TMR Migrates to the Cloud, Reskills Employees, and Builds a Culture of Collaboration Using AWS


When the Queensland government in Australia adopted a cloud-first approach for its cloud computing strategy, the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) needed to determine how it could migrate to the cloud without impacting service delivery for the many millions of citizens that it serves. TMR had on-premises infrastructure and realized that it needed to move away from traditional data centers to gain the many benefits of digital transformation, including modernizing service delivery, improving security, and achieving innovation across the organization. TMR chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support its infrastructure migration to the cloud and its new digital business strategy, which involves a broad range of AWS services.

“Our cloud foundation capability, migration strategy, and implementation activity are about supporting TMR and the community by adding value and shortening the time to delivery,” says Brett Stenson, executive director and chief technology officer at TMR. “We wanted to unlock emerging technology services that, traditionally, we wouldn’t have been able to offer.”

heavy traffic moving at speed on UK motorway in England at sunset

Through its support, maturity, and adoption frameworks, AWS empowered us not only to achieve our vision but also to accelerate it.”

Brett Stenson
Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads

Creating a Strategy for Digital Transformation

Headquartered in Brisbane, TMR handles services that include driver registration and licensing, road infrastructure, and maritime safety along Queensland’s coastal waters. The department also manages Queensland’s integrated public transport systems, including buses, ferries, trains, and light-rail. To support these activities, TMR previously relied on core networks connecting 180 locations across the state. With limited resources and growing public demand for services, the department sought new ways to free up its workforce to increase value. TMR also wanted to improve security and become more agile to adapt quickly to legislative changes. Finally, the department wanted to meet citizens’ growing expectations for a user experience similar to those offered by private service providers, with digital services delivered faster. To do that, TMR needed to achieve interoperability and data sharing among its systems, connecting traditionally siloed services across the organization. “Adopting new technology and putting it in the hands of our citizens improves their experience with the Queensland government,” says Stenson.

After developing a 10-year technology strategy, TMR determined that AWS was the right provider to help carry out its long-term goals of migrating to the cloud and transforming its organization. AWS offered the infrastructure-as-a-service deployment TMR was looking for as well as the cloud availability to reliably support TMR’s essential services. “AWS has been around for a little bit longer than some of the other cloud providers,” says Stenson. “Service offerings from AWS are generally more mature, and the services align closely with our needs.”

Migrating to the Cloud and Implementing 90+ AWS Services

TMR makes use of over 90 AWS services, including primary services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)—a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud—and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service. Beyond using fundamental AWS solutions, TMR has implemented specialized services—including AWS Transit Gateway, a service that connects virtual private clouds and on-premises networks through a central hub—to maximize the benefits of the cloud. “AWS Transit Gateway provides access to our internet gateways and security and supports interconnectivity between the different accounts across the business,” says Stenson. “That’s critical for us because we need to integrate with a multitude of third-party services, including other government agencies. By using AWS Transit Gateway, we can do this in a scalable and secure way.”

Migrating to the cloud has resulted in greater cost transparency and has driven optimization behaviors across the organization. By combining migration with improvements, such as operating system upgrades, the organization also hardened the security of the environment without having to make a dedicated, large-scale investment. Overall, TMR’s IT department has seen more trust in the business now that it can more readily deliver on changing needs. “The organization was looking at other means to meet business needs, such as using third parties, because we didn’t have a cloud offering internally at TMR,” says Stenson. “That’s changed since migrating to AWS, and we can now stay relevant by providing newer technology services in a safe, secure way.”

An essential aspect of TMR’s digital transformation was training its team, including nontechnical personnel, to understand and use cloud services for goals ranging from financial management to security. TMR wanted its training to be inclusive, so it used AWS to create the TMR Cloud Academy, which offers training plans for different roles across the organization. TMR has upskilled more than 100 staff members, optimized its processes for the cloud, and automated certain tasks. Since making these changes, TMR has reduced its wait times when team members transfer projects and deliverables, improved efficiency and time to value, and created a culture of collaboration in the department. Recent efforts coming out of this cultural shift include the Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative, which involves testing autonomous vehicles to learn how they perform within existing infrastructure as well as a data solution that can extract data from existing systems into a data lake, equipping the business to generate dashboards and reports with ease. By 2023, TMR plans to expand its Cloud Academy throughout the state, addressing skills shortages outside city centers. “The more we can do in that space, the better,” says Stenson, “not only for individuals but also for Queensland and our economy.”

Accelerating Innovation on AWS

By creating immediate benefits, TMR’s migration to the cloud has led to a greater appetite for cloud transformation across the business. TMR has fully migrated its foundational components, which took 6 months, and is making progress on at-scale migration of its workloads and system services for anticipated completion by October 2023. Now, the department is planning for the next stage of its transformation—unlocking the full potential of the cloud. With a cloud environment and guardrails in place, TMR is preparing for innovations like introducing cloud contact center elements using Amazon Connect, a simple-to-use omnichannel cloud contact center. It also plans to migrate its legacy data system and move functions from its nearly 30-year-old mainframe infrastructure into microservices, gaining even more flexibility and reliability.

“Through its support, maturity, and adoption frameworks, AWS empowered us not only to achieve our vision but also to accelerate it,” says Stenson. “We’re well ahead of schedule on where we wanted to be by now.”

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About Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR)

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is a department of the Queensland government. TMR plans, manages, and delivers Queensland’s integrated transport environment to achieve sustainable transport solutions for road, rail, air, and sea.

Benefits of AWS

  • Achieved cloud transformation across the organization
  • Upskilled 100 employees, contributing to a culture of collaboration
  • Increased cost transparency and optimization
  • Improved efficiency and time to value
  • Improved security
  • Improved trust and confidence in the business

AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) offers the broadest and deepest compute platform, with over 500 instances and choice of the latest processor, storage, networking, operating system, and purchase model to help you best match the needs of your workload.

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Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service offering industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.

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AWS Transit Gateway

AWS Transit Gateway connects your Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and on-premises networks through a central hub. This simplifies your network and puts an end to complex peering relationships.

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Amazon Connect

With Amazon Connect, you can set up a contact center in minutes that can scale to support millions of customers.

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