Offerman Consulting
spacer Zone

Dutch civil servant platform Pleio renews architecture

Author: Adrian Offerman

Pleio, the social media and collaboration platform for Dutch civil servants, is being redesigned, lifting the platform to a more professional level. The open source software will be provided with a more modular base architecture, allowing functional components from other platforms to be integrated.

The first pilot, appropriately dubbed Kolab4Pleio, will explore possibilities to integrate Pleio and Kolab, an open-source groupware platform. At the moment, all architectural options are still open: the Pleio platform might integrate components from other platforms, the Pleio architecture might be integrated with the Kolab architecture, or the complete core of Pleio might be replaced with the one from Kolab.

100,000 users

The Pleio portal supports participation, collaboration, file sharing/sending, task management, and consultation functionality. Communities and content are organised in groups and sub-portals related to specific projects, programmes and themes. Two weeks ago, the portal reached the milestone of 100,000 users.

We are seeing a shift from individual to organisational users, says Harrie Custers, a member of the board at Pleio and, until recently, an advisor at the Dutch tax administration. They require guarantees on continuity and availability. That's why we are professionalising. For example, we changed our contribution/donation model to a subscription model. And people from the provinces will be added to the board, allowing them to organise their interests in the platform.

New features

Currently, users control the direction the Pleio platform is heading. Their donations are managed by Custers' colleague Marcel Ziemerink. He maintains a list of features and their priorities. Suppliers like Kolab are contributing to Pleio too. Often, 80-85 percent of a new feature is already there. The remaining part is either already planned by the community or we will find a way to make it happen.

Now that we are changing from an informal to a more formal or hybrid organisation, we aim to professionalise without losing our clout and community interaction. That's why our architectural exploration with Kolab still has the form of a prototype. If it works, we are able to show the value of this strategy. And if not, we publish the lessons learned, which has value on its own.