With the upcoming OASIS conference being held at the Microsoft HQ in Washington DC, and my first session being focused on “Digital Government”, it’s helpful to showcase what their offering is.
Cloud Connected Government
Digital Government is the headline program recently announced by the new Whitehouse CIO, Steven VanRoekel.
It describes a number of technical domains that can be harnessed to enable the public sector to better drive more innovation, and these domains are nicely explained by looking at what Microsoft offers in these areas.
These are illustrated through their white paper developed with one of their strategist partners CSTransform – The Connected Government Framework (83-page PDF), which highlights key points such as:
- Connected Government Reference Architecture – The backbone of this program is a technical architecture for integrating legacy on-premise applications and new Cloud applications, where an Enterprise Service Bus can better unite data from across these different environments.
- Cloud Identity – Via a system of ‘Relying Parties’ and open standards for Identity like OpenID, citizens can leverage existing log-on systems like Windows Live to streamline how quickly and easily they can access these new apps.
- Crowdsourcing and Social Media – The Azure-based Town Hall app enables public sector agencies to utilize Crowdsourcing models for better citizen engagement, and they also make use of public social media like Facebook, that is blended into the web site portal.
- Integrated Cloud BPM – These social interactions trigger various business processes, and agencies can use a mix of Cloud apps, those on Azure as well as Office 365, to empower staff with the full suite of collaboration tools needed to fulfill these workflows.
Cloud Best Practices
The critical aspect is the ability to leverage the Cloud to share best practices.
In the paper they showcase examples like the ‘Virtual Rucksack’, an app that utilizes all of the common components described above to provide a new, very helpful service for homeless people in Birmingham, UK.
It’s highly likely that there are homeless in Birmingham, USA as well, amongst many other locations throughout the world, and for each location to ‘reinvent the wheel’ and develop their own app for this need is a highly inefficient approach inherent to traditional IT.
In contrast the Cloud will provide a framework for global collaboration, where public sector agencies can learn about what programs are successful in these areas, and simply ‘Download and Run’ the apps that make this possible.