At a glance

4 to 6 months
Merlin, QuantCDN, Single Digital Presence
State government
Discovery & strategy, Build & migration
Whole of government, Web development
Agile delivery, Open standards & common platforms, Open source

DH’s challenge

The Victorian Department of Health’s was built on an old version of the proprietary content management system (CMS) SiteCore. The cost to upgrade, support and maintain the website was prohibitive, and the department needed a robust, functional, cost-effective platform to replace Sitecore.  

DH’s transformation

Salsa used Merlin (the tool we created and open sourced) to migrate the website to Victoria’s SDP. Merlin significantly reduces costs compared to traditional migration methods. We also rebuilt the site using the Ripple component library and standard patterns, to accelerate delivery and reduce cost. The adoption of SDP provides Victorian citizens with an improved user experience. 

The outcomes

  • Quick and easy site migration at reduced costs
  • Predictable, repeatable, automated content migrations with zero content freezes
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Replatforming to a highly secure, whole-of-government platform

“Salsa’s approach is based on regular, open and honest communication, backed by a team of subject matter experts who are highly proficient across agile project disciplines. This approach reduces risk and cost and gives greater control and visibility of the project status.”

Beau Zlatkovic
Senior ICT Project Manager
Department of Health

DH’s challenge — outdated proprietary content management system

The DH platform was built on an old version of the proprietary CMS, SiteCore. The cost to upgrade was prohibitive, with an extremely high TCO. DH initially contracted Salsa for a site assessment looking at replatforming several DH sites (see Better Health Channel site assessment case study). Following on from the migration of Better Health Channel and the Finding Records website, DH wanted to migrate one of its other flagship websites, 

Traditionally, site migration is a manual, time-consuming and erroneous process so DH was keen to use Salsa’s open source solution Merlin, particularly given the large volume of content objects requiring migration and the risk involved in using standard migration methods.  

DH’s transformation — site migration onto SDP

Salsa started with a thorough discovery process, mapping the Health website’s SiteCore features and components to SDP’s Tide (headless Drupal) and Ripple (SDP’s design system). We ended up with a total of over 110 features identified as MVP. 

These were then converted into Jira user stories, with most features having three stories:

  • A backend story (to configure Drupal/Tide)

  • A frontend story (to  theme Ripple components) 

  • A migration story for the content migration from SiteCore into the new SDP feature/page

Where possible, we aligned with out-of-the-box solutions to avoid customisation and follow a whole-of-government approach. 

Contributing back

During the project, we also brought DH and SDP together to discuss features, gaps, and solutions, as well as features for potential giveback. Regular meetings helped ensure open lines of communication to get the best results for both DH and SDP. 

The outcomes — new site on consolidated platform

The outcomes and benefits for DH and specifically the website include:

  • Fast and cost-effective site migration via our migration tool, Merlin

  • Reduced ongoing TCO — moving from the proprietary SiteCore to SDP

  • Easier content management across DH going forward via one CMS (all websites using SDP)

  • Alignment to Victoria’s whole-of-government digital open source platform 

  • Access to the Drupal community’s contributions to continue to grow SDP

  • Access to continual improvements of SDP

  • Responsive behaviour, so websites can be viewed on desktops, tablets and smartphones

  • Accessible sites (built-in WCAG2.0AA compliance tools)

  • A secure, resilient and scalable platform environment

About DH

Victoria’s Department of Health focuses on policies and services for Victorians’ health and wellbeing. It covers health, mental health, ambulance services and ageing. It’s also the lead agency in Victoria’s COVID-19 response. DH is responsible for many websites across these areas, including