Contract boost for Wellington software firm

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 07:26 07/02/2013

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Government websites will switch to free open source software from Wellington firm Silverstripe under an "all of Government" contract that Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain is due to announce this morning.

Internal Affairs estimates the Government spends at least $40 million a year on its 600-plus websites. Backing local software could provide welcome public relations in the wake of the Australian- supplied Novopay software debacle.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said it was critical for Wellington's economy "that we see more successes like this, with local companies being recognised for their abilities to manage significant national contracts".

Internal Affairs selected 33 companies last year, including Silverstripe, to design and develop websites for government agencies through separate all-of- government web services contracts.

The decision to pick Silverstripe as its "common web services platform" following a competitive tender means those firms will use Silverstripe's software in place of about 50 content management systems when carrying out work for government agencies.

Don Christie, co-chair of NZ Rise, which lobbies on behalf of domestic information technology suppliers, said the win was "fabulous" for Silverstripe, which employs 50 staff.

The company was founded by three Wellington College and Scots College graduates in 2000. The trio - Tim Copeland, Sam Minnee and Sigurd Magnusson - still own 84 per cent of the company.

Silverstripe rose to prominence in 2008, when its software was used to manage the website for the United States Democrats' national convention at which Barack Obama was selected as the party's presidential candidate.

Air New Zealand switched from a Microsoft content management system to Silverstripe the following year.

Although its software is free, Silverstripe earns money from developing add-ons and consulting for clients.

Christie said he had observed "a welcome change in tone" from the Government in the past two years. Fairfax NZ

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