A cloud-first approach helps the Murray–Darling Basin Authority execute a regionalisation strategy – Microsoft Australia News Centre | #firefox | #chrome | #microsoftedge

There is no denying that the Murray–Darling Basin is an Australian icon. However, its vastness means many people don’t know just how important it is to the nation’s environment, culture and economy.

Encompassing most of NSW, half of Victoria, some of southern Queensland and South Australia, and all of the Australian Capital Territory, the basin covers one-seventh of Australia’s landmass. It carries vital water supplies through a system of interconnected rivers and lakes that include 16 different wetlands.

More than 2.2 million people live in the basin, which includes the lands of 40 First Nations groups. It is also home to 35 endangered species. Roughly 40 per cent of Australia’s agricultural produce is sourced from the region, and it generates A$8 billion per year from tourism.

Managing a complex system involving several state governments and a wide range of industries and communities is not easy, and that’s where the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) comes in.

The MDBA is an independent government agency which, in partnership with Basin governments, manages the Murray–Darling Basin’s water resources in the national interest. The MDBA is responsible for implementing the Basin Plan and running the River Murray on behalf of Basin states, under the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement. It aims to achieve a healthy, working Basin for the benefit of all Australians.

In early 2019, the Australian Government announced that around a third of the 300-strong team at the MDBA would be relocated to regional areas in the basin. At the time, most employees were based at head office in Canberra (ACT), and a small number were working in regional offices in Adelaide (South Australia), Toowoomba and Goondiwindi (Queensland), and Wodonga (Victoria). Since then, the MDBA has established a presence in Murray Bridge (South Australia), Mildura (Victoria) and Griffith (NSW).

But, just like the rivers and lakes that feed into the basin, the MDBA needed to ensure that staff remained connected, and that information continued to flow effectively throughout the organisation. According to Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer Rod Barlow, the MDBA’s regionalisation process was the catalyst for transforming its ICT infrastructure and data strategy.

“The backdrop was that – at that time – we already had ageing infrastructure and applications, and natural caps on storage space,” he says.

“So, what we had to do was implement modern collaboration platforms. We had to uplift our IT service management, which we did, and we had to implement new platforms and infrastructure. Therefore, cloud became a priority within the strategy.

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