by Hamish Barwick

Travelling with IT

Jul 22, 20134 mins
Cloud ComputingNetworking

Being a technology enabler rather than an IT policeman is what Tourism Australia’s David Rumsey believes the CIO role is all about.

Rumsey is CIO of the national organisation which markets Australia locally and overseas. It provides a range of digital materials including images and video to the tourism industry.

“For me, it’s about enabling that effort so I need to be abreast of the latest technologies,” he told CIO Australia.

“I can’t sit back and go through the traditional service development life cycle. It’s all about how I can leverage this technology and deliver it quickly for the business.”

Rumsey said that he has a good working relationship with the company’s CMO, Nick Baker. If the CMO comes up with some “way out ideas”, Rumsey will tell him if it is possible and what technology can be used.

“We want to make sure that intellectual property is protected so if we develop a technical solution and we want to reuse it, we can do that in the future,” he said.

“That’s where the governance comes in. It’s not the policeman role, this is all about enablement.”

Prior to joining Tourism Australia in October 2011 he worked at Family Communities Service.

The biggest change for Rumsey has been the emphasis on social media and video, something that the tourism industry uses extensively.

“Facebook is all about getting people who have travelled to Australia to tell their story,” he said. “Consumers want to show their friends and family what they are doing so that is an advocacy piece which keeps up the awareness of Australia.”

  • Tapping into social experience: Tourism Australia
  • Changing times
  • Qantas flies with Akamai for website performance
  • Rumsey reports to an executive general manager for corporate services and to a board. His IT strategic plan is delivered to an audit and risk committee every year.

    Part of that plan has been managing the Best Jobs in the World campaign which ran from March to April 2013. Participants from around the world competed for a range of tourism jobs in Australia including park ranger and chief funster.

    Entrants had to submit a video explaining why they were the best person for the role.

    To ensure that the website didn’t crash as a result of all the video entries, Tourism Australia used content delivery networking (CDN) offerings from Akamai including Dynamic Site Accelerator and NetStorage.

    “Because Akamai’s solution is scalable we could do two things. First of all, we could offload traffic from our core servers because we didn’t want to be in a position where the website crashed,” he said. “We were also leveraging cloud services at the same time so we were minimising the risk.”

    Over 18 terabytes of data was received through Akamai’s CDN as a result of the campaign. According to Rumsey, there were no system outages during the process.

    “At the height of the campaign we were taking 500 video entries an hour. These videos went from a few megabytes right up to 150 megabytes for some of the HD video.”

    Now that the Best Jobs in the World campaign has finished, Rumsey is looking to replace the company’s legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, financial reporting, contract and procurement systems.

    “The ERP system was implemented seven years ago but we’re now at the point where to do a major upgrade will probably cost as much as a replacement system,” he said.

    “We’re also looking at implementing a digital assets management system which will help drive efficiencies in the way we store assets. There is a huge amount of image and video assets so we want to have a central system where people can access those assets quickly.”

    He added that Tourism Australia wants to leverage more cloud computing services in the future. It is currently undertaking a trial of Microsoft Office 365 and an upgrade of document management system SharePoint is underway.

    “Rather than making a big unified communications investment, I can leverage Lync online through Microsoft,” Rumsey said.

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