The Prime Minister and Minister Responsible for the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC), the Honourable Mark Brown, was pleased to open the government’s new and improved Information Communication Technology (ICT) facility last Friday, located within the OPM complex.
The new building has substantially increased the space available to the government’s ICT Division, which is currently staffed by a director and six technicians who support more than 2000 public sector employees from 41 different agencies and departments.
“While we have plans for significant investment in our ICT infrastructure in future, an immediate shorter-term solution was needed to give our team the space and resources they require with as quick a turnaround as possible,” said Prime Minister Brown.
“I have to say I am very impressed with what has been achieved in such a short time and I would like to thank all those involved in the planning, construction and outfitting of this excellent new facility.”
Previously, the ICT Division occupied a shared area alongside several other OPM divisions. This arrangement was not fit for purpose, was often prone to congestion, and lacked sufficient space for a back-up power supply to reduce the impact power outages have on the ICT network.
The new facility addresses all of these issues, creating a dedicated and much larger space for ICT Division staff to work in, a separate server room and storage area, and a Powerwall battery storage system to provide backup in case of power outage.
The facility was built utilising repurposed insulated wall panels and steel trusses from the Te Mato Vai compound. These panels and trusses belong to the government, under CIIC’s control, and therefore had no associated costs.
Accordingly, the construction budget for the new ICT facility was estimated at $100,000, which covered the cost of a new raised floor, ceilings, roof, end and partition walls, electrical work, air conditioning and other fit-out costs.
The project was funded by the Government IT Network capital budget allocated to OPM in 2020/21 and the Government Buildings budget allocated to CIIC in 2021/22.
CIIC was responsible for project management, including managing the procurement process and acting as the contracting party for contracted works and material purchases. The contractor engaged was Siteworx.
As referred to by the Prime Minister, this new ICT facility is part of a larger planned upgrade to government’s overall ICT capabilities during this current year to accommodate continuously growing and evolving demand. This includes a major server upgrade planned for 2021/22, with $1.6 million worth of new hardware and software to be installed.
In the medium term, a centralised government facility planned at Vaikapuangi will house the ICT office and server facility, a move which is expected to yield significant technological benefits and cost synergies across the whole of government.