Greening Australia rectifies data management ‘mess’

With more than 12 Web sites, each with its own look, URLs, and data repositories, Greening Australia has implemented a unified content management system that can be updated from some 80 locations.

Greening Australia’s national communications manager Mary-Anne Scully was charged with overseeing the project that was the result of an internal review.

“We had a mess in terms of our Web presence,” Scully said. “Greening Australia was unable to get the latest information on our various activities – such as tree planting – because of the disparate Web presence.”

The group approached the consolidation project in three phases.

“First was the construction phase which involved setting up the database and CMS,” Scully said.

“Then we undertook the migration phase which involved incorporating data from the existing sites because we did not want to loose any.

Finally, we conducted a training program to help members use the new system.”

The migration phase began with straight links to state Web sites and included importing new data from the states which had no Web presence.

Greening Australia, which has 270 staff and is based in Canberra, chose Microsoft’s SQLServer and CMS for the data management software and Dimension Data for the integration work.

“After speaking with the executive committee I convinced them to trust me to find the right system,” she said. “During the selection process a lot of companies would say ‘we’ll do it for you’; however, as we are a not-for-profit organisation we wanted to manage it in-house. Dimension Data was chosen to help with the work.”

Scully said “about $100,000” was spent on the new CMS, which is expected to pay for itself as a new marketing channel.

“We’ve had a great response from corporates and government departments who now find it much clearer to acknowledge, recognise and support Greening Australia,” she said. “For example, we have partnered with Planet Ark for the first time this year because we now have the capacity. Generally, more companies have approached us.”

Greening Australia has established a Web site review group that meets once per quarter and is now developing a wider data management vision.

“The development of the national Web site was part of a broader knowledge management system we refer to as the KM triangle”, she said.

“The first goal of external data management has been achieved with the CMS, and we now have a data collection and reporting system that collects information – such as GPS details, locations, and aerial maps – on activities such as tree planting and fencing.”

“The next phase is to implement an extranet, or portal. We are looking at SharePoint and hope to go live before the end of the fiscal year.”

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