Govdex out, Data#3 takes over Canberra’s digital collaboration


Govdex, the federal government’s digital file-sharing and collaboration platform, has been marked for termination for more than a year now.

Today Finance’s John Sheridan officially signed its death sentence with a blog post announcing ASX listed IT company, Data#3, will be building its replacement.

Unofficially it’s still being called Govdex 2.0.

For the tech nerds, there’s the news that Microsoft has won this latest round for a larger slice of government’s cloud needs.

Microsoft’s Azure team made a big play for Canberra last year, after securing space in the local Canberra Data Centres’ facilities, but it’s not clear if that would have played any role as the tender allowed for non-local hosting.

The new platform will be using Microsoft Office 365.

For the security nerds, there’s no substantive change. It was on public cloud before and it’ll remain on public cloud. Azure will host the new Govdex replacement service, but won’t be taking advantage of the higher security classifications, up to Protected, it recently won permission to host.

Govdex 2.0 will remain limited to Unclassified with a dissemination-limiting marker (such as For Official Use Only), or below.

For existing Govdex users there’s plenty to hope for, but nothing concrete. Sheridan says the aim “is to design, develop and evolve a service offering that is driven by, and responsive to, user needs.” He elaborates:

The new Govdex will provide Government employees and their industry partners with a modern collaboration environment through which they can connect, interact, and coordinate work efforts, seamlessly, across organisational and geographical boundaries. This will help drive public sector productivity and innovation.

The core capabilities of the replacement service will include:

  • Real-time collaboration – members will be able to connect, share and work together using document sharing, real-time document co-authoring, and instant messaging.
  • Online profiles – members will be able to easily discover each other and work together by searching persistent profiles detailing the skills, experience and interests of each member.
  • Discoverable communities – members who administer a community will have the option of an open, semi-private, or private community. The level of access will determine the visibility of the community to other members who might want to be involved.

How you use it, and what you use it for, is still up to individual agencies. Finance promises it will be “hands off”, taking no guardian role on content.

However, a number of existing restrictions appear will remain, including the lack of a communities directory or ‘discovery’ option. The ‘by invitation’ model will continue, and a validated gov.au email address will still be required to create communities, although non-government users may be invited.

Existing users will be contacted in February and April as the project progresses through stages. If you don’t want to wait, the team is contactable via [email protected].

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