DTA reveals its three-step myGov overhaul path

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DTA reveals its three-step myGov overhaul path

After horror week for existing portal.

The Digital Transformation Agency has revealed its three-step path to an updated myGov digital services platform that promises citizens a single, tailored view of all their interactions with the federal government.

In a week dominated by problems with the existing online service portal due to the unprecedented number of people seeking welfare services, the agency has offered fresh detail on its vision for the new platform.

It follows an industry briefing with system integrators and strategic partners looking to work with the DTA on the build on Monday, when Services Australia was scrambling to increase capacity to a platform under siege

A prototype of the platform also called the government digital experience platform (GOVDXP) that will initially “operate as an extension to, and in parallel with, myGov” has already been designed and developed by the DTA and Services Australia.

Source: Digital Transformation Agency

But the prototype, which resembles that of recognisable social media platforms such as Facebook, is intended to eventually give citizens a single, tailored view of their interactions with government, in particular Services Australia.

It is considered a key element of the government’s vision for Services Australia, which has been remade in the image of Service NSW to replicate its successful digital-first, one-stop shop government services model nationally. 

Three horizons

The DTA has detailed three key releases - or horizons - for the project, each of which will add further functionality to the myGov update platform, which builds on “existing technical platforms maintained by Services Australia”.

“The intent is to continually enhance the product and productionise features, to support the end state future myGov update platform,” the DTA said in the requirements document for the platform.

Horizon zero, which showcases the design principles of the new platform has already been released as a new Australia.gov.au home page that offers information on the current coronavirus pandemic.

The solution, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services through Cloud.gov.au, is comprised of the Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analysis and Adobe Campaign, and could eventually integrate with other platform like Notify.gov.au.

“The demonstrated prototype currently has no third-party integration but demonstrates the intended target state of services which may be exposing APIs over time for us to connect to,” the DTA said.

Big four consultancy Deloitte has been selected for an initial 90-day sprint to configure the prototype - which it expects to be complete in May - and perform additional user research and service design for the prototype.

Under horizon one, the DTA, working with a new system integrator and strategic partner, will develop a new government platform that “provides personalised content, with a web-based myGov inbox, opt-in notifications and login access to myGov” from July.

The DTA then intends to build out the platform, so that it becomes a “place where people can browse information and, once logged in, manage their interactions with government in a central place”.

“The new front end will provide dashboard, profile, inbox and forms, along with information systems such as content pages and notifications,” it said in a blog post.

“An integration layer will sit over the myGov systems, providing a way for information to flow back and forth between the myGov website and the myGov systems.”

“The platform will collect services, apps and other customer experience capabilities to give users everything they need.”

“This will operate on a 'Netflix' model, providing users with what they need to do next based on their previous interactions with government services — similar to Netflix’s 'recommended for you'.

While no date for when horizons one and two will be complete beyond a July start date, the DTA  has not altered its procurement timeline in light of COVID-19.

The week that was (is)

Details of the work follows a difficult few days for Services Australia, which failed to successfully scale to accommodate the influx of people who flooded myGov after loosing their jobs to the coronavirus induced shutdown on Monday.

Problems with the existing platform have since tapered after the agency increased capacity to 150,000 concurrent users, more than 25 times what myGov could support last week.

Government services minister Stuart Robert on Wednesday said myGov had facilitated 2.6 million logins during the day, bringing the total since Tuesday to just under six million.

myGov logins currently average at around 500,000 each day, with the previous busiest day occurring during the 2019 taxtime period last July, where 1.8 million logins were recorded in a single day.

Robert said Services Australia would continue to add more capacity to myGov to support the unprecedented number of people attempting to access welfare services.

“We’re upgrading myGov capacity by creating more load space in our ICT systems to accommodate the surge in demand,” he said.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation and adjust so we can allow as many people to use myGov without compromising overall systems stability.” 

The myGov meltdown was initially blamed on a “significant distributed-denial-of-service attack” that didn’t happen.

Robert has now admitted he ‘jumped the gun’ and did not wait for the outcome of Service Australia’s investigation before blaming the traffic surge on a cyber attack.

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