Australian Department of Human Services deploys Windows 10

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 16 November 2016
Australian Department of Human Services deploys Windows 10

The Australian Department of Human Services (DHS) has successfully deployed Windows 10 to its 35,000 employees in less than one year.

In a country the size of Australia, many citizens who live in remote and indigenous communities may have to travel in excess of 180 miles to access disability or employment support. This led to the DHS looking for a way to deliver these services in a more innovative way.

The organisation turned to Microsoft, and worked with the Windows team and Microsoft Consulting Services to upgrade 44,000 existing and new devices to Windows 10 enterprise in just four months.

The move represents the largest commercial deployment of Windows 10 in the Asia-Pacific region to date.

“Our last operating system upgrade of desktops and devices, took us almost three years,” said Mike Brett, general manager of ICT Infrastructure at DHS. “Upgrading to Windows 10 Enterprise proved surprisingly straightforward. By using Windows 10 in-place upgrades we started initially running 20,000 Windows 10 devices in just five weeks.”

As part of the upgrade, DHS wanted its employees to be able to conduct interview video calls with citizens regardless of their location. To enable this, a universal Windows 10 line of business app was created. A pilot program on Windows 10, known as ‘Express Plus Connect’ (EPC), which can be opened on any connected Windows 10 PC on the DHS network. The program allows employees to set up video calls, schedule appointments and generate reports.

“Previously, assessors would schedule back-to-back interviews for a specific day, then travel 200-300 kilometres inland,” said Kylie Martin, service centre manager for the Charters Towers Service Center, Indigenous, Regional, and Intensive Services Division at DHS. “The early pilot results in Queensland show assessors can proceed with a claim as soon as the customer reports a problem. And they aren’t just reacting more quickly, they are taking on more cases because they don’t have to arrange travel around each appointment. With EPC, people in rural places are starting to experience the same quality of service as we provide in big cities.”

Furthermore, DHS is also leveraging Cortana Intelligence and is using machine learning and cognitive services. This will help build expert systems that empower employees, allowing them to respond faster and more effectively to citizen queries.

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