Well, the fireworks have all exploded, the champagne has stopped flowing and the sun has risen on 2012. Pope Gregory XIII introduced our calendar in 1582 after making a few allowances for discrepancies around the fact that an Earth year does not divide exactly into a precise number of whole days. With a few adjustments here and there, the years have been pretty much ticking over like clockwork ever since.
Regardless of the religious and ceremonial significance of various calendar dates, one year more than anything is a complete cycle of seasons, with New Year being near enough to the summer solstice for us southerners. 10 days either way doesn’t seem to stop us from reflecting back on the last 365 days it took to bring us back to where we started, facing the sun in the summer heat, enjoying some time off work, assessing the year that was and looking forward to another one.
2011 was a dynamic and exciting year at Cyrius Media Group. It was also a year of consolidation, housekeeping and rationalisation, clearing a path for the future. We had some significant achievements, challenges, hard work and a lot of fun.
Perhaps our two biggest achievements for the year were the launches of both the public Website and internal staff intranet (which they call their InfoNet) for the City of Ryde Council. The public site was a huge collaborative effort between Council staff in various departments, including IT, Community Life and Records Management, the graphic design team at Spoonful Design (http://www.spoonfuldesign.com.au/), and our own people at Cyrius, particularly our senior Web programmer, Shawn Drew. Council uses a Document Management System called TRIM, with an attached Web Content Management System called WCM. XSLT is the language that WCM speaks and Shawn did a magnificent job in adding to his multilingual capabilities.
The Website is a huge part of Council’s communication and information delivery and customer service strategy – not to mention branding, event promotion and community relations – so there was a great deal to be asked of the system. After much planning on the Council’s part, collaboration with the CMS developer and all the stakeholders, the site launched in June 2011.
Within days of the public Website launching, all hands were on deck to revamp the staff Intranet to the same standard, using the same system. This project brought in more departments, including communications and customer service. The InfoNet is an integral part of internal information management and facilitates access to documents and information that staff needs to deliver to the public. The launch of the InfoNet was planned for the staff ‘Celebrate Success’ day. We certainly all celebrated success when it went live that day!
2012 begins with the commencement of third in the trilogy – the City of Ryde Councillor Portal. We are very much looking forward to bringing that in line with the other two city assets.
While all this Council work was being undertaken, we had a few other irons in the fire. Throughout the year we launched about 6 other Websites and revamped or maintained many more.
The year ahead is certainly charged with both promise and uncertainty as we all participate in the great global experiment called modern civilization, enhanced with the Internet. As we have seen recently, the Web challenges many nations to reform their politics and it challenges many others to collaborate on solving some of the big problems the world faces as population outstrips resource availability and financial systems feel the strain of having been set up before the world became so switched on.
Cyrius believes that the best thing that we can do is engage both locally and globally. Global engagement means sharing the best ideas and best practice – ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’, as the TED Conference says – and local engagement means putting those ideas into practice on a level that is achievable. Cities are the new unit of civilization, as our creative director discovered at the 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Brisbane. They are small enough to be quantifiable, flexible enough to be able to adopt innovative solutions and approaches and with more and more of the world’s population living in more and more cities, once an idea is tried and proven in one city, it is easy to implement in every other city. Sites like www.citymart.com and www.mindmixer.com are just the kind of catalysts for such change.
It’s an exciting time for anyone participating in the process and we are very much looking forward to doing what we can to help push things along.
Happy New Year!!