Australia’s Defense forces to launch their own ‘Facebook’ dubbed ForceNet

June 19, 2014

News emerging from Oz this morning is that Australian Defence Force is readying the launch of a new human resources portal akin to a social network, for use by both current staff and alumni of the country’s armed forces. When I heard it first, I thought it was a hoax but confirmed while watching Channel Nine news online. Dubbed ForceNet, the platform is an internal social network through which Australian Defence workers can connect with colleagues, send direct messages, post content, and create events and social groups. The system includes HR self-service features including the ability for staff to check pay receipts and submit leave applications, search for vacant jobs, and showcase skills and qualifications on their user profiles. Australian Defense Forces intends to use the system to gain a better insight into its workforce to target work more effectively, and to identify what skills are available within its current staff and former employee base for upcoming projects. The portal was initially slated to go live in March of this year, but has been held back to an expanded scope.

Australian Defence Forces expects that by creating a tight-knit community of past and present members, it will be better able to meet critical skill shortages by recruiting former ADF members back into the force. It spent better part of last year designing the platform which according to a person familiar with the project it is based on the SiteCore web content management system, collaboration with Deloitte, which was awarded close to $2.6 million to develop and maintain the platform from September last year until June next year. ForceNet was initially developed for the Army Reserve, but the Australian Defense Forces opted to expand the scope to include all current and former members and their families. Australian Defense has forecast a full-time workforce of 79,734 between this year and 2015. ForceNet was roadtested by 800 users from six trial units from November 2013 to February 2014 to ensure it was both stable and easy to use. The incorporation of feedback from the trial also pushed back the go-live date. Defence department was quoted as saying that they could not accurately estimate the total cost of the project as its expanded scope has led to uncertainty over future system demands.

Contador Harrison