DM News’ Essential Guide to Interactive Marketing Technology: Government of Alberta

Technology used: Hummingbird Co.’s RedDot Solution’s RedDot CMS version 6.5 content management system

The government of Alberta, Edmonton, wanted various ministries, including Crown corporations and arm’s-length entities, to introduce a standardized content management system. Topping the list of reasons was the amount of content duplication among the provincial government’s sites. Second was the need to standardize or reuse common Web processes. Also, creating a large internal knowledge base for use by all ministries carried benefits. Finally, and most obvious, was the cost savings.

Alberta bought RedDot CMS in 2004. Once installed, eight ministries and 26 projects operated on the shared platform. This is where they create and maintain their projects and publish the site to their own Web server. However, some departments chose to install separate implementations.

In addition to that production environment, the government has a development environment set up for testing and CMS training. It now is testing a clustered RedDot CMS installation. Each ministry or project has its own deployment.

One of the largest implementations was Service Alberta at This collaborative site offers one-stop access to programs and services for the province’s residents. Since the content and target audience were diverse, a true taxonomy-driven site was a must. And the conversion to RedDot CMS was the underpinning for migration to a full portal site.

The government also bought an enterprise license for RedDot Live Server. Like RedDot CMS 6.5, this came with enterprise licenses for automatic update abilities. Live Server lets Service Alberta decentralize its authoring process to all Alberta government ministries and entities. This lets Service Alberta develop a dynamically scalable navigation that accommodates content growth.

With this system, content authors no longer are concerned with linking pages in the appropriate sections of the site. Instead, they focus on accurately labeling the content record with the pertinent taxonomy values — audience, topic and content type, for instance. Live Server dynamically indexes the content records and generates all the navigation. Users can browse the site by topic, audience and content type.

Results: RedDot CMS has prompted “the large adoption and enthusiasm toward content management,” said Aaron Nissen, Web analyst with the Alberta government. “Many departments have been able to produce more consistent-looking Web sites in a shorter amount of time.”

Previous technology used: Some ministries have not yet migrated to RedDot CMS. But each ministry that previously implemented RedDot had its own prior processes for deploying Web sites. Some used manual HTML-coded Web sites. Others used content management systems including Microsoft CMS and other customized offerings.


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