Fed’s Single Web System Edges Closer [Sept. 15, 2014]

Submitted on
Monday, September 15, 2014
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GovernmentNews

By Julian Bajkowski

The federal government has moved one step closer to eliminating expensive and cumbersome legacy of disparity between its essential computing systems.

The Department of Finance has tapped Acquia Inc. to help build out a new single whole of government online content management system – called govCMS – a move that could ultimately harmonise and unite the present costly mishmash of often conflicting online systems.

According to Finance, the new “govCMS will be broadly available to Commonwealth Government entities from February 2015.”

The announcement of Acuia is the first major step in Finance’s efforts to create tangible order over the so-called whole-of-government online estate as agencies across the nation scramble to meet the deadline set by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to have all “major services and interactions with individuals online” by 2017.

And although the selection of an individual vendor is important, in reality is just one step towards the core underlying commitment to use open standards for the government’s development of its online assets, especially public facing websites.

If successful, it is plausible the Commonwealth’s govCMS standard could be taken up by state and local governments given that Mr Turnbull this month conspicuously committed to extending the functionality of the “myGov” transactional hub to other jurisdictions for free.

The proliferation of incompatibilities and legacy systems in government has proved a big inhibitor to agencies of all flavours harnessing the kind of productivity increases the private sector has achieved through digitisation.

John Sheridan, the Australian Government’s Chief Technology Officer and Procurement Coordinator said Acquia will now provide “Software-as-a-Service on the Public Cloud using Drupal open source software.”

He added that Acquia will also partner “with several local businesses so that govCMS can offer a comprehensive service from website design and development through to support and managed operations.”

“I’m excited that, through govCMS, we’ll be offering a cost effective content management and website hosting solution to Commonwealth entities,” Mr Sheridan said.

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