Newfoundland extends software rollout to comply with information law

Following up on legislation passed last year to centralize the management of public records in the province, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has signed an enterprise agreement with Tower Software, a worldwide supplier of enterprise content management software with North American headquarters in Reston, Va.

The province, which has been using Tower’s TRIM Context content management software since the late 1990s and currently has 13 implementations in various government departments, will deploy TRIM Context government-wide.

Provincial Minister of Business Kevin O’Brien said the government-wide implementation of TRIM Context will help Newfoundland and Labrador adopt a more centralized approach to information management rather than approaching the issue on a department-by-department basis. “We brought in the Management of Information Act in 2005 because we did recognize the importance of having the systems in place to properly manage the vast amounts of information throughout government departments,” O’Brien said.

The contract with Tower is worth a little less than $1 million, the minister said.

Extending TRIM Context across all government departments will help eliminate duplication and improve access to information, said Jan Rosi, president of Tower Software North America.

Adoption will proceed in stages, under the direction of the provincial chief information officer. The first phase will focus on helping government employees manage their e-mail, and should be completed within the current fiscal year, O’Brien said.

O’Brien said the province chose TRIM Context because of its past experience with the software and on the basis of looking at the experiences of other governments that have implemented it. “It certainly surpassed all of the criteria that we set, the specifics that we set, so we looked at the applications that they had elsewhere and drilled down that this one was the better one,” he said.

Another factor in the government’s choice was Tower’s decision to establish a presence in the province, setting up a “Centre of Excellence” for TRIM Context in partnership with local reseller Prima Computer Solutions Inc. The facility will provide support for the provincial government and for other customers in Atlantic Canada, company officials said. Several provincial ministries in New Brunswick use the software. Rosi said Tower has hired three employees in St. John’s and Prima has added five people to its staff so far.

“That Centre of Excellence will also assist clients in numerous Canadian provinces, including other Atlantic provinces,” said O’Brien. “We may have the opportunity to grow that help desk in the future probably in order to use it to help other North American clients.”

“We look at this as that we’ve made a smart and strategic investment with this agreement,” the minister said. “We may very well be able to capitalize … in job growth, economy growth and growth of the IT sector as well.” 

Tower’s other Canadian clients include several municipalities, including Regina and the cities of Thunder Bay, Waterloo and Kingston in Ontario, and Newfoundland Hydro. An implementation is under way in Ontario’s Ministry of Health, Rosi said. Tower also has some commercial clients, including RBC Life Insurance Co. in Canada. The public sector’s enterprise content management needs don’t differ dramatically from those of the public sector, said Rosi, but Tower’s strength in the public-sector market depends on its understanding of how public-sector organizations work.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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