Immigration goes .Net

The New Zealand Immigration Service is planning to adopt Microsoft's .Net technology as it consolidates its websites under a managed hosting agreement.

The New Zealand Immigration Service is planning to adopt Microsoft’s .Net technology as it consolidates its websites under a managed hosting agreement.

NZIS runs one main immigration site and others that offer information specific to business migration, settlement, particular immigration branch offices and different language groups. It believes information content is duplicated or overlaps between the sites, which creates cost inefficiencies.

The sites are managed internally within NZIS’s eservices unit, but the department is looking for an ISP to carry out content management services, leaving NZIS staff simply updating information using standard templates. The service would be based on a monthly charge with the NZIS not buying or managing the technology used to provide it.

NZIS eservices market manager Richard Roos says the NZIS is placing its architecture platforms on a .Net footing, after a review by NZIS staff. The website currently works under Unix.

The .Net-compliant content management system would look after the consolidated website, providing simpler publishing processes, rapid information refreshing and bringing consistent information, navigation and branding, says Roos. It will have to comply with e-government guidelines and meta data exchange with the e-government portal. It will also provide integrated information to NZIS clients during their whole interaction with NZIS, he says.

NZIS sites receive 300,000 user sessions a month, amounting to more than 100GB of traffic.

The RFI for the project closed a week ago, attracting about 20 applicants. The proposals request is due to close this week and a final decision is hoped for within a few weeks.

Roos says it is likely the winning tender will be from a “big brand” ISP, but smaller companies will also be considered if they can meet the security requirement of providing a government website. Providers must be based in New Zealand.

In time the managed service option could cover the NZIS intranet, which the department is looking to replace.

Roos says he hopes to have “the basic infrastructure” up and running by November/December, with final testing and everything in place by mid-2003.

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