Stats NZ shaken but not rolled by quake

Published on the 19/06/2017 | Written by Fujitsu

NZ Census
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  • Public Sector


  • Modern virtual desktop environment
  • Seamless user experience
  • Organisational agility and elasticity


  • Fujitsu GoDaaS (built on the Citrix virtual desktop suite comprising XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, Workspace Suite, NetScaler and Citrix ShareFile)


  • Staff can work from anywhere on any device
  • Demand can be scaled up and down to meet project demands, the most extreme being the five yearly Census in which thousands of devices are needed for a short period of time
  • Statistics NZ experts can work alongside the businesses they support, with full access to their desktops


W: Fujitsu website
T: Auck: +64 9 358 9720 Wtgn: +64 4 495 0700

Government Desktop-as-a-Service accelerates earthquake recovery…

Statistics NZ fast-tracked deployment of Fujitsu’s Government Desktop-as-a-Service (GoDaaS) to enable secure access to critical applications for thousands of users in Wellington’s post-Kaikoura earthquake recovery.

Statistics New Zealand’s purpose is to enable smarter decision-making by adding value to New Zealand’s most important data. The organisation aims to increase the value of data ten-fold in the next 15 years, requiring focused and coordinated effort across the data ecosystem. Building strong relationships with suppliers, stakeholders, and customers is the foundation of how it will ensure the availability of data and statistics for decision-makers, policy-writers, Mãori and iwi, businesses, community groups, and individuals.

After remodelling its offices to create a dynamic workplace and selecting technology to free its users from their desks and devices, Statistics NZ was about to start the deployment when disaster struck. A major earthquake destroyed its head office, and cut off access to IT systems.

Statistics New Zealand is undergoing a significant transformation: from an agency that collects statistics, to a provider of vast amounts of real-time data. Its vision is to unleash the power of data to change lives. This required a new way of working, moving from a desk-bound culture to an activity-based working environment. It knew this would require a digital workspace, where people could access any application from any device, anywhere. Having previously tried desktop virtualisation, it was aware of the possibilities, however, the limitations of the existing solution meant it fell short of providing a digital workspace. It needed a partner that could enable the digital workspace.

Statistics NZ went to the Government panel of DaaS providers to select a partner to deliver its vision, Fujitsu GoDaaS was selected because it delivered the outcomes the organisation needed: seamless user experience, multi-tenant security, agility and elasticity.

Fujitsu and Statistics NZ were at the start of a planned six month rollout of GoDaaS. Near midnight on November 14th a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck New Zealand, causing major structural damage to Statistic NZ’s head office.

“We suffered catastrophic damage – if anybody had been in our building when the event occurred there would have been fatalities,” explains Chris Buxton, CDO, Statistics New Zealand.

Overnight, Statistics NZ was without a head office where the majority of the organisation worked, and without access to any of its IT systems as they had lost large amounts of desktop and data centre infrastructure, with entire IT capabilities still in transition after learning the lessons from a previous earthquake. “The 2011 event took out our disaster recovery capability all together and wiped out our Christchurch data centre,” explains Buxton.

Statistics NZ selected FUJITSU Government DaaS Service (GoDaaS) as the enabler for its vision. A six month rollout was planned to replace its aging desktop environment, but when disaster struck, plans changed. Within four days of the earthquake, thanks to Fujitsu GoDaaS, all 1,000 staff had a modern desktop environment that they could access from anywhere on any device.

GoDaaS is a desktop solution based on the full Citrix stack, able to scale to hundreds of thousands of users. It provides published applications, virtual and traditional desktops, application packaging and full device lifecycle management. It also includes a fully automated self-service portal based on Citrix’s CloudPortal Service Manager (CPSM) to increase productivity and reduce administrative effort and cost. It enables services to be scaled to meet changing needs without locking in unnecessary capital expense. The platform is always evolving so that the desktop software is continuously updated and the latest tools and services are available for uptake as required.

This fully integrated workplace offering now has 3,420 users on the GoDaaS cloud multi-tenant platform, spanning four major New Zealand government agencies.

The service is set to scale out to over 7,500+ users in the immediate future, with a medium-term plan to connect another 10+ agencies taking usage up to 25,000+ NZ government employees in just one year. In addition, Fujitsu is working to integrate cloud offerings such as Skype for Business with GoDaaS, to better enable virtual classrooms, council meetings and court hearings.

Fujitsu was able to deliver an entire desktop and office productivity environment to over 1,000 staff in the space of only four days. By the time people had started thinking about work again after the earthquake the GoDaaS service was ready. Most importantly it meant that Statistic’s staff could work from anywhere, enabling them to stay at home with their families during the weeks of aftershocks that followed.

Going forward, GoDaaS will revolutionise the way in which Statistics NZ runs the national Census. Previously the process involved building a system two years ahead, testing it at small scale and locking down the technology for twelve months. Now Statistics NZ can continue development and testing much closer to the Census date, enabling far greater innovation and use of current technologies. For a Census surveyor, this means they won’t need to carry kilograms of papers as they visit every house in New Zealand. Instead, they will have access to published applications on a mobile device that tracks the distribution of Census papers online and provides real-time instructions to the surveyor to direct them to houses that haven’t been contacted. When the surveyor returns to their local field office, or home, they can complete their daily workflow using the same application but on a larger device that enables easier content entry and review. This makes for a more accurate and inclusive Census, which will provide vital data to help grow the New Zealand economy.

In addition to enabling Statistics NZ to exploit the power of real-time data, GoDaaS is also delivering multiple benefits across other New Zealand Government agencies. For example, judges can work securely from anywhere without the need to carry large volumes of sensitive paper case files. This speeds up the justice system by making judges more effective and improves security.

“Ultimately, we are a data agency so our value add is in data. We are trying to enable data for the actual customer consumption and that might be a business, it might be a user,” concludes Buxton. “We serve the entire population of New Zealand at the end of the day and they are the people that need access to that data, not Statistics New Zealand. And the cloud puts it in the hands of those users.”

“Ultimately, we are a data agency so our value add is in data. We are trying to enable data for actual customer consumption, and that might be a business or it might be a user.”
Chris Buxton, CDO, Statistics New Zealand

Source: This article was originally sourced from Fujitsu


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