Originally, Recovery.gov version 1.0… was powered by Drupal, an open source content management platform offering blogs, forums, newsletters and podcasting among its features. But users were not able to follow the recovery funds from beginning to end as the Obama administration had envisioned — and promised. Nor could site administrators use the site to handle the approval process needed to collect, sort and display spending data being collected from recipients of the funds. As a result, the site became a target and verbal punching bag for watchdogs, open government advocates and lawmakers who were underwhelmed with the content and capability of Recovery.gov.
In response, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board charged with tracking stimulus funds made the decision to change not only the site’s look but also its core focus and through the Government Services Administration (GSA) they solicited a contract to redesign the site.
Development time that would have otherwise been spent building a custom 60% solution was freed up by the decision to use SharePoint, and that allowed the team to address other key business problems, such as how to get data from hundreds of disparate sources. And while Microsoft has long been viewed with disdain for their near monopoly on corporate business platforms, this time, it saved taxpayers a good sum of money.
We were just talking about Tim O’Reilly’s comments on the Whitehouse.gov shift to Drupal yesterday, but in this instance the flow has gone completely the other way.