CFA looked for a largely ‘out-of-the-box’ solution that could quickly and easily be deployed. The Elcom proposal provided CFA with the confidence that their solution would give their teams the most freedom and flexibility to manage their websites internally. For example, the ability to simplify the publishing process using structured authoring for use by the broader CFA membership and the ability to access and manage virtually all aspects of the site within their own team post-launch.
CFA were also looking to establish a strong ongoing relationship with the chosen vendor to ensure that future business needs are met in a timely and sustainable way. Elcom had the proven experience and history working with government organisations to do this.
Elcom’s project and delivery teams worked closely with CFA to ensure the project ran smoothly. The team provided an efficient and professional service, as well as innovative solutions to help CFA achieve their vision.
Digital Experience Platform (DXP)
The DXP streamlines the management of the sites and empowers CFA to continually improve each site internally. Security permissions are in place to restrict and allow access to different publishers. To support site administrators, the Elcom DXP provides a variety of system-generated reports including authoring activity, list of pages due for review and content inventory.
There is robust support for metadata, which improves site search and the underlying management of the site. Fields such as location, category and content type are used to drive the display of information on the site. When the review date is reached, an automatic notification via email is sent to the content author. When the expiry date and time is set and then reached, the page is automatically unpublished. The DXP also provides versioning capabilities to help manage changes to the site, which includes a full audit trail of changes in the platform.
There is a focus on ease of use for authors and administrators. A ‘draft’ version of pages can be accessed by staff throughout the organisation and publishers can email a link to a draft page, to allow for comments or feedback. Forms are created with a simple drag and drop interface, with the option of delivering more advanced and dynamic forms including hiding or displaying fields based on answers to previous questions, support for managing approvals for forms, the ability to support a digital signature, and support for attaching files to form submissions.
SAML has been deployed at CFA as the standard basis for user authentication across a range of systems. The Elcom Digital Experience Platform uses SAML to manage core user identities and authentication. Group membership within SAML is the primary basis for the rights and permissions in the new sites.
News & Media Website
This website enables CFA’s members to submit news articles and photos for other CFA members and the public. Members submit their content using a form which autogenerates an article based on the form submission fields. It goes through a workflow and is approved by CFA’s communications team before being published.
The website delivers a large amount of potentially life-saving information in a user-friendly way that can be tailored based on where you are in Victoria. It provides all bushfire safety information and warnings in the one location that is used by most Victorians when fire danger forecasts are high. There are various data sources integrated across website, including a ‘Local information’ page that provides localised fire safety information to Victorians. The data is dynamic and changes regularly, managed through a RESTful API from the data source.
Website content is driven by seasonal weather changes, as the weather goes from winter (lower vegetation fire risk) to summer (higher vegetation fire risk). The platform allows CFA to manage two different sets of page templates and designs, relating to winter and summer mode, without requiring technical knowledge.
The intranet provides a user-friendly ‘front door’ of the information, tools and applications for members to carry out their various roles. It is an important communications tool to keep members informed of news and events happening across the organisation. Like the website, the intranet integrates data from various corporate sources to provide incident information and documents. For example, the homepage features an Incident List which displays details of incidences including district number, location, date and number of vehicles attending. Only the top 5 incidents are listed, though the user can open the ‘All Incidents’ list. This content is dynamic and is integrated with comes from an internal CFA system.
Personalised experiences for users are managed through detailed access restrictions that are used to determine which sections of the intranet are shown to each audience. Internally, CFA has implemented Elastic Search as an enterprise search engine, encompassing the intranet. In order to display the correct search results on the intranet for a given individual, the platform has integrated with Elastic, to enable ‘security trimming’.
The ability for members to add links to their favourite pages to the home page is an important enhancement to their intranet as no home page design or navigation could ever cater for all the various roles and activities that CFA volunteers and staff need to access.
The Member News section will also provide the ability for members to share their stories across the organisation in a way that was not possible before.