At a glance

2017 - 2018
Single Digital Presence
State government
Discovery & strategy, Build & migration
Whole of government

The purpose

To contribute to the open source and open government movement through the delivery of a whole-of-government content management system, to help Victorian government manage content.

The players

Salsa Digital worked with the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to bring DPC’s vision of a Single Digital Presence (SDP) for Victoria to life. DPC is responsible for several elements of Victoria’s digital engagement, including, and (The Engage website was recently recognised as one of only two finalists in the global GovCX Awards — read our blog on the Awards for more information.)

The problem

DPC knew that there were significant problems with the way websites had been built across the Victorian Government, with most sites being built on an ad-hoc basis. The result was over 900 domains (plus an unknown number of sites on .com,, etc. domains), built using different content management systems (CMSs) and on different platforms. DPC described this fragmentation as a ‘technology debt’ with significant implications on costs, efficiencies and cybersecurity. DPC itself had over 36 sites, on different systems.

DPC knew the Victorian Government needed a unified approach, a whole-of-government digital platform, and put the Single Digital Presence (SDP) project out to tender.

DPC identified two requirements:

  1. A single site where Victorians could go to get information — a site that was managed by one content management system (CMS).

  2. A common platform for hosting and management of the sites.

The new, single platform also had to:

  • Be robust, resilient and secure
  • Be based on a public cloud
  • Use an elastic pricing model
  • Be open source

The benefits

The benefits of Tide can be broken into the overall benefits of the SDP, and benefits of the headless (decoupled) Drupal 8 distribution, Tide.

As part of the biger picture, SDP delivers:

  • A more citizen-centric offering that makes it easier for Victorians to find government information 

  • Easier content management via one CMS

  • A truly open source, open platform solution

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

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

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

  • A secure environment

Tide (with its headless Drupal 8 distribution) delivers the following benefits:

  • An easy-to-use content management system (CMS)

  • An up-to-date CMS, which minimises security risks

  • A stable CMS—Every change goes through rigorous manual review and automated build process.

  • Flexible functionality

  • One content repository, with the ability to ‘serve’ content to multiple sites/channels

  • Centralised feature governance—DPC has a dedicated team that manages the backlog of features to cover the majority of CMS use cases.

Tide is also Composer-based (which means all the modern development tools are available out-of-the-box as dependencies) and compatible with Bay, the open-source container-based solution powered by Docker, Kubernetes, and Lagoon.

The DPC is also doing a lot of optimisation around the frontend experience, focusing on what’s best for content authors to make the CMS as intuitive as possible.

Why Salsa Digital?

Salsa won the SDP tender in 2017 on the strength of our response, which not only demonstrated our ability to build a distribution to meet their requirements but also showed innovative thinking around the open platform (which then became Bay).

“Salsa has been a true partner. They’ve shared the vision for open government solutions and they’ve communicated with authenticity, and frequently. They have a highly skilled workforce and also know when to bring in external consultants. They haven’t done what’s comfortable and familiar they’ve stretched their own innovation.”  
Amber Benjafield, Senior Project and Engagement Manager, DPC

About Salsa Digital

Salsa is a highly specialised, enterprise-grade digital agency focused on open source for social good and innovation. We’re committed to the open government movement and to the many benefits this ethos provides including transparency, innovation, and sharing and improving problems and patterns solved by the pioneers before us.

The open source movement has played a key role in the evolution of Salsa. Over the years, as technology and practices have developed, this commitment to open source has grown to encompass a much broader base beyond open source content management systems (open CMS) — open data, open platform and open design. We contribute and deliver services in all these areas, with a strong involvement in specific open source initiatives such as Drupal, Wordpress, GovCMS, Single Digital Presence, Kubernetes/Lagoon and CKAN.

Read more about Single Digital Presence

Single Digital Presence (SDP) is a total digital solution, a digital landscape the Victorian Government can use to create a unified online presence. Below are more related Salsa publications covering everything from the value proposition to technical case studies:

Read our media release