One of the main reasons to move your website to the Common Web Platform (CWP) is to save tax payers’ money. It's hard to say what the savings will be for an organisation, as it depends on the size of their online channel. The following information will help agencies to make their financial case.

How much does your website really cost?

It is important to understand the actual cost of an agency’s online channel. This is harder than it seems because sometimes:

  • content writing and publishing tasks are added to staff members’ jobs, without attributing costs to the website.
  • IT departments bundle hosting and maintenance costs into service charges.
  • maintenance, patching and minor enhancements are delivered as project work.
  • costs for replacing aging infrastructure and networks are not considered as website costs.
  • medium term costs of redevelopment projects are not considered, eg procurement, legal, architecture, security, testing and web development.
  • budget is not assigned for ongoing improvement.
  • other costs are not considered, such as strategy, user testing, analytics reporting and analysis, and interaction with the public.

Building the financial case for your agency

To help build your case for using CWP, consider costs under these headings:

  • Enhancement costs
  • Redevelopment costs
  • Content management costs
  • Technical maintenance and hosting costs
  • Migration to CWP costs

The following graphs illustrate how agencies can expect to save money, despite an initial cost to migrate to CWP. The graphs show trends, rather than exact dollar amounts. Add your agency's actual and forecast website costs, then sum them over a 5-10 year period. 

Cost distributions trends moving to CWP, full description of graph below.

Cost distributions trends moving to CWP

This graph shows that the costs in the first year will be higher, as the agency invests in migration and the decommissioning of existing systems. These costs decrease over the second and third years, as the migration activities come to completion. By the third year, the overall operating and enhancement costs are lower than legacy costs. By the fourth year, the costs are much lower than legacy costs, and these reduce more slowly over the next six years. These lower costs are the result of lower redevelopment, content, and enhancement costs.

Cost distributions trends using legacy systems, full description of graph below.

Cost distributions trends using legacy systems

This graph shows the trends for the overall costs of maintaining your legacy systems gradually increasing over ten years. Costs for redevelopment, content and enhancement work remain higher than moving to CWP.

Why are the costs of using CWP lower?

Enhancement costs are expected to be lower, as agencies can:

  • leverage modules and extensions developed by other parts of the public sector
  • use features and improvements developed under the Co-funded development pool
  • share the cost of integrating common capabilities and shared solutions, with other agencies

Redevelopment costs are expected to be lower as:

  • Procurement costs are reduced, as the agency can use CWP without going to tender
  • Starting with the CWP functional and non-functional requirements as a basis, reduces time for business analysts
  • The base CWP install comes with features selected to meet the common requirements of government web projects, reducing development and testing time for a new website. This set of features will grow as the product develops
  • The base CWP install comes with content templates that are set up to support multiple devices, through responsive design. The templates have been tested against the New Zealand Government Web Standards (external link) . Adapting these will reduce development and testing time
  • The agency can leverage security work undertaken for the Platform, reducing the scope of their website security reviews
  • RealMe (external link)  will become part of the CWP offering, reducing time to set up secure user authentication

Content management costs are expected to be lower as:

  • Publishing pages and restructuring content is easier and faster
  • Using a common system across government allows staff to transfer their knowledge between business units and agencies
  • Content management features such as expiry/embargo dates, versioning, import Word documents and multi-language support, reduce the time required to maintain and update content

Technical maintenance and hosting costs are expected to be lower as:

  • Rationalising existing websites to a single system will reduce effort to support and maintain applications
  • Multiple websites can be setup on a single CWP Instance. The agency is charged by number and size of Instances, not by the number of websites
  • Using Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) removes the cost of maintaining and replacing hardware
  • Major Content Management System (CMS) upgrades will be easier, as all CWP-supported modules will be tested by SilverStripe at the time new versions are released

There will be a cost to migrate your websites to CWP. This can be offset against the cost of upgrading, or replacing, current systems that are out of support.

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