Microsoft FutureFed: Gov 2.0 – What does it mean to the Federal Government?

Amid the excitement and flurry surrounding a new administration, Federal agencies and workers must remember the call for transparency and accountability. To do so, they must understand and embrace the concept of “Gov 2.0.” Like Web 2.0, taking advantage of Internet technology and Web design, Gov. 2.0 will, according to the Wikipedia definition, “enhance creativity, communications, secure information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the Web.”

President Obama set an example during his campaign by leveraging Web 2.0 communities and technologies, such as Twitter and text messaging, and he understands the value and the opportunity technologies like them provide to creating the transparent and interactive government he has promised.

But how does a Federal agency adopt Gov. 2.0 to create something useful and meaningful for its agency and constituents? There are five key opportunities that support the vision to empower citizens and create the efficient government envisioned by the Obama Administration:

* Citizen services must meet the increasing expectations of citizens in a managed, controlled, and cost-effective way while increasing responsiveness and access to critical services. Not only will doing so make it easier for agencies to interact with citizens, but it will also streamline processes and, as a result, save time and taxpayer dollars.
* Citizen engagement includes an opportunity for outreach to, interaction with and participation of key constituents in an open and collaborative way. It provides an opportunity for citizens to work with government, whether in an emergency situation, helping to solve challenges, or provide ideas, etc.
* Security enhanced collaboration to connect staff through security enhanced portals and enables the exchange of data online. It should also include citizen relationship management solutions that allow agencies and staff to work more securely and integrate across organizational boundaries to access people and agency information from anywhere.
* Helping Secure data to simplify and optimize the identity management infrastructure and create environment in which no single breach of trust will expose critical data.
* Compliance and accountability to meet the mounting pressure to better align organization’s performance and improve agency accountability to its citizens while adhering to Federal mandates like FISMA and ISO 27002 regulations. This includes the opportunity for Federal agencies to evaluate how emerging technologies, such Cloud Computing and desktop-to-server virtualization can help them reduce their total cost of ownership.

There are challenges to getting to Gov. 2.0. One of the more daunting is revenue shortfalls created by our dismal economy. Others include an aging workforce; the need to ensure security and identity protection; the reality of an aging and possibly outdated technology and disparate technologies that could impede progress; and the need to understand and comply with myriad regulations.

President Obama made it clear that technology is an enabler, so while it may not be easy to get to Gov. 2.0, it is possible. It’s a great opportunity for government to create greater transparency and transform government to be more efficient, and empowering citizens to take part in government.

What do you think? Is America ready for Gov. 2.0? What do they need to do to get there?

Susie Adams is the Microsoft Federal Civilian and IGO Chief Technology Officer.

This post was taken from Microsoft FutureFed: http://blogs.msdn.com/uspublicsector/default.aspx

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Ari Herzog

The first step is improving the infrastructure, e.g. updating the White House server from IIS to Apache.

The second step is having one voice across the Administration, so Army.mil and USA.gov are saying the same stuff.

Everything else will come naturally.

Scott Horvath

Actually, I think we should start out smaller than that. How about stopping the blocking of websites within the Federal Government? I can’t access the majority of “2.0” serivces and sites. How can we work toward Gov 2.0 if we can’t even get access to 2.0 sites?