Case study: Services Australia on the frontline during Covid-19

Tuesday, 21 July, 2020

Services Australia is one of the most visited PaaS websites on the GovCMS platform. During the COVID-19 pandemic, visits to servicesaustralia.gov.au surged to unprecedented levels.

When the Prime Minister announced government payments to ease the initial impact of COVID-19, active users on the website increased from the normal 2,500 Sunday night users to 15,000.

Knowing this was a sign of things to come Services Australia reached out to GovCMS.

‘We were experiencing traffic loads in excess of 650 per cent of normal peak traffic. While servicesaustralia.gov.au continued to perform well, we needed a plan to ensure the platform would remain stable. We hadn't experienced this level of traffic and it continued to increase,’ said Mark Greed, Website Technical Manager, Services Australia.

GovCMS offers more than content management and website hosting. It is a supportive community, not often practiced at this scale in government.

‘We collaborated with GovCMS to upscale the database. This was executed seamlessly in a tight time frame and under significant pressure, said Mark.

Over the following days GovCMS and Services Australia worked together to increase the capacity of servicesaustralia.gov.au to meet future surges in traffic. This built on scale and stability improvements in progress prior to the pandemic. It improved the scalability of the platform.

‘It meant we were able to supply information to the public during a pandemic with no outages. This supported real people and their ability to care for themselves and their families,’ said Susie Smith, General Manager, Communications Division, Services Australia.

Services Australia was initially cautious making large changes to servicesaustralia.gov.au while so many users were on it. However, the platform with the upgraded database proved capable. We were able to make most changes to the website regardless of the number of users.

‘I’m delighted with the reliability and support we’ve been able to provide agencies. It ensured Australians were able to access information to keep themselves safe’ said Sharyn Clarkson, GovCMS Founder and Assistant Secretary of Online Services at the Department of Finance.