Georgia.gov, the official website of the State of Georgia, is the portal to more than 65 state agency websites that offer information and services for citizens. As director of Georgia.gov Interactive, I must maintain a cost-effective digital platform that ensures citizens can quickly and easily find information they need. But with 65 agency sites, and thousands of pieces of content, it's not always an easy task.
In 2012, my team used two distinct versions of a costly, 10-year-old proprietary content management system (CMS) that offered little help managing traffic across each of the 65 sites. My team spent most of its time just keeping the sites live. We needed a newer enterprise-level system that could help us sustain multiple sites without multiplying our maintenance efforts, one that was cost-effective, wouldn't require lots of upkeep, and was intuitive enough to allow users of all levels to easily manage individual sites. And the system had to provide a completely user-centric experience.
We engaged with our partner Phase2 -- a web strategy and enterprise content management firm and builder of the OpenPublic Drupal distribution -- to create a platform to help us give citizens better access to information while cutting out waste. We devised a strategy with Acquia, Phase2, and Mediacurrent to migrate, rebuild, redesign, and support our outdated CMS, transforming it into a single cohesive system. We migrated content to an in-progress development site, allowing reviewers to address migration issues as various stages of development were completed, saving time and ensuring all necessary new features were added along the way.
And because traffic on each site varies throughout the year, we often need to rapidly adjust the available content. To do this most effectively, we selected Acquia Cloud for our Drupal application lifecycle management. Cloud hosting gives us the agility and elasticity needed to easily onboard additional websites without the hassle of provisioning new servers.
Where we are now
Within 12 months, we completed the entire redesign and migration of more than 65 sites to the Drupal platform, becoming the first state government to do a full enterprise Drupal implementation. Our new platform promotes consistency and flexibility across all agency sites and offers a faster, easier way to add new online services and sites.
With the help of Acquia, Phase2, and Mediacurrent, Georgia.gov has become a completely user-centric site, where citizens can quickly find state resources. With this new redesign, Georgia.gov was one of the first state websites to be responsive, allowing citizens to access these resources across every type of device. We knew this would be an increasingly important feature for citizens. Last month, the mobile traffic for one of our sites surpassed desktop web traffic. Today, overall platform traffic is around 25 percent, up from 4 percent just a few years ago.
With these improvements, we've seen a significant increase in site traffic. We expect the move to Drupal and Acquia Cloud will generate savings of $4.7 million over five years, and the move to cloud hosting freed us from managing multiple servers. Acquia and Phase2 continue to provide us with the resources we need to create meaningful and cost-effective digital experiences on Georgia.gov
— Nikhil Deshpande is director of Georgia.gov Interactive