Acquia

Cloud First Strategy Turns 5 Years Old [March 18, 2016]

Submitted on
Friday, March 18, 2016
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FierceGovernmentIT

By Eli Richman

The government's "cloud first" strategy turned five years old last month, marking a period when many agencies overhauled services by consolidating their data centers and moving programs to the cloud.

"This has ushered in a new era of government IT characterized by an unprecedented ability to scale, continuous deployment, agile development and standardized, effective security practices," said Teresa Carlson, vice president of worldwide public sector at Amazon Web Services.

In February 2011, then-Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra posted a new strategy for agencies to reform their IT practices and adopt a "cloud-first" strategy. Kundra hoped the move would help reduce federal data center costs by 30 percent, or $7.2 billion at the time.

Since then, cloud technologies and offerings have advanced considerably, and agencies have graduated from the 78 services originally identified for the cloud to full departments and major websites.

For instance, the public facing websites for DOJ, DHS, NIH, NIST, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Transportation are all hosted on the Drupal-based govCMS platform, noted Dan Katz, technical director of the public sector at Acquia.

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Can We Save the Open Web? [March 17, 2016]

Submitted on
Thursday, March 17, 2016
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The Daily Dot

By Dries Buytaert

The Web felt very different 15 years ago, when I founded Drupal, an open source tool for building websites. Just 7 percent of the population had Internet access, there were only around 20 million websites, and Google was a small, private company. Facebook, Twitter, and other household tech names were years away from being founded. In these early days, the Web felt like a free space that belonged to everyone. No one company dominated as an access point or controlled what users saw. This is what I call the "open Web."

But the Internet has changed drastically over the last decade. It’s become a more closed Web. Rather than a decentralized and open landscape, many people today primarily interact with a handful of large platform companies online, such as Google or Facebook. To many users, Facebook and Google aren’t part of the Internet—they are the Internet.

I worry that some of these platforms will make us lose the original integrity and freedom of the open Web. While the closed Web has succeeded in ease-of-use and reach, it raises a lot of ethical questions about how much control individuals have over their own experiences. And, as people generate data from more and more devices and interactions, this lack of control could get very personal, very quickly, without anyone’s consent. So I’ve thought through a few potential ideas to bring back the good things about the open Web. These ideas are by no means comprehensive; I believe we need to try a variety of approaches before we find one that really works.

Double-edged sword
It’s undeniable that companies like Google and Facebook have made the Web much easier to use and helped bring billions online. They’ve provided a forum for people to connect and share information, and they’ve had a huge impact on human rights and civil liberties. These are many things for which we should applaud them.

But their scale is also concerning. For example, Chinese messaging service Wechat (which is somewhat like Twitter) recently used its popularity to limit market choice. The company banned access to Uber to drive more business to their own ride-hailing service. Meanwhile, Facebook engineered limited web access in developing economies with its Free Basics service. Touted in India and other emerging markets as a solution to help underserved citizens come online, Free Basics allows viewers access to only a handful of pre-approved websites (including, of course, Facebook). India recently banned Free Basics and similar services, claiming that these restricted Web offerings violated the essential rules of net neutrality.

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Acquia Honored in 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service [Jan. 21, 2016]

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Thursday, January 21, 2016
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Stevie Awards

Acquia is honored to be among the finalists for the 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service. Acquia was recognized in three categories in this year's competition.

Global Sales Team of the Year: Acquia’s global sales team serves as strategic consultants for the company’s largest customers, helping these organizations plan and develop their digital strategies. The team was formed in 2014, and this is Acquia’s first Stevie's honors in this category.

Worldwide Sales Executive of the Year: Tim Bertrand, Acquia’s chief revenue officer, is a Stevie finalist for the second consecutive year; he earned silver in 2015 for his leadership and strategic direction at the company.

Frontline Customer Service Team of the Year: This is the third consecutive year that Acquia’s global support team has been named a finalist; our support experts were honored with bronze medals in both 2014 and 2015 for their commitment to Acquia’s customers.

Every year the Stevie Awards hosts several programs around the world to honor business achievement, including the International Business Awards and American Business Awards. This year marks the 10th annual Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service competition, in which more than 2,100 nominations from organizations in virtually every industry were evaluated. Finalists will be awarded either gold, silver, or bronze awards during a gala banquet on Friday, March 4 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Boston Unveils Pilot of Overhauled City Website to Solicit Feedback [Jan. 14, 2016]

Submitted on
Thursday, January 14, 2016
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StateScoop

By Alex Koma

Boston’s IT staff is collecting public feedback on the newly released pilot version of “boston.gov,” taking a big step closer to launching an overhauled city website.

The city launched the pilot version of the site last week, giving users a sneak peek at three of its new pages and offering them a chance to vote on what sections of the site they’d like to see next.

“On the one hand, it’s a little scary to be developing in public,” Lauren Lockwood, the city’s chief digital officer, told StateScoop. “But our hope is that by exposing ourselves and bringing people into the process that we end up with a better product.”

With roughly a million words on the current website’s 20,000 different pages, Lockwood said the city has been hoping to clean up the clutter with a new site for a while now. She said her team started the process by surveying people “inside and outside city hall” to figure out what about the site needed to change, then set about collaborating with a design firm and a developer to create the new Web portal.

“We set out to create a website that’s not only more useful for our residents, but also more welcoming,” Lockwood said.

Indeed, Lockwood noted that her team sought to build a site that’s “equal parts warm and official,” and also “act as a helpful human.”

Part of that process involves simplifying the content on the website — Lockwood said the current site contains huge blocks of text that require an 11th grade reading level to understand, something the city is hoping to change with the redesign.

The pilot site doesn’t contain many pages, but Lockwood feels the test version embodies many of those attributes her team was striving to attain. The homepage contains links to three initial topic pages for users to explore: “starting a business,” “having a car in the city” and “winter is coming.”

Each page contains information that’s “department agnostic,” Lockwood said, so that users don’t have to hunt on each agency’s page to find what they’re looking for.

“If you want to learn about winter preparedness, rather than going to the parking website to learn about parking garages and the 311 site to learn about how to report cases of unshoveled sidewalks and on and on and on, now we include that in one place,” Lockwood said.

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Life Fitness Globally Deploys Lionbridge onDemand [Jan. 12, 2016]

Submitted on
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
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Lionbridge Technologies

Global staff receive 24/7 automated quotes and seamless integration with the Acquia Platform

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Jan. 12, 2016 -- Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: LIOX) the world's leading provider of global content and communication solutions announced customer Life Fitness recently completed a global rollout of Lionbridge onDemand, including a fully automated integration to the Acquia Platform. Now dozens of Life Fitness departments across geographies all manage their translation needs 24/7 via Lionbridge onDemand.

"Translation was a painful, often delayed process before Lionbridge onDemand," said Bob Quast, Vice President Global Marketing & International Market Development, Life Fitness. "With onDemand we have eliminated delays and manual activity for quotes, status updates, file transfers, purchase orders and invoices. Content review is also streamlined through Lionbridge's Global Brand Voice and Review Workflow, which also allows us to manage brand consistency. The automated connection to Acquia flows web content into the same easy process. Lionbridge onDemand is a great solution for us."

Translation needs at Life Fitness span numerous content types including: websites, videos, software applications, mobile apps, technical documentation, marketing collateral, legal, graphics and more. Lionbridge onDemand supports all of these content types via a walk-up interface that makes managing the translation process easy for all users. For its web presence, Life Fitness integrated Lionbridge onDemand using a newly developed connector with the Acquia Platform, a scalable cloud platform for building, delivering and optimizing digital experiences.

"Life Fitness is responding to the demands of a highly engaged customer base, creating immersive, engaging digital experiences for their brand loyalists and fitness enthusiasts alike," said Joe Wykes, VP of Global Channels, Acquia. "By integrating Lionbridge onDemand with the Acquia Platform, Life Fitness is accelerating the delivery of content and campaigns across markets to help build its global business."

Lionbridge onDemand tripled its revenue in 2015 as clients like Life Fitness find great value in its ability to streamline the entire translation process.

"We are appreciative of our relationship with Life Fitness as they realize the value of Lionbridge onDemand and the Acquia connection," said Marc Osofsky, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Global Offerings, Lionbridge. "The joint Acquia-Lionbridge onDemand solution is an ideal fit for many companies who need an accessible, scalable, online solution to manage distributed translation needs throughout the organization."

For more information, please visit lionbridgeondemand.com.

About Lionbridge
Lionbridge enables more than 800 world-leading brands to increase international market share, speed adoption of products and effectively engage their customers in local markets worldwide. Using our innovative cloud technology platforms and our global crowd of more than 100,000 professional cloud workers, we provide translation, online marketing, global content management and application testing solutions that ensure global brand consistency, local relevancy and technical usability across all touch points of the customer lifecycle. Based in Waltham, Mass., Lionbridge maintains solution centers in 27 countries. To learn more, visit www.lionbridge.com.

About Acquia
Acquia is the digital experience company. Intuit, Warner Music Group and Stanford University are among the more than 4,000 organizations that are transforming their digital businesses with Acquia's open cloud platform. Global 2000 enterprises, government agencies and NGOs rely on Acquia to create new revenue streams, lower costs, and engage audiences more deeply through content, community, commerce and context. For more information visit www.acquia.com.

How Tech Giants Spread Open Source Programming Love [Jan. 8, 2016]

Submitted on
Friday, January 8, 2016
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CIO

By Paul Rubens

"Go is a programming language designed by Google to help solve Google's problems." So said Rob Pike, one of the Go language's designers.

That may be the case, yet the open source language is increasingly being adopted by enterprises around the world for building applications at large scale.

The story is similar with Erlang. Originally a proprietary language developed by Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson for handling massive volumes of telephone switching data on its hardware, Erlang was open sourced and is now rapidly gaining popularity for large-scale applications.

And there's more. Facebook developed GraphQL and BigPipe technologies in response to the particular challenges it faces running a social network processing hundreds of billions of API calls a day for over 1.5 billion active members. Today these technologies have been open sourced, and are used by the likes of content management project Drupal to make its mobile web pages load faster.

You may have noticed a common theme here: Programming languages and technologies that were developed by industry and Internet giants – specifically to meet the unique challenges they faced operating at massive scale – have been open sourced and are now being adopted by regular-sized enterprises for everyday use.

Part of the reason for this is a natural technology trickle-down effect, according to Mark Driver, a research director at Gartner. "Today's leading edge super high tech is tomorrow’s standard product," he says. "Also, large companies (like Google and Facebook) understand the collaborative nature of open computing and the dynamics that drive the Internet. So it's natural that they share these technologies and strengthen the industry around them."

What’s in it for Google?

It may also be that companies like Google share their technology for more self-centered reasons. For example, in November Google open sourced its TensorFlow artificial intelligence and machine learning engine. This needs to be fed huge amounts of data to work effectively.

[Related: 8 key open source software foundations (and what makes them key)]

By giving away its TensorFlow technology, Google’s allowing everyone to benefit from the technology and any improvements that are made to the code. But as the owner of vast amounts of data gathered through the many services it offers, Google is in a position to benefit more than most from improvements made to the technology by the open source community.

There's also a considerable marketing benefit in promoting a language like Go that's available to all, Driver believes. "Sponsoring a project like Go can help Google drive the recruitment of engineers," he says. "It can lead to a virtuous circle of innovation."

The trickle-down effect is particularly important because the challenges that Google, Facebook and other Internet giants faced a few years ago building large-scale applications with huge numbers of concurrent users are exactly the ones faced today by thousands of established companies and startups offering web- or mobile-based applications to large numbers of their customers.

These companies are discovering that many of the problems they’re facing have already been solved.

Acquia is just such a company. It uses Go for its software-as-a-service offering that provides enterprise services for the Drupal content management system. "More and more companies are becoming data companies, handling data from customers, mobile devices and so on,” says Christian Yates, a vice president at Acquia.

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City Unveils Easier-to-use Test Website [Jan. 8, 2016]

Submitted on
Friday, January 8, 2016
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Boston Globe

By Meghan E. Irons

Web users trying to traverse the frustrating maze of that is the city’s website, take note.

A newly redesigned site — brighter, bolder, bluer — is here, though for now, it’s just a test.

Think big city with a heart, a warmer, gentler one. No acronyms.

“Beautifully designed, delightful to use, and thoroughly useful,’’ boasts the site in its debut Thursday at pilot.boston.gov.

The site features a large image with soft blue background and bold white letters reading “Boston.gov.”

It is a result of months of planning and input from the public, said the city’s chief digital officer, Lauren Lockwood.

An audit of more than 20,000 indexed pages suggested that using the site was a drag, she said.

“We heard from residents who mentioned how difficult it can be to search through departments and find the right information on the current website,” Lockwood said.

The pilot site previews topics pages, based on how readers think about an issue. Three topics are on the site for now — starting a business, having a car in the city, and winter preparedness.

The city’s digital team will eventually add more topics and information from the various city departments.

The redesign is being led by the city’s digital team, along with IDEO, an award-winning global design company, and Boston-based Acquia, a local technology provider. The cost of the redesign is $880,800, officials said.

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Boston Streamlines its Site for Mobile [Jan. 8, 2016]

Submitted on
Friday, January 8, 2016
,
GCN

By Amanda Ziadeh

Boston is giving residents a peek at its redesigned Boston.gov site, pilot.boston.gov, to show the responsive design and new functionality and to encourage citizen feedback while the website continues to be developed.

The pilot site’s responsive design optimizes content to fit all screens -- especially important with today's diversity of mobile devices -- and currently features topic pages to make it easier to find tools and resources. The redesigned site will also include a more robust menu and navigation bar to help users efficiently and intuitively find what they need, the city said.

The revamp comes in response to an audit of the more than 20,000 indexed pages on the current site, which made it difficult for residents to find information and navigate their way around online services. The pilot’s design addresses this by using curated content from various departments to reduce the need to visit multiple sites. It also presents content on topical pages organized on how a resident thinks about a certain issue – like owning a car or starting a business.

"We are creating a digital front door for City Hall that is friendly, convenient and worthy of our connected, tech-savvy city,” said CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge.

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Boston Mayor Launches Pilot Site to Show Progress Toward Redesigned City Website [Jan. 7, 2016]

Submitted on
Thursday, January 7, 2016
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City of Boston

BOSTON - Thursday, January 7, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced an important step in the redesign of the City of Boston's website - the launch of the Boston.gov pilot site (pilot.boston.gov). The pilot site provides a preview of the new design and encourages feedback as the broader Boston.gov site is developed.

"This is an exciting chapter in the redesign of the City's website," said Mayor Walsh. "We want to give the people of our City a look at the work we're doing and a voice in the process as we continue to build a more welcoming and useful website."

At the start of the project, the City spoke to constituents who shared valuable feedback about how to improve the city's website. This feedback process will continue throughout the duration of the pilot, and residents are encouraged to share their thoughts on the redesign through the feedback navigation on the pilot website.

"Millions of people use digital channels to engage with City government every year," said Chief Information Officer Jascha Franklin-Hodge. "We are creating a digital front door for City Hall that is friendly, convenient, and worthy of our connected, tech-savvy city."

An audit of the more than 20,000 indexed pages illustrated the need to make it easier to find information. The goal of the redesigned City website is to help users navigate the many resources provided by the City in a way that is simple and intuitive.

The pilot site – which is optimized to fit all screen sizes, including smartphones – showcases the City’s digital brand and previews a new way of organizing content through “topics.” Topic pages feature curated content based on how a resident thinks about an issue, such as owning a car or winter preparedness.

"We heard from residents who mentioned how difficult it can be to search through departments and find the right information on the current website," said Chief Digital Officer Lauren Lockwood. "By pulling content from various departments into Topic pages, we're able to organize resources in a more intuitive way."

While the pilot site focuses on topic pages as a new way to discover tools and resources, the redesigned City website will eventually include additional ways for residents to easily find the content they need, including a more robust menu and navigation bar.

The pilot website is a work in progress and will continue to grow and change in the coming months with an expected full launch of the new Boston.gov site later in 2016. In the meantime, the current website (www.CityofBoston.gov) will operate as usual.

The effort is being led by the City's Digital Team in partnership with IDEO, an award-winning global design firm, and Boston-based Acquia, a leading local technology provider. To receive updates on this project, sign up at Next.Boston.gov.

About the City of Boston's Digital Team
The Digital Team is part of the City's Department of Innovation and Technology and focuses on delivering digital services that are welcoming, highly useful, and designed around the needs of the Boston community.
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One Year In: New York Website Redesign Drives Major Traffic Gains [Dec. 23, 2015]

Submitted on
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
,
StateScoop

By Alex Koma

A year after New York state unveiled its first website redesign in more than 15 years, state officials say the update was well worth the wait.

Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo is touting the new NY.gov‘s record-breaking traffic numbers: The website’s page views quadrupled to 17.2 million from 3.9 million a year ago, according to the state’s Office of Information Technology Services. The office also reported seeing double the number of users overall and triple the amount of mobile traffic, and noted the rate at which users leave the site after visiting just one page has declined by more than 20 percent.

Melanie Galinski, the site’s general manager, attributed the bump to significant improvements on the site.

Before the update, “any time we wanted to make a change it required an engineer,” Galinski told StateScoop. “We had a broken search, it was impossible to use on any type of mobile device, full of dead links. It just definitely had the out of touch, out of date, out of order type feel.”

Now she said the site uses responsive design, a more powerful search function and a section that “customizes information around government to the citizen” based on where they live in the state. There were editorial changes as well: The new site lays out available government services in plain language and groups them by category rather than by the agency that runs them, making transactions easier to complete and keeping people coming back for more.

Overall, it’s easier to use, she said.

“I think people aren’t as frustrated as they used to be,” Galinski said.

For the redesign, Galinski and her team decided to work with software-as-a-service company Acquia to use open-source web content management platform Drupal. The changes the team made were crucial for ramping up the site’s mobile traffic, Galinski said. Her staff recorded more than 1.9 million mobile sessions over the last year with the new site, compared to just over 524,000 a year ago. She credits the site’s responsive design for ending the “pinching and squeezing” required to use the old site on a mobile device, and building that traffic in the process.

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