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Maori social organisation aims high in ICT service provision

Sathya Mithra Ashok | March 26, 2014
Te Rūnanga ō Kirikiriroa (TROK) was established as the Urban Māori Authority for Kirikiriroa, in Hamilton, in the mid 1980s, under the guidance of the late Maori Queen Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu and Mayor Sir Ross Jansen.

Te Rknanga M Kirikiriroa (TROK) was established as the Urban Mori Authority for Kirikiriroa in Hamilton, in the mid 1980s, under the guidance of the late Maori Queen Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu and Mayor Sir Ross Jansen.

With around 150 staff powering it, TROK is recognised as a significant voice for Maori and Pacific Island people, offering them services around social, health and wellbeing needs. It also interacts and works with 60 other smaller organisations in the social services sector.

It will thus come as a complete surprise that the entire IT team of the organisation is just two people.

"I am the solutions architect, I design and identify solutions, and my colleague implements them. What the two of us do, companies usually hire eight people to do. But the technology available today, and the entire cloud play, makes IT much simpler for us. We also use external service partners when necessary, which also makes life simpler," says Roland Francis, technology specialist at TROK.

Nevertheless, the two cover a whole lot of ground. They support all of the in-house staff, and also two data centres in Auckland and Christchurch. External partners usually help the team with IT procurement, and step in to provide secondary support especially when staff are working offsite.

"We hire racks with Vocus for our data centres. The one in Auckland is our primary data centre and Christchurch is our disaster recovery one. We have almost real-time replication between the two and, short of three minutes, whatever happens in the Auckland data centre can be found in the Christchurch one," says Francis.

Most of the infrastructure is HP-based, and the team provides mobile devices and tablets to staff when they are offsite to minimise security issues.

The IT team also works with the 60 other smaller organisations, helping them identify and implement solutions to services they need or problems that need resolution.

The lure of video conferencing

Francis initially started working with TROK when he was working with one of their external ICT suppliers, and it was in this role that he got their set of requirements for reducing travel, improving ability to liaise with people around the world and to share documents across calls.

After considering solutions from big weights such as Polycom and LIfesize, Francis recommended Starleaf as the ideal fit.

"My recommendation to TROK was to pick Starleaf because it was Web-based and could talk with multiple end-devices.

"Other factors that influenced my decision was the cost per user for the endpoint licensing and the simplicity of being able to log into the management console from anywhere in the world, and change and add elements as you wish.


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