https://blog-digitalparliament.scot/scottish-parliament-beta-cloud-benefits

How the Scottish Parliament’s making the most of the cloud’s benefits

As part of the web and online roadmap project, the Scottish Parliament has introduced new cloud-based services and applications to support our new Beta website.

These services give us the foundations to create an online presence that’s well-designed, up-to-date and meets its users’ needs. And cloud hosting will give us the necessary security, resilience and scalability to deliver the services we’ll need in the future.

We know that searching our current website is one of the things people struggle with. So we’re trying to improve it by using Azure Search. This will make it quicker and easier for people who use the website to find what they want.

And, by using Sitecore as our new content management system, we’re improving the content creation process.

The new infrastructure we’re working on will, eventually, allow the Scottish Parliament to shut down its current website. When that happens, we’ll have a modern platform that will support our new, user-centred website.

Because technology’s ever-evolving, we’ve made sure that these services can support the Parliament’s current and future needs.

We’ve done this through our ongoing technical assurance process, which includes: monitoring services’ quality, managing any issues as they arise and focusing on continuous improvement.

Our technical assurance builds on established developments in data provision. They allow data to be published from internal business systems into our new Beta web estate.

But delivering the Beta website is not just about technology – it’s also about the right mix of people having the right level of skills, and support, to do the job.

We’ve used Agile methodology, and its accompanying values and principles, to build the Beta website.

This has involved collaboration between user-centred design professionals including:

  • Developers
  • Business Analysts
  • Testers
  • Designers
  • Content Designers and Creators

Developing new systems and processes means sharing knowledge efficiently. So, we’ve made sure that everyone who’s involved is being upskilled in the new technologies and approaches.

The beta release is a significant first milestone in our technical journey. As we deliver our plans, there will be more opportunities to improve how we deliver content and data services for the Parliament, and support the user centred design process.

The project team recognises that delivery of this first release of the beta site has relied on the continued work and support of staff and stakeholders from across the Parliament. We're grateful for this support, and are sure that we'll need, and can count on it, going forward.