Digital transformation to give ADF competitive warfare edge


To gain a competitive advantage in the information age the Australian Defence Force will have to undergo a complete culture change in the way it approaches digital and information technology.

It will be the single most important transformation the defence force will have to undertake to make headway into developing a more effective intergrated IT management system, CeBIT speaker Mohan Aiyaswami, Chief Technology Officer, ADF says.

He further says: you can provide all of the most up to date information, applications and cognitive computing in the world… but it’s the dialog that has to change.

Investment in information over infrastructure has taken priority after recommendations were presented in the 2016 Defence White Paper. The paper states information is one of the key elements of investment needed to deliver and sustain Australia’s defence capabilities. And for the first time an integrated approach will be taken to deliver the most up to date and accurate information to defence personnel in all branches of the military. 

According to Mr Aiyaswami, the focus and future of IT is crucial to offset the relatively small size of the ADF to enable a competitive war fighting advantage. This means the war fighter must be armed with common battle space awareness and information through integrated and interoperable information. And they need access quickly.

The new integrated system will underpin the next generation of C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems and link sensors and weapons platforms. Mr Aiyaswami says this is critical to enable the organisation to make informed decisions, measure performance, provide timely, credible, traceable and relevant information, and support force-wide processes.

Not an easy task considering currently 30 or so separate systems are being used to communication with defence personnel. The entire defence eco system will now move to a completely digital platform with streamlined processes, improved security, ease of access to relevant information and many more advantages for users.

But still, Mr Aiyaswami says without the cultural change nothing can move forward. For example, the words business requirements needs to change to information requirements. It’s these tweaks that will make the service delivery more efficient and effective.

In his words: We need to change the way we think and speak about information technology and that’s going to be a massive journey.