At a glance

6 to 8 weeks
Merlin, Single Digital Presence
State government
Build & migration, Content & training
Whole of government, Civic tech, Web development
Multidisciplinary teams, Agile delivery, Tools & systems, Security, Open standards & common platforms, Open source, Accessibility

DHHS’s challenge

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services’ Finding Records website was built on an old version of proprietary content management system (CMS) SiteCore. The cost to upgrade was prohibitive, with an extremely high total cost of ownership (TCO). 

DHHS’s transformation

Salsa used Merlin (the tool we created and open sourced) to migrate the Finding Records site. The use of Merlin significantly reduced costs and meant the Finding Records site could be easily migrated to Victoria’s Single Digital Presence

The outcomes

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

DHHS’s challenge — outdated proprietary content management system

The DHHS platform was built on an old version of proprietary CMS SiteCore. The cost to upgrade was prohibitive, with an extremely high total cost of ownership (TCO). DHHS initially contracted Salsa for a site assessment looking at replatforming several DHHS sites (see Better Health Channel site assessment case study). Once the best option was identified DHHS needed the new platform set up on Victoria’s Single Digital Presence and two websites initially migrated across — the large and functionally complex Better Health Channel and the smaller Finding Records website. 

Traditionally, site migration is a manual, time-consuming and erroneous process so DHHS was keen to explore different migration options. 

DHHS’s transformation — site migration onto SDP

Finding Records is a smaller site, and represented ‘part one’ of a broader DHHS replatforming. Much of the Finding Records work was done concurrently with the larger Better Health Channel migration.  

The project was broken into four main streams:  

  1. Platform provision — Setup and configuration of the Single Digital Presence instance for DHHS. This included a central content repository that can be used for all DHHS sites in the future (SDP Drupal 8) and individual frontend applications (using Vue.js components from Single Digital Presence’s frontend theme layer, Ripple). 

  2. Content migration — For content migration Salsa built and used a generic migration tool that caters for many different source and target platforms. This automated tool, Merlin, works in unison with other migration project activities. Finding Records was the first SDP migration using Merlin. 

  3. Functional stream — Mapping requirements to existing functionality available in the SDP Drupal distribution Tide. We focused on configuring content structures/types that replicated the existing SiteCore content types so Merlin could migrate existing pages into the new content types set up in SDP. 

  4. User interface stream — Visually mapping basic UI elements from the original site onto out-of-the-box UI elements on Ripple.   

With Finding Records, the goal was to stick with SDP out-of-the-box as much as possible. In the end, we did need a few minor customisations.  From a theme point of view, we used Ripple out-of-the-box, except one new component was created and the Finding Records colours and brand were applied. From a backend perspective, one new content type was created to handle ‘guides’ content (a particular type of content on Finding Records website). 

“We are really happy about the work Salsa did on this project.  Salsa brought substantial expertise to the work and their commitment to working closely with us to address our goals was highly valued by the team.”

Damien Dempsey, Director, Communications and Creative Services
Department of Health & Human Services

The outcomes — quick, easy and low-cost site migration

The outcomes and benefits for DHHS and specifically the Finding Records site 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 DHHS going forward via one CMS (all websites centralised into one backend CMS)
  • Alignment to Victoria’s whole-of-government digital open source platform 
  • Access to the Drupal community’s contributions to continue to grow Single Digital Presence
  • Access to continual improvements of Single Digital Presence
  • Responsive sites, 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 DHHS

Victoria’s DHHS focuses on policies and services for Victorians’ health and wellbeing. It covers health, mental health, housing, disability, ageing and careers, children and families. DHHS is responsible for many websites across these areas, including Finding Records.