We're not forcing SilverStripe on you: DIA

SilverStripe may only have a year to exploit its exclusive status after it won the all-of-government common web platform contract

SilverStripe’s successful bid for the all-of-government common web platform contract represents an initial stage of development and the New Zealand company may have as little as a year’s window to exploit its exclusive status.

SilverStripe was awarded the contract last month.

DIA online services product manager Bene Anderson told a recent seminar on the web platform strategy that media criticism of the all-of-government contract is unjustified. “We’re not trying to take over the world of web and tell all government people ‘you must use this solution’,” he says. Use of the platform, based on SilverStripe’s content management system (CMS), is voluntary.

Moreover, though the project starts with one content management system, “as part of the common web platform, there’s an operational review board that gets together once a year and they might [find] 25 agencies are screaming for a similar platform using a different technology. If that were the case and [two or more alternatives] made sense then it could be extended,” Anderson says.

The current platform represents an initial strategy with “limited scope” he says, applying to simple websites without complex database-access needs and with a choice of one CMS. In future the strategy could be expanded in both respects.

“It’s a choice; I hope it’s a compelling choice. I will be promoting it; but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t suit your business needs, that’s your agency’s choice; it’s not being forced on you,” Anderson told the seminar.

The development is an example of platform-as-a-service; a managed infrastructure that sits at the bottom of the stack, provided by Revera through the government infrastructure-as-a service contract. SilverStripe will install the CMS and provide services to support the website developers in – or retained by – the agency. The choice of function and look-and-feel is for the individual agency, though the platform will include website templates.

A single platform will make it possible to impose uniform standards of accessibility and, in particular, security, says Anderson.

In July this year, DIA plans to connect its identity management scheme, RealMe, to the platform. The RealMe brand will then apply to the whole of the service. The internal government brand at present is iGovt; the name RealMe has applied only to the planned version of the service, in collaboration with NZ Post, that verifies identity for private-sector transactions.

One aim of the web-platform arrangement is to improve collaboration and reuse, and a central repository will be set up for participating agencies to contribute pieces of code and uncontroversial data – one agency might, for example, create a list of New Zealand towns that would be useful to others as part of their website. SilverStripe will provide the repository, but will not control its content.

Charging scales for the service are not being generally released and will be supplied to aspiring users only when they have signed a memorandum of understanding.




"In July this year, DIA plans to connect its identity management scheme, RealMe, to the platform."

Given how complicated it is to "connect" iGovt/RealMe to anything, is it actually even WORTH doing that??? Especially given the fact that this platform is for "simple websites without complex database-access needs". You're going to be able to log in with your iGovt/RealMe login - that proves that you are who you say you are and gives you single sign on - to a basic content-only website. What is the point in that????



If SilverStripe enable the egovt ATOM implementation, then it's also a chance to make NZ govt news feeds machine processable and customized, allowing more relevant information to NZers



That's pretty unfortunate messaging to be sending out at this stage of the roll out of CWP. The local IT industry is gearing itself up to be providing Silverstripe CMS support and service and so far has been impressed with the workshops provided by Silverstripe.

It's an inclusive platform - being open source - and process.

A shame to send out confusing signals to the sector at this stage.



It's nuts to create a really good, secure hosting platform for Government agencies, but then say you can only use it if you use SilverStripe. Of course DIA should let other agencies host on the platform using whatever CMS they wish (aka Drupal).

That said, SilverStripe is a great CMS.



National came up with a new strategy for trying to save money in ICT. DIA is not the right place, will never be the right place, and is holding all of us back. This is just another example.

They haven't delivered anything for years apart from Commercial constructs which arguably could have sorted themselves out with market forces. Quite frankly, it's an embarrassment when you look at the simple, easy, and innovative opportunities that have ended up dried, dead bones in the desert that is DIA.

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