hit among staff. 

“On the ground, when you don’t hear from staff it’s a good thing,” says Ward. “When platforms are more reliable, and simply work, we tend to hear very few complaints.”

Telstra's vision for hybrid cloud goes beyond combining public and private cloud. Discover how low latency programmable networks and a virtualised IT eco-system can transform your business with Telstra's 2018 best practice guide to hybrid cloud.

Find out more

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