Two years late and a higher bill for the new “super simple” SÉPAQ website

Two years late and a higher bill for the new “super simple” SÉPAQ website
Two years late and a higher bill for the new “super simple” SÉPAQ website

The new “super simple” website of the Société des establishments de plein air du Québec (SÉPAQ) will finally be delivered two years late and costs 17% higher than expected.

• Read also: The new CEO of Sépaq promises a “super simple” online reservation system

For several years, outdoor enthusiasts have had to equip themselves with a compass to carry out research and transactions on the SÉPAQ website.

The state-owned company is therefore working to resolve this problem and ensure that reservations can be made “in three clicks”, as illustrated by the organization’s CEO, Martin Soucy, in an interview with THE Newspaper in February.

According to what was initially planned, the project was to be completed last summer. It will ultimately not be until 2025, and the bill will then reach $2,760,700, or $403,700 more than the original budget, an increase of 17.1%.

Pandemic and cybersecurity

The initial schedule having been developed in the summer of 2020, SÉPAQ blames these delays on the pandemic, which forced its IT teams to devote their efforts elsewhere to ensure things ran smoothly.

“This is a project that we are carrying out completely internally, and with the pandemic, our IT team really had a lot of projects to carry out as a priority,” underlined the spokesperson for the state-owned company, Simon. Boivin.

To give just one example, SÉPAQ has set up an online reservation system and adjustable quotas so that each national park can manage traffic in its establishments on a daily basis.

“As for costs, these delays obviously had an impact due to inflation,” added Mr. Boivin.

Furthermore, the increase in the bill could also be explained by the government’s new cybersecurity requirements.

“We added protective measures to deal with the threat of cyberattacks and malicious methods which are increasing, and this also contributed to increasing the cost of the project,” said the spokesperson.

No more mazes

Ultimately, the new website should no longer look like a maze: it will be easier to go from research to booking an activity, and all the elements (timetables, how to get there, map library ) will be grouped in the same block of information to simplify planning a visit.

The menu will also be simplified, so as to allow searching for a destination by tourist region. Finally, the site will allow navigation adapted to all types of devices.

For now, the work is 69% complete, according to the government’s information resources dashboard.

“We are finalizing the navigation architecture. The work is progressing well, we are confident of delivering the site within the new schedule and the new budget,” indicated Simon Boivin, emphasizing the complexity of the task.

“There is a lot of information to organize,” he breathed. We are talking about booking different types of accommodation, campsites, yurts, chalets, and different activities in the 46 establishments in the network.”

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