When the APEC summit came to Australia this year, it posed some difficult software problems for the APEC Taskforce's IT department.
Gus Kollar, general manager for technology for the 2007 APEC taskforce, admits that his team was initially unaware of how complicated managing the IT requirements for the summit would be.
"When we got into APEC we didn't know much frankly," he explained.
"We thought APEC would be just like a set of meetings or conferences, but unfortunately APEC had a number of very specific issues," he said.
"Sport events and conferences don't actually go to multiple locations, they don't have aircraft arrivals and departures, or documentation requirements, delegate systems information, hospitality requirements and so on.
"So we had to develop software specifically for APEC."
One of the major challenges Kollar's team overcame was to implement an APEC-specific documentation service utilizing Microsoft's SharePoint.
"We had nothing to start off with, when previous economies hosted APEC and packed up their bongos and left, they just shut everything down. The Web sites are shut down, and all the knowledge just disappears so you basically have to start from scratch," he said.
Kollar explains that the APEC Secretariat, located in Singapore and charged with the coordination of APEC information management and communications, is the repository for all APEC-related documentation.
"Because APEC is a series of meetings, it generates an enormous amount of paper - millions and millions of pages of documents over a twelve month period."
Prior to the 2007 summit, the Secretariat did some original development work for the "Less Paper Meeting System", which was implemented to minimise the amount of hard copy used for collating and sharing APEC related information.
Kollar's IT taskforce took the Secretariat's progress and developed it further.
"We developed a complete new system in SharePoint that is APEC-specific," he said.
"We trialed and tested it. We had it completed by about [last] September, and deployed it at our APEC meeting in Cairns. The last three meetings it was running and is indistinguishable from the original Less Paper Meeting System, but it's a solid and stable platform based on a commercial operating environment."
Kollar says that the system has already been handed over to the Singapore Secretariat, and that his team's success in developing the documentation service means future economies who host APEC will not have to go through the same kind of software development. "Knowledge transfer and legacy in the form of delegate information systems was very important to us, and it also helps other economies when they host APEC themselves."