Last Friday, I was privileged to be able to attend this year’s DrupalGov. Held at the National Museum in Canberra, DrupalGov is a long-day summit on Drupal in the public sector.
The sessions covered a range of topics split into the categories of Drupal in Government, Coding/ Frontend/DevOps and Case Studies/Panel Discussions. So you could pretty much find a session in each time slot relevant to you.
One of the big themes that came through for me was how Drupal can help empower governments to keep up with new technologies moving forward.
Tim Siers from Oxide Interactive did a talk on how Drupal fits with the future of the Internet. Tim gave us a vision of the world in 2025 and the technology in it. We will no longer be focused on putting content online, as this will be second nature to us. Instead we will be focussing on how this content will be delivered and how to personalise it. Tim discussed how Drupal can be used for cloud computing, mobile devices and apps to help the government provide information and services to the public.
Christopher Skene from PreviousNext talked us through the Drupal distribution they created, aGov. aGov was built as an out of the box solution for government departments so they can quickly and cost efficiently deploy their websites using Drupal. aGov is also available for download from Drupal so any Agency can use it for their government clients. Christopher also outlined the future of aGov and where its heading in V2.0 with the new features in the release of Drupal 8.
Software-as-a-Service on a Public Cloud
John Sheridan, the First Australian Government Chief Technology Officer, was the first Keynote Speaker of the day. John gave everyone a rundown of GovCMS, a Department of Finance initiative to deliver a Software-as-a-Service on a Public Cloud for Government Agencies. The benefits of this initiative includes sharing code, modules and applications between agencies which is expected to significantly reduce costs and time.
Code for a better world
The second Keynote Speaker was Jeffrey A. “jam” McGuire (@HornCologne), Open Source Evangelist and Acquia’s Manager of Community Affairs. His address, Code for a better world: Open Source Drupal + Government really outlined how using Open Source Software like Drupal can empower anyone with access to the internet to communicate with the world. Drupal can help you engage with others, and create online communities.
An example of how Governments have done this using Drupal is We the People. A website built by the White House to engage with the public so they can petition the government (as is their right by the First Amendment). Drupal is the platform that the people can use to have a say in their community and exercise their rights.
The next big point Jeffrey made was that successful digital government means collaboration, transparency, participation and innovation; Drupal can deliver on all 4 of these points just by being Open Source. You can see the slides from his address at Slidee.com.
Overall I think the day was highly successful and inspirational. With a range of attendees from not only the Public Sector, but Private as well, it is easy to see how fast the Drupal Community in Canberra is growing and becoming a real driving force in Government and the reasons why.