The fifth and final stage of the new IT strategy is the implementation of a new data warehouse to help integrate all department data and information infrastructure.
All these initiatives will be overseen by the department's 300 IT staff, who currently have more than 30 individual projects to manage. Wong noted that 180 are IT professionals-the remainder are immigration-trained service officers responsible for drawing up the business needs for the systems. "This is very important, IT people often jump straight into the technical side of projects but it's most important to focus on the real business needs first," said Wong. "What problems are you solving with your system?"
The department's most intensive project right now is the development of its APPLIES system. The current system handles all applications and immigration-related cases from marriage, birth and death certificates, to visa applications and extension of stays.
Current applications are still referred to immigration officers for their final decision on each case. It is hoped that the new system will be able to automate much of that process and also be integrated much more tightly with the data warehouse being developed concurrently.