As part 4 of our GovCloud series, we can build on the previous blog about PaaS (Platform as a Service) and highlight how one implementation option for this is Salesforce.com, via their Force.com service.
* This is one of the key topics of our upcoming MaaS webinar.
Salesforce.com recently declared their ambitions for the public sector with the hiring of Vivek Kundra, previously Whitehouse CIO who led the whole Cloud First revolution.
This will have an accelerating impact not just for Salesforce.com but for the Government Cloud market as a whole. It will catalyze a big interest and uptake in Salesforce.com as a government SaaS option.
OpenGov PaaS – Digital Fuel for the 21st Century
Vivek continues his vision for Cloud Computing in Government in a white paper also recently released, called ‘ ‘Digital Fuel for the 21st Century‘ (21-page PDF).
In this document Vivek describes his involvement in creating a revolution through Open Data, a revolution that has provided citizens with the tools for them to drive higher standards in Government, ending corruption amongst other hugely important advances.
Open Data can be seen as the ideal companion for the Cloud Service Model that NIST call ‘PaaS’ – Platform as a Service, when we see both within this context that Vivek describes, as ultimately it is principally about citizen empowerment and decision-making democratization.
‘Citizen journalists’ is the term used to describe members of the public who write blogs to provide reporting about Government and so in the same ‘citizen developers’ are the individuals who are creating new software applications that adds new value to government data.
No one asks them to and often they’re not paid, but they see a need in the market that no one else does and they create a service to fulfil that need, because the relevant government agency has enabled them to do so by publishing the data they use.
Building a PaaS strategy is the same dynamic. It includes building a standardized service catalogue amongst other elements but fundamentally the key point is about developer enablement.
SaaS (Software as a Service) is for business users and PaaS is for software developers, and the Platform makes it easier for them to create new applications quicker. In short it can be a mechanism for delegating authority to a new audience of software developers.
These developers don’t have to be staff, they can be these individual open data citizens and entrepreneurs, and hence why we’re likely to see this become a key focus area for Salesforce.com as they finalize their government strategy.
Publishing open data is one way of empowering these citizens, and so would be creating PaaS environments for them to use as well, especially if they two are combined. With Salesforce also already offering an App Store that these new open data applications could be published to, the SaaS vendor is very well positioned for the public sector expansion that is going to follow shortly.