The Department of Finance has officially declared the govCMS website content management system and hosting platform as production ready after completing an early adopter trial.
govCMS is built on the open-source Drupal platform, and aims to provide agencies with a comprehensive services bundle that enables them to benefit from economies of scale and simpler and faster procurement, a Finance spokesperson told iTnews.
Government agencies can expect to save money by using govCMS, but Finance would not be drawn on figures comparing its offering with existing CMS and web hosting deals.
"The relative benefit for individual agencies will depend on their current circumstances and is a matter for the responsible delegates," the spokesperson said.
"Australia.gov.au has benefited from a significant reduction in hosting and related costs as a consequence of moving to govCMS. Further benefits are expected as maintenance and support advantages are exercised."
Acquia in turn partnered with Amazon Web Services for the public cloud platform for govCMS, which features high-availaibility hosting, disaster recovery, distributed denial of service protection and extensive monitoring and analytics capabilities.
Under the arrangement, government agencies get a managed Drupal application as well as unlimited, 24x7 technical support.
Finance said govCMS solved the problem of costly hosting for agencies through the use of AWS public cloud infrastructure as a shared platform for all websites under its management, with prices falling as economies of scale kick in.
Use of the Drupal open source platform means no software license or maintenance fees.
Having a standardised platform like govCMS means agencies can also share code, and not have to train people on differing systems, something Finance believes will result in further cost savings.
Improved compliance with Australian government standards for design, accessibility, security and information and record management is another benefit of govCMS, Finance said.
Five separate plans are available in govCMS to meet agencies' different needs.
The small plan for an agency with three websites and 100,000 page views a month would cost $45,500 for the first year, which includes one-off establishment costs, and $38,000 a year second year onwards.
A medium plan for an agency with five websites and 430,000 page views a month would cost $92,500 the first year, and $80,000 a year thereafter, example costings in the govCMS product and services guide [PDF] said.
Besides hosting, the plans include regular website database and file backups, with audit logs maintained for seven years, Finance said.
Google analytics can be used, and the sites are fully searchable with different engines and interfaces available as per agencies' requirements.
govCMS features a WYSIWYG content editor that supports drag and drop; blogs, news, promotions; and RSS feeds, among others. The govCMS hosted sites are fully optimised for mobile devices.
Agencies that wish to migrate to govCMS can seek help to transfer their sites to the new platform, Finance said. Additional services such as Drupal website design and development, content strategy, user experience design and more are also accessible.
Finance is also open to feature requests from agencies and said it is committed to the ongoing development of govCMS.