ERA case study
Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) administers industry-specific legislation for the Western Australian electricity, gas, rail, and water service industries. The ERA website needed a robust and scalable enterprise content management system capable of managing their thousands of policies, papers, licenses and reports.
The ERA use the latest version of Verdi CMS to help them achieve this but it didn’t start there. The previous incarnation of the ERA was OffGAR, the Office of Gas Access Regulation. OffGAR ran on a custom system built and maintained by IBC for a number of years.
During 2006 OffGAR was amalgamated with a number of other regulation organisations to become the ERA. IBC helped ERA perform a temporary amalgamation of the 6 separate websites that were a part of the amalgamation.
During 2006 ERA went out to tender to find a Content Management System that would help them manage all of the content in a consolidated site. They Chose IBC.
The Challenge for their CMS project
ERA had six websites that it sought to bring together in a single consolidated site to be managed through an appropriate Content Management System (CMS). These existing individual sites were, in the main, industry-sector based. The new consolidated ERA site needed to present ERA as a single organisation, cover the various industry sectors and cater to visitors who may be interested in the broad scope of ERA activities or just one particular industry. The ERA CMS solution would be the ERA’s primary method for disseminating publicly available information to its various stakeholders and interested persons so it was essential that the solution was designed to be user friendly and engaging.
The CMS needed to be managed by non-technical ERA staff to manage the day to day updating of the site content. Site content included an extensive Document Library . ERA staff needed to be able to upload files to the system and to have the files classified within various categories so that they appear and are accessible in the relevant parts of the site.
In addition to the public website, the CMS had to allow for the provision and operation of an ERA Extranet as a separate secure site for restricted remote online access by authorised ERA personnel.
The objectives and business needs of the new CMS site were:
- Develop a single site with a consistent look and feel across all sectors of ERA activities.
- Ensure information is easy to find, navigation is user friendly and as intuitive as possible.
- Provide different entry paths into the content of the site to cater for the needs of different users, user groups and audiences so they can find information quickly and directly.
- Provide a single public repository for all publicly accessible ERA documents. Documents were in multiple formats (Word documents, PDFs, Zip files).
- Ensure the site navigation is flexible so that new sections, sub-sections and pages can be easily changed, updated and enhanced as may be required in the future.
- Ensure that site content updates are able to be done in-house as and when possible.
- Ensure that ERA News items are presented prominently for users to easily access.
- Ensure that the ERA and its website are professionally presented, and that the site is consistent with WA State government website requirements.
- Provide a facility for ERA to provide automated outbound email notification of selected new News items added to the site, with the emails to be sent to subscribers and/or Interested Parties registered on the ERA
IBC built the solution using Verdi V2.6 with a customised Document Library and advanced search interface capable of searching the matrix of data managed through the ERA system.
During the initial setup IBC created a document importer that automatically uploaded documents from the 6 existing websites and imported them into the new developed Verdi CMS Instance.
The ERA solution made extensive use of Verdi CMS’s custom field feature. The system allows administrators to upload new documents into the system and mark a number of industry specific fields about the document. The public website will then automatically ensure that document is linked to from all of the appropriate pages in the site without having to double handle any files.
ERA staff also take advantage of other useful Verdi Features such as the bulk document upload and the template editor.
ERA has since used the Verdi CMS to publish separate websites such as the Western Australian Energy Disputes Arbitrator http://www.edawa.com.au/
IBC Digital have enjoyed working with ERA and helping them grow online. We have also had the opportunity to learn new skills and refine Verdi based on our experiences whilst working with ERA throughout our 10+ year association.
Find out what ERA have to say about working with IBC Digital