The Australian Fisheries Management Authority: Calling in the Cloud

Working on the go, with voice and cloud collaboration from the convenience of a laptop.

February 11, 2020

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The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), is the Australian Government agency responsible for the efficient management and sustainable use of Commonwealth fish resources and needed to replace its outdated technology infrastructure with a new solution that facilitates both internal and external collaboration and better fits the needs of a mobile workforce.

Key issues

  • AFMA’s 180 staff are spread across four offices around Australia, and had no flexible tools for collaboration, which required regional staff to fly to the Canberra head office whenever they had an important meeting. Worse still, an average of 4.7 tropical cyclones hit the Queensland region each year, usually knocking AFMA’s Thursday Island and at times Darwin offices completely offline cutting them off from the rest of the agency.
  • AFMA needed a new mobility solution that could be used with the existing subscription to Microsoft Office 365 and Azure cloud connection.
  • AFMA were preparing to relocate their Canberra head office to new premises and they hoped to leave their outdated private automated branch exchange system (PABX) behind.

Solution

Telstra proposed a solution based on Telstra Calling for Office 365 (TCO365) that could leverage AFMA's existing Office 365 cloud strategy and infrastructure, as well as build on staff’s existing familiarity of Skype Instant Messaging. TCO365 helps unify AFMA's workplaces under Microsoft Teams with standardised cloud-based calling and collaboration tools.

As part of the process we:

  • Thanks to Telstra Calling for Office 365, AFMA had laptop-based replacements for their PABX system - with online IP-based telephony for making and receiving audio or video calls.
  • The project was delivered to all Canberra staff by the end of November 2018, with all remote offices successfully migrated by February 2019.

Outcome

"I guess the underlying advantage of TCO365 was that none of our phone numbers changed," said David Newton, AFMA Senior Network Engineer, "so we didn't have to reprint thousands of business cards. I didn't have to redo phone directories or anything."

It also made a big difference to how the team can collaborate. Previously, they'd had to fit out meeting rooms with TV monitors and special videoconferencing equipment. and people had to pre-book these rooms to make sure they'd be available. TCO365 helps do these functions straight from laptops and invite external stakeholders not in the secure environment into virtual meetings on the fly.

Lessons learnt along the way

“Telstra Calling for Office 365 has helped AFMA's staff to be mobile, and to collaborate remotely reducing the need to fly interstate for meetings. AFMA now use the same platform and have access to the same set of tools regardless of their location,” says Michael Roses, AFMA CIO.
  • Telstra Calling for Office 365 helps to give workers more flexibility and freedom to work in other locations - as long as they have a connection to the Internet.
  • AFMA was able to replace its expensive, outdated and unreliable infrastructure, that required specialist knowledge to manage, with a modern, flexible and easy-to-use solution.
  • Arranging and managing meetings is simple with Teams calling. 
“You can call other people into the meeting on the fly, just by clicking a button,” said David Newton, “instead of having to hunt around the office to find them [and] without having to all centrally locate.”