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Whole-of-government digital platform assessment for Victoria’s Better Health Channel

Salsa was engaged to assess the viability of replatforming the DHHS Better Health Channel (and another five sites in the future), moving from a legacy, proprietary content management system (SiteCore CMS) to an open source solution.

The players

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 the Better Health Channel.

The problem

The DHHS platform was built on an old version of proprietary CMS SiteCore. The costs to upgrade and operate the services resulted in a high total cost of ownership (TCO).

DHHS needed a provider to identify other viable options and make a recommendation based on the pros, cons and any other considerations. The end goal was to reduce the TCO for DHHS, while also providing an open source solution that was strategically aligned with a whole-of-government digital platform strategy.

Salsa was responsible for investigating the different options, assessing their fit, and then making a strategic recommendation.

The solution

Salsa started by ensuring we had a thorough understanding of the baseline, covering: the current system (platform), the requirements and features DHHS needed, and DHHS’s digital roadmap. Strategically, it was important to know where DHHS wanted to go, to ensure options we identified were in line with the overall strategic vision.

Next, we confirmed candidate open source platforms, specifically the Commonwealth whole-of-government platform GovCMS and the new Victorian whole-of-government platform Single Digital Presence (SDP).

We then mapped the existing and required features onto the target platforms using our established viability assessment tool. This gives each option a score based on what’s available out-of-the-box, what needs configuration, and what needs customisation. Within these classifications, the level of configuration/customisation is also taken into consideration and contributes to the final score. Salsa’s scoring system provides an objective, thorough viability assessment. This method, as detailed in our blog on GovCMS viability, is a mature methodology that we follow for each platform.

Our recommendation was for DHHS to build its new sites on the whole-of-Victorian-government digital platform, SDP. Salsa is committed to whole-of-digital platforms and believes that where possible state agencies should leverage an existing platform that’s been developed specifically for that state. Our viability assessment confirmed that SDP was the best choice for DHHS.

This recommendation fed into a very strong business case for moving from SiteCore to the open source SDP.

The benefits

Salsa’s assessment delivered a variety of benefits to DHHS, including:

  • Confirmation of two clearly identified viable options

  • A clear understanding of how well each option covered DHHS’s requirements

  • A final score to objectively support the final recommendation

  • A recommendation for the best option

  • Data and a platform recommendation to inform an ROI business case for proprietary legacy CMS migration to open source

  • Access to Salsa’s expertise in emerging trends and patterns in whole-of-government digital platforms

  • Strategic alignment and lead agency contribution to a whole-of-government digital platform

  • Access to a range of benefits from a shared platform, such as reduced costs, increased consistency across Victorian websites, and a consolidated user experience

Why Salsa Digital?

Salsa completed the whole-of-government digital platform assessment as part of the larger DHHS project for platform setup and migration. Salsa won this RFQ based on our proposed strategy for the project and our expertise in Drupal, GovCMS and SDP. Salsa has also built a strong reputation within the government space — we’re known for our engineering rigour and our commitment to open source for government.

About Salsa Digital

We’re an open source digital agency focused on helping governments and enterprises become more open, more connected and more consolidated. 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 CMSsopen 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.

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