For nearly 10 years, Mass.Gov has successfully organized and aggregated more than 250,000 pages of critical information according to user needs, not government structure. It has been the front door for residents, businesses, visitors and government organizations to find what they need from state government without having to know where to go for it. Mass.Gov, from its inception, has been driven by customer demands, which is the main reason that Mass.Gov's portal is very different from other states in two key areas:
- Mass.Gov consolidates information from hundreds of state websites into the main top-level portal and
- Most Executive Department agencies are a part of Mass.Gov, as are multiple non-Executive Department agencies, such as the Offices of the Treasurer, Comptroller and the Attorney General.
This means that users experience the same look, feel, and navigation from site to site, page to page.
In addition to delivering a top-notch portal, Mass.Gov
- provides core infrastructure and technology enabling more than 300 content contributors in dozens of state secretariats and agencies to create and maintain content relatively efficiently, and
- provides the Commonwealth with a search engine; secure, reliable hosting; and portal disaster recovery.
Mass.Gov is managed by the Information Technology Division within the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. A Portal Advisory Board advises Mass.Gov on strategy, policy and priorities and serves as a forum to advocate for enhancements to the Mass.Gov portal. The Board is composed of management and technology leaders from across state government, including the Governor's office, Office of the Treasurer, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, and Secretariats in the Executive Department.
Customer demands, as well as availability of newer technology options were the motivators to reassess our options. Customers were telling us that they wanted websites that made it easier to find what they need and were very readable. In addition to being driven by customer feedback, our aging suite of proprietary software was hampering our ability to improve Mass.Gov. The content management platform was highly complex, expensive and very difficult to maintain and enhance. Frustrated content contributors viewed the system as hard to use and it limited their ability to flexibly add video, audio, and other new media types that customers were asking for.
Both internal operational and external customer influences prompted us to investigate opportunities for sound capital investments in tools and technology that would ultimately lead to
- redesigned websites that address customer needs,
- improved usability for our customers,
- less costly, more efficient content publishing that meet current security and continuity requirements,
- increased usability for content authors across the Commonwealth,
- increased agility to implement new and enhanced website features in response to the public’s future demands,
- ability to meet accessibility laws and standards,
- better, more effective web-based outreach programs to the public, and
- increased civic engagement.