Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Government Department goes for Open-Source Tech

Media Release
4 October 2006


Government Department future proofs website

The Companies Office, a unit of the Ministry of Economic Development, has launched a new website. What is special about the new website is that it is based on ‘Open Source’ software. It is only the third government department to do so but the first one of the “top five” Government sites in NZ (by number of visitors).

The product being used by the Ministry is “Plone”, which is one of the most commonly used Open Source systems for managing website content. Igniter was enlisted by the Ministry to evaluate strategic implications of using an open source content management system for the department.

Stefan Korn of Igniter said today: “The beauty of Plone is that it provides an easy, attractive installation that gives you a professional system without the numerous downsides of commercial packages. The community that have developed and supported it have been passionate about the user experience, and much time has gone into refining and finishing the product.”

“This complete system for managing information competes head to head with major proprietary content management systems. For large organisations, such as government departments, the use of mature open source systems such as Plone provides a real alternative to achieve shorter implementation cycles and a much higher degree of end-user customisation,” Mr Korn said.

Notable users of Plone internationally include NASA, Government of Hawaii, Lufthansa, and University College London.

Justin Hygate, Group Manager Business Registries, of the Companies Office, said: “It would be naïve to think that Plone is free. However the money we saved on software licenses was spent on shaping Plone the way we want it. Going forward we will not be spending money every year on licensing, but we will spend that money on enhancing the system. In this start-up phase Igniter helped us fill in the gaps and made recommendations on how we could best use the system.”

“What sold us on Plone was the user experience and versatility – open standards meant that integrating existing software modules was relatively easy. Plone, rather than the proprietary systems available meant we could have a seamless user experience without the need for using several windows and pop-ups. Under the other systems we found we couldn’t apply transactions and web management in the same window. Plone also fully complies with Government access requirements as set by the States Services Commission.”

“We have been on the Internet for 10 years and have a huge amount of experience in the way users interact with our sites. The Ministry of Economic Development manages 27 sites and the lion’s share of these are in the Business Services branch and are all interfacing with the customers. The savings and learnings using Plone can be repeated over at least 10 more sites,” Mr Hygate said.

Currently the Companies Office is utilising a standard version of Plone but the capability is there to add blogs, wikis and other interactive mechanisms like podcasts. Mr Hygate said the office is very keen to introduce interaction between not only itself and its customers but also customer-to-customer interaction. “It will aid enormously in clearing up any misconceptions people have and misinformation they have about doing business in New Zealand. The Ministry has a role to create an environment which encourages business creativity within New Zealand and the use of Plone is living proof of this.”

“The Companies Office is keen to ensure that we keep in touch with the trends that occur within the use of the Internet as a business enabler. Igniter has been invaluable in providing exposure to these trends, such as Web 2 and the technologies that support them,” Mr Hygate said.

Stefan Korn adds, “I fully expect open source systems to become much more common in the public and private sectors going forward as decision-makers are increasingly tired of vendor lock-in, proprietary interfaces, and ongoing licence or upgrade costs. In a number of application areas such as content management we firmly believe that open source systems provide the best implementation option at present”.

The other government departments and agencies currently using Plone are: The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the E-Government Unit, and the Electricity Commission. More are expected to follow, given that the State Services Commission has written a favourable report on the use of Open Source and Plone.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Must Sell 20 Petrol Stations: Z Cleared To Buy Caltex Assets

Z Energy is allowed to buy the Caltex and Challenge! petrol station chains but must sell 19 of its retail sites and one truck-stop, the Commerce Commission has ruled in a split decision that acknowledges possible retail price coordination between fuel retailers occurs in some regions. More>>

ALSO:

Huntly: Genesis Extends Life Of Coal-Fuelled Power Station To 2022

Genesis Energy will keep its two coal and gas-fired units at Huntly Power Station operating until 2022, having previously said they'd be closed by 2018, after wringing a high price from other electricity generators who wanted to keep them as back-up. More>>

ALSO:

Dammed If You Do: Ruataniwha Irrigation Scheme Hits Farmer Uptake Targets

Enough Hawke's Bay farmers have signed up for water from the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme for it to go ahead as long as a cornerstone institutional capital investor can be found to back it, its regional council promoter announced. More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: OCR Stays At 2.25%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2.25 percent, in a decision traders had said could go either way, while predicting inflation will pick up as the slump in oil prices washes out of the data and capacity pressures start to build in the economy. More>>

ALSO:

Export Values Down: NZ Posts Biggest Annual Trade Deficit In 7 Years

New Zealand has recorded its biggest annual trade deficit since April 2009, reflecting weaker prices of agricultural commodities such as dairy products, beef and lamb, and increased imports of vehicles and machinery. More>>

ALSO:

Currency Events: NZ's New $5 Note Wins International Banknote Award

New Zealand’s new Brighter Money $5 note has been named Banknote of the Year in a prestigious international competition. The $5 note was awarded the IBNS Banknote of the Year title at the International Bank Note Society’s annual meeting. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news