Local supplier Silverstripe wins all-of-govt web contract
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Wellington-based developer SilverStripe has won the contract to provide a single web platform for government agencies.
A common platform will enable government departments to share and reuse website features. This will improve consistency and efficiency and lower costs, says Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain.
The common capability is expected to achieve savings of $50,000 per web project procurement. “On its own it’s not a big amount,” Tremain says, “but when spread over the whole of government we’re looking at estimated savings of over $500,000 per year.”
“Another New Zealand company, Revera, will manage technical infrastructure, using the government’s Infrastructure as a Service,” he says.
The contract fits within a broader all-of-government “common web services” (CWS) push, which has brought other deals to set up a supplier panel.
More then 30 suppliers are involved one way or another in CWS, some of them also NZ-owned.
Agencies are “strongly encouraged” to participate in the common web-services initiative, says a backgrounder page on CWS, but participation is voluntary. The detail of CWS can be read here.
The current contract covers “basic information display websites” which do not require large levels of integration with government databases, said last year’s announcement. But this will include such interactive features as form-filling, says Bene Anderson, one of the DIA team working on the CWS; “that’s seen as basic these days.”
SilverStripe’s involvement means the platform is based on open-source code and agencies will be encouraged to share any code they develop for their own needs, either within government or more widely if they wish; but such sharing will remain at each agency’s discretion.
“The only way we’ll get real benefit out of this platform is if the agencies build things of value on top of it,” says Silverstripe CEO Sam Minnee. “We look forward to working with them and really making this a great story for years to come.”
Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown, emphasises that the platform is open to local as well as central government agencies. This means potential to save money for ratepayers as well as “delivering a much better, more interactive service,” she says.
Silverstripe and Revera exemplify the companies that are making a contribution to the “new economy of Wellington” and its reputation as the “smart capital”, says Wade-Brown.
Tremain emphasises what “great news” it is that a substantial part of the Government Common Web services project is being handled by New Zealand companies.
This statement comes at a time when award of major government ICT contracts to overseas providers, such as the Inland Revenue transformation project by CAP-Gemini and Talent2’s Novopay, is a persistent theme in Computerworld’s comment streams.
“In trying to establish collaboration and leadership in [government] ICT, we have to look on both a national and international basis for the very best systems that are out there,” Tremain says.
It seems incredibly ironic to go down the open source path and then limit it to a tiny NZ company who may or may not be able to deliver rather than a larger global community.
SS have done a great job at selling themselves but the opportunity to migrate lots of sites to open source is something that has already largely happened.
There are even CMS systems that are built for Microsoft servers so I doubt there is very many MS license fees to save on.
Posted by Anonymous at 19:35:52 on February 11, 2013
Posted by Jasmine at 11:13:33 on February 11, 2013
Posted by Anonymous at 18:01:54 on February 7, 2013
Posted by Anonymous at 19:39:53 on February 11, 2013
Interested in the product, not all interested in getting caught up in the IaaS...
Posted by Anonymous at 20:23:53 on February 7, 2013
Posted by Sigurd Magnusson at 18:33:42 on February 7, 2013
Posted by Steve at 15:42:56 on February 7, 2013
Posted by Verdon Kelliher at 14:38:17 on February 7, 2013
Drupal is far easier, less buggy and better suited for these types of website.
I would recommend Silverstripe for a 'small' sized website, but even then it has it's quirks and bugs.
An open-source route is good for Government, however semi-enforcing a CMS clearly with major limitations is not a smart move.
But well done to Silverstripe none the less
Posted by Trent at 14:12:39 on February 7, 2013
Posted by Sam Minnee, SilverStripe CEO at 14:34:04 on February 7, 2013