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govCMS Overview & Features

govCMS has been the talk of the town of late...

Alfred D 24 April 2015

If you've spent any amount of time with the team at Salsa Digital, you would've heard us raving about it like it's the answer to all of life's problems.

Well, realistically speaking, it is in actual fact the answer to a great many problems the government has been facing with regard to web infrastructure and customer service. In fact, we'd go so far as to say that Acquia-built Drupal platform govCMS is capable of completely revolutionising the way the government interacts with Australians.

But hey, we've realised not everyone's been following the developments surrounding govCMS as closely as we have. So here's a cheatsheet with an overview of govCMS's key features to get you up to speed. 


govCMS is first and foremost a content management system and platform specially designed for websites belonging to the Australian government. It includes the govCMS Platform in a secure cloud hosting environment, as well as a web framework known as govCMS Core.

Government agencies can choose to use govCMS Core together with the govCMS platform. Alternatively, they can opt to use govCMS Core on its own, meaning they'll be responsible for sourcing their own hosting, arranging their own support and maintenance and updating govCMS Core.

Adopting govCMS

Another perk of adopting the govCMS system is gaining access to Acquia's suite of professional services. Agencies need not worry about having to grapple with a tricky migration to govCMS, as Acquia and their partners like Salsa Digital can handle the entire process, meaning government agencies can just go to sleep and wake up to find the new system up and running.

In addition, a variety of allied services courtesy of agencies handpicked by the government to be govCMS-certified partners will be made available.

The recommended mode of delivery for govCMS projects is through Agile project management techniques. Requirements are formulated as a 'backlog' or 'stories', and a developer then works on the nitty gritties during a phase known as a 'sprint', lasting one to two weeks.

This is the quickest way to create a draft website for the government agency in question, allowing them to request adjustments before embarking on the next sprint. Whenever new features or bugs are identified, these can be documented in the backlog, which can then be tweaked in preparation for sprints to come.

This methodology works for any agency or project, no matter how minimalist or complicated.

govCMS Core features

This nifty list sets out the offerings in the govCMS Core package at a glance.

  • Content Workflow : govCMS allows configurable and robust content approval workflows, enough to meet any Government compliance requirements.

  • Responsive mobile device display : Mobile usage on the web has now surpassed desktop usage, making responsive design vital to any organisation today in order to remain relevant.

  • WCAG compliant design : Servicing the millions of Australian users with a disability is important to all Government departments, govCMS provides this functionality at it’s core.

  • Publication management for files such as policies, white papers and so on: govCMS provides a robust file management system along with a powerful search to maintain an effective and easy to use document repository

  • Event management : Many departments provide a range of events, paid and unpaid. govCMS allows a Department to keep all of its event information right on it’s website where it’s easy to access to site users and internal administrative staff alike

  • Search :  govCMS utilises ApacheSolr, a highly scalable and powerful search engine product, providing features such as hit highlighting, real time indexing and much more.

  • Faceted Search : Faceted search provides increased filtering of search results, allowing site users to quickly and easily find the information they’re after

  • RSS feeds : govCMS allows simple syndication of website data via RSS feeds

  • Rich content editing : simple what you see is what you get editing provides the tools you need, whilst maintaining strong consistent design

  • Drag and drop layouts : Flexible Drag and drop layout management makes it very easy for departments to choose and change content layouts on the fly.

  • XML Sitemap : Easy to use XMLSitemap configuration in the user interface ensures user see your Department exactly as you need them to

  • Google Analytics integration : No site today is complete with Google Analytics, quickly and easily update your GA configuration within the user interface

  • Search Engine Optimisation : SEO is at the core of govCMS project, making sure your message get’s out as quickly as possible

  • AGLS Metadata : Meta data compliance can be easily set site wide, whilst offering the flexibility to override on each individual page

  • Media management : govCMS provides a robust file management system along providing easy access for content producers to utilise existing media assets

govCMS Platform features

  • 99.95% website uptime SLA

  • 24x7 Unlimited application support

  • 24x7 Unlimited cloud hosting operations support

  • Security: IRAP Assessment

  • Expert DDOS prevention with hardware and software configuration

  • Site archiving to NAA standard

  • Log storage for 7 years in accordance with security requirements

  • Shared development that allows new functionalities to be shared across all govCMS users

  • Faster and more cost-effective procurement for Department of Finance courtesy of Deed and Rate Card for procurement

But wait, there's more...

Finally, we present to you the features of the govCMS Programme.

  • Distribution maintainers : Commonwealth of Australia

  • Distribution roadmap : Constructed according to demand from govCMS adopters

  • Distribution functionality : Product enables users to build websites, either with or without a partner. Various high quality partners are available.

  • ISM IRAP Assessment : Full IRAP ISM assessment completed. Unclass Level G

  • DOS/DDOS : Full implementation at all potential attack layers, facilitated by extensive collaboration with the most high profile sites on the web.

  • CDN : Use of enterprise level CDN.

  • Procurement mechanism : Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Finance and the agency enable the former to bypass the standard tender process in order to benefit from the contract with Acquia. Time, cost and manpower savings can be enjoyed as a result. Discovery can be easily purchased in order to enable Acquia to document the project and requirements.

  • Log intention : In compliance with the National Archives Act, logs are archived for 7 years with the help of the audit log retention solution to be implemented by Finance.

  • Site archiving : Archive mechanism will be implemented by Finance in compliance with the National Archives Act.

  • Infrastructure development : Fully maintained

  • Security patching : Automatically implemented for all govCMS sites by Acquia's remote administration team.

  • Support Mechanism : Full hosting and Drupal support 24/7, 365 days a year

  • WCAG : Full WCAG compliance by all govCMS themes.

We could go on, but then there would be little for us to talk about...

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