IT Modernization, Open Source

Powering Next Generation Websites with Open Source

Websites across government are undergoing major overhauls to meet the expectations of an increasingly connected and digital savvy populace. So how are government agencies making such dramatic changes on tight budgets and under growing user demands? It’s all happening with open source software.

Open source is more than its colloquial definition of “free” software – it more aptly describes a development culture that’s bringing innovation, ingenuity, and collaboration to the way organizations do business in the modern world. Still, the most successful projects that rest on open source software have strong development teams and providers behind them. While open source is still chosen for its significant cost-savings, established providers offer the levels of security and insurance that public sector customers demand in order to meet compliance standards.


Liferay helps enterprises create portals for employees as well as sites for citizens and customers. Liferay Portal began as an open source project in the early 2000s and today has evolved to a flexible, Java-based web development platform for application development and solution deployment. In use, like with the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, the platform is changing the way public sector organizations interact with their audiences.

GLOBE is an international, primary and secondary school-based science and education program. The organization is currently sponsored by NASA and NSF and is implemented in 108 countries, including the United States. Over their first 15 years of operations, GLOBE data and information systems were based on a variety of technologies that were becoming difficult to maintain and enhance for better user experiences. The GLOBE team was looking to modernize their interface and experiences while keeping the content and legacy data of the original system. Using Liferay Portal, GLOBE was able to integrate user and content management as well as collaboration solutions in an enterprise-grade system. More, they were able to incorporate legacy systems while creating a consistent look and feel across With over 27,000 pages, the new site serves an additional 100,000 customizable user pages with the scalability required to handle more as the program expands.

Find out more about Liferay Portal’s features, including mobile, security, and simplified configuration by downloading this data sheet. And to read more about the successes of the GLOBE project, click here.

Drupal-Based Sites

Similarly, Acquia is helping agencies to think “digital first” when developing their sites. Based on Drupal, Acquia enables government build digital experiences for the 21st century. Their solutions are based on a cloud platform for building, delivering, and optimizing digital experiences that enhance user satisfaction and overall functionality. Acquia is changing the way governments and public sector organizations engage site users.

Roughly one year ago, the State of New York relaunched their legacy website on Drupal in collaboration with Acquia. Over the past year, their new design has tripled their website traffic to nearly 6 million users and annual page views have quadrupled since the launch to 17 million. Similarly, mobile usage to access the site has increased by an astonishing 275%. Perhaps most interesting, however, is the site traffic, which is heavily concentrated on the services section. These visits align well with the New York’s governor’s goal to provide better customer services to state residents.

To learn more about how that State of New York redesigned their website for success, read this article. And to find out more about how Acquia is empowering state and local governments like New York to go digital-first and embrace ‘open’ for the future, listen to this webcast, featuring Director of GeorgiaGov Interactive at the Georgia Technology Authority.

Open source software is empowering government organizations to develop, design, manage, and adapt their websites to changing user demands. To find out more about the benefits of open source vs closed software by downloading this whitepaper.

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