Federal depts gear up for online deadline

The Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business' (Dewrsb) will halve the time it takes to update its Web sites when a new platform implementation is completed next month.

Steve Nolan, technical director for the department, said that, on average, Dewrsb publishes about 3500 pages a year, each taking about an hour to publish. "Now it will take only 30 minutes," he said.

With the implementation of the platform, from Vignette, he said: "We expect savings, not only from an IT point of view, but also from specific savings in the licensing costs of specific Web publishing tools, training - on which we were spending a lot of money - and the time taken to publish a [Web] page." Savings would also result from the platform's ability to "hook" into an existing in-house content management database and the fact that users could use a Web interface to publish their content.

Nolan said he expects the first of the department's Web sites to use Vignette's V/Series products, the new Business Entry Point (www.business.gov.au), to be online by mid-August.

The site will provide information for businesses from all levels of government as well as key industry and business associations.

The Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts has also selected the Internet application company to drive part of its online solution, targeted for launch shortly. (CW June 18 2001, p10) Both departments said one of the main reasons for the revamp of their Web sites rested with their obligation to meet the requirements of the Federal Government's Online strategy, which requires agencies to have 90 per cent of all appropriate services online by the end of 2001.

Nolan said the content for the department's 20-plus Web sites would be published through the Vignette products and, by using other products within the suite, the department would be able to analyse what the customer is doing on the site. The suite's products would also let the department set up online marketing campaigns.

"The new Business Entry Point Web site will be our pilot site; when we are happy with the performance of the site we will move on to two other projects - putting the department's intranet and annual report online by September."

Nolan said the rest of the Dewrsb site will then be revamped and Web sites for associated agencies will be progressively overhauled.

The project is expected to be complete within 12 to 18 months.

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