Australian Computer Society
Serious Business on the Internet
by Tom Worthington, President of the Australian Computer Society
Monday 16 September 1996
9am-12noon, CSIRO Auditorium, Castray Esplanade, Hobart
Announcement & Summary
This course will help the attendee to understand how organizations can
make use of the Internet in innovative and effective ways. It will also
describe the policy which is being developed at a national level which
may impact the way in which the Internet is utilised by business.
After this seminar you will
- have seen Internet applications, good and bad, from Australian organizations.
- know how Internet can be a strategic weapon for business.
- know some practical tips for Internet application design and implementation not in the text books.
- understand the directions which the Commonwealth Government is taking with regard to on-line policy and implementation.
About the speaker
Tom Worthington is current National President of the Australian Computer
Society. Away from the ACS Tom is Deputy Director, Information management
Planning, Australian Department of Defence. Tom is co-author of the ACS
InfoBahn Policy, the Defence Representative on the Commonwealth Group,
and one of the authors of the new Architecture For Access To Government
To enrol in the course contact Catherine at the ACS secretariat:
Australian Computer Society (TAS), 2 Davey Street, Hobart 7000
ph (03) 6234 8400 or fax (03) 6234 2216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Draft of 12 September 1996: The content of this talk will be developed here. Suggestions and comments welcome: email@example.com
Internet applications from Australian organisations
Advance Bank: Banking on the Internet with
Australian Governments' Entry Point: A
directory of all Australian Government sources of information on the Internet: local, state and federal.
Minister for Defence: A simple home
Telstra White and Yellow Page Directories:
Visually attractive on-line telephone directory, with useful features.
Marketplace Service: Government tenders on-line. A Spartan layout, but useful up-to date content.
AAA World Announce Archive: Advertising on the 'net, to
support a useful comment service.
Sausage Software: An Australian IT
company selling its software on-line.
Trumpet Software: Another Australian IT company,
but with a more austere home page.
Guide to Australia: Sophisticated and
comprehensive directory, but not run for profit.
Tasmanian Government Media Releases
Internet as a strategic weapon
- Small is big: Large projects can be knitted together from small isolated pieces
using the Internet. As an example the
Commonwealth Government Home page at the NLA is only a
few thousand bytes of information, but links together all of the known Government information
available on the Internet.
Small and large organisations have the same leverage on-line: Unlike radio, TV and printed publishing
the start-up costs for on-line publishing are very low. Big organisations and small have the same access. Here
are two examples of Web pages about digital Airborne Surveillance systems from very different
sized organisations, prepared using the same technology.
- Fun is serious: One major application for the Internet is entertainment.
But non-entertainment information has to be interesting as well. People don't want to read dull information.
This has always been the case, its just that with the Internet they let you know quicker. During
K96 I received feedback from readers, which was
relayed back to the PR people in the field, to improve the reports. You may not think that photos of Army
Land Rovers are interesting, but the Land Rover lovers told me so.
- Academics are practical: If you want to see the latest ideas on how to use the
Internet for business, go to a University. Most of what is written about by the new crop of industry
Internet so-called experts has been routine in our universities for years (up to ten years). The ACS
and Commonwealth Government Internet use was built on experience of our Universities. Workshop
exercise: How do you organise and publicise a talk in Tasmania?
- Free makes money: Everyone likes to "try before you buy". Experience shows that
this is about the only way to make money on the Internet. Provide a limited version of your product free
and sell the advanced version.
- The Internet is your internal corporate network: Much nonsense is now talked
about Intranets in the IT press. A more correct term would be an internet (with
a small I), which means a network of networks. Intranets are a short term, crude
solution to the problem of Internet security and will fade away in a few months. All organisations need to
communicate to others and so need The Internet, not a toy internet.
- The Web is glamorous; but plain old e-mail, news, FTP and telnet are still useful:
The Internet is built in layers, with newer functions built on the foundations of the old. The old stuff still
works, is cheap and robust. The Web is much more useful when combined with e-mail, news, FTP
and even telnet.
- Your staff aren't your staff: Your staff have "got a life" outside work, also
people who aren't staff will be doing some of your work. So you can't isolate your IT system on
an "internal" network and can't forget the wider needs of staff.
- Every coffee shop is your office: Large office buildings for administrative work are a
temporary aberration, brought about by limited communications. Now that your information and colleagues
are on-line, how are you going to reorganise your business? Workshop
exercise: How would you run your organisation from a coffee shop?
Commonwealth Government on-line policy and implementation
- Vision for a Networked Nation,
ACS submission to ASTEC, BSEG, BBS Task Force & Senate, 17 May 1994
- Networking Australia's Future:
Interim report of the Broadband Services Expert Group, JULY 1994
- Commonwealth Internet Reference Group:
Working level group which produced and implemented the Commonwealth Internet strategy. Retrofitted
into the GISPB structure, but worked in advance of official policy.
- Creative Nation:
Commonwealth Cultural Policy, October 1994
- Clients First;
the report from the Information Technology Expert Group, 1 MARCH 1995
- Office of Government Information Technology:
For Public Service IT reforms and cost savings.
- IT Blueprint Exposure Draft, January 1996:
OGIT's proposals to rationalise Government IT and use the Internet.
- Architecture For Access To Government
Information: Draft report on indexing all Australian Government information and putting the index
on the Internet. Blend of traditional and Internet working methods.
- 1996 Questionnaire on Government Internet Practices
- Latest crop of Government & industry enquiries and committees:
- Discipline Research Strategy for Australian IT, Australian Research Council and the Department of
Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, July 1996
- Information Policy Advisory Council,
Minister for Communications and the Arts, 23 August 1996
- Information Industries Taskforce,
Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, 2 September 1996
- Information Industries Competitiveness Study,
Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, 10 September, 1996
Australia's stake in the global information industry
- Mix of showmanship and technology: The Java
programming language is an excellent
example of promotion of a new product. This is an okay programming language, which has a lot of potential.
However its current popularity comes more from the trendy name and the mythology surrounding the
company promoting it, than from real advantages.
- We are number five in the world: Australia is about number five in the world, as
measured by the number of servers connected. This puts us ahead of many industrialised nations. In the
region we are an Internet super-power. However our business and Government leaders don't know it and
don't use this advantage.
- Academia is our R&D lab: Our Universities are generating potential Internet products and
exploitable techniques at a prodigious rate. However most of this output is being wasted. Each week I
attend a free public talk at the ADFA Computer Science
Department. Almost every week there is something of practical commercial value. One example is:
"From Hypertext to Flat Text: A Tool for Document Construction", by Mr Wanli Ma. There is a danger
that this research will soon cease: if no one values or uses it, the government will stop funding it.
- Join the ACS in promoting Australia
About the ACS
The Australian Computer Society is the professional association in
Australia for those in the computing and information technology fields. It was established in 1966.
The Society has over 16,000 members and on a per capita basis is one of the largest computer
societies in the world.