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Sydney Water wets market appetite with RFT for website services

by Aleks Vickovich •
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The Sydney Water Corporation is seeking a supplier for the provision of services for a new website environment, according to a request for tender (RFT) published on NSW eTendering on 11 October 2010.  The RFT follows a number of upgrades and reform projects embarked upon in last twelve months by the utility on the ICT front.

The improvements to Sydney Water’s current website come as part of an upgrade of the agency’s broader online channels program.  According to tender documents, the upgrade aims to address:

  • “Re-platform of web infrastructure i.e. solution hosting environment;
  • Incorporation of web publishing and content management capabilities;
  • Enablement of the website as a transactional tool in the future supporting customer, trade and professionals self serve capacity”.

Furthermore, Sydney Water hopes the upgrade will improve engagement with “customers and the community”, attract more visitors to the website and “increase customer satisfaction and online transaction fulfilment”.   

In pursuing these aims Sydney Water requires a supplier that is able to provide:

1.     Infrastructure, including facilities, servers, OD, network, security and storage;

2.    Software, including  portal, web content management, search and user functions; and

3.    Managed services for operations, including software support and disaster recovery.

Sydney Water currently uses Oracle UCM (Universal Content Management – the  product Oracle acquired when it bought Stellent in November 2006) as its Electronic Content Management (ECM) tool for content management and publishing.   The utility has expressed a desire to continue using this software beyond the development of the new system.

In November 2009, a NSW Auditor-General report recommended a number of operational changes in order to ensure projects were delivered according to schedule, citing that of four major projects the corporation  had underway at the time, only one, its Information Management Program (IMP) was tracking to time and budget. 

At the time of the report’s publication, it was stated that the IMP, which was budgeted at $24 million, was due to be completed as per the original service delivery date of June 2011.  The audit report also outlined that the IMP is to “replace previous document management systems and deliver new systems to better access and share information”.

Intermedium reported at the time, that the IMP project was believed to be based on Oracle’s Unified Content Management System.   If this is the case, it will explain Sydney Water’s preference that the UMC be used for the web content management system, given the interrelationships between the objects that both will need to be managed by both systems.

The new website environment is scheduled for phased delivery from January 2011, which will broadly align it with the projected end date for the IMP.

The tender documents dictate that the “solution should be hosted and managed in Australia”.  But despite this condition, the RFT also makes clear that it will be an open tendering process with no restrictions on who may tender.  

It is likely the project will be draw from the $770 million capital expenditure allocation that Intermedium identified in its analysis of the NSW Budget 2010-11, of which $66.4 million is expected to be spent in this financial year.

An industry briefing will be held on 19 October at Sydney Water’s head office, Smith Street, Parramatta NSW.

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