Microsoft and HP consortium in NI E-government deal


21 Jul 2004

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A consortium made up of Hewlett-Packard (HP), Microsoft Ireland and Belfast-based technology solutions provider BIC Systems has just completed the opening stages of a major information technology project for the Business Development Service (BDS), an executive agency of the Northern Ireland Department of Finance & Personnel.

The project is aimed at streamlining communications between the 11 government departments through a major upgrade of their technology infrastructure. It has been driven by the UK government’s initiative to make all government services more accessible to the public through the use of the internet.

“An important part of our strategic plan over the next three years is to support the roll out of e-government services in Northern Ireland. We are dedicated to the use and implementation of modern technology systems and functionality to achieve this objective,” said Barry Lowry, head of corporate services, Business Development Service.

“Upgrading our existing IT infrastructure, with the help of our technology partners, is a hugely significant step in this plan, which will result in improvement in the delivery of e-government services to citizens in Northern Ireland,” Lowry said.

The project involves the development of a framework for using Microsoft’s latest operating System Windows Server 2003 in a standard way across all government departments and related public sector bodies. To date, each organisation has operated its own platform, with departments using a range of different versions, limiting integration.

The opening stage of the project involved the upgrade of the centralised infrastructure at BDS. The next stages involve the design and implementation of the operating environment for each of the 11 government departments.

The key technologies that will be deployed include Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft Windows Server 2003. The consortium will provide ongoing consultancy and support over the course of the project.

By John Kennedy