News | May 15, 2008

Microsoft Announces U.S. Availability Of Citizen Services 'E-Government'

Miami, FL - Governments at all levels are increasingly asked to respond to demands for improved service and efficiency. Microsoft Corp. and its partners are meeting this challenge through the availability of an applications platform, the Citizen Service Platform (CSP), which will make it easier for governments to interact with citizens, streamline processes and, as a result, save time and taxpayer dollars. Together with its partners, Microsoft's CSP offerings will help governments of all sizes more responsively deliver services to citizens via the Internet. Today's announcement was made at the Public Technology Institute 2008 Technology Leadership Conference and Expo being held this week in Miami.

The CSP application framework, announced originally by Microsoft in January 2008, is now available to customers along with free templates to help customers implement technological solutions to some of the most common issues governments face.

"Government agencies are looking for simpler processes, yet enhanced interactions, for the way they serve their constituents," said Gail Thomas-Flynn, general manager of State and Local Government for Microsoft. "The common framework offered through the Citizen Services Platform enables efficient collaboration and productivity to provide better service, reduce costs and improve management insight."

Free Templates Allow Partners and Customers to Customize In-House

The CSP is an extensible package that enables repeatable implementation of local and regional government solutions. It leverages existing investments and easily scales as new business requirements arise. Built with Microsoft infrastructure components, it uses open standards and includes a set of common transactions so developers can build solutions that enable delivery of critical services to citizens, businesses and civil servants.

CSP availability includes templates available for existing customers to download at no cost, bolstering their ability to do more with existing technology investments. The eight new templates that focus on common government challenges are the following:

  • E-Councilor template. A Windows Live Agent that allows messenger communication with a virtual government worker to ask questions
  • Web TV template. Allows government and citizen video hosting in Web 2.0 style
  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 templates. Set of 40 templates to customize scenarios that address both site and system administration needs
  • Local government communications template. Sample portal with intranet and extranet templates
  • Role-based My Site template. Designed for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the My Site functionality
  • Agenda Management template. Allows organizations to streamline processes
  • Electronic form templates. Microsoft Office InfoPath form templates addressing areas from building permitting to tax declaration
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM templates for municipal governments. Vertical templates including reference data models, predefined work flows, and role-based user experiences

Governments are able to apply the templates to their own CSP configurations and customize them to further close the gap between citizen expectations and their own delivery of services. According to research conducted on behalf of Microsoft by Capgemini in 2007, features such as citizen portals, case management, intelligent forms, community Web sites and document management emerged as strong priorities for governments to focus their IT spending on; all are represented in the free template offerings.

CSP and Partner Solutions at Work

Several examples of Microsoft and partner CSP solutions showcase how governments can adapt CSP to their most pressing citizen concerns and business needs. To date, numerous partners have signed up to build solutions on the CSP, including Infusion Development and AAJ Technologies.

Several solutions already are in development, including the following:

  • City of Miami: Empowering citizens and streamlining crime alerts. The City of Miami plans to expand its internationally recognized elevate Miami citizen empowerment program by adding Web 2.0 tools through the CSP framework. elevate Miami and its wide-ranging program to provide training and affordable technology packages for residents aims to increase household income, help residents save and accumulate assets,build an increasingly talented work force, enhance small businesses, and promote the capacity of faith-based organizations. Specifically, the tools citizens use as part of the CSP's Live components include Wikis, blogs and RSS feeds.

    "A responsive, supportive, streamlined e-government process is one of the best ways we can serve our constituents and responsibly use resources," said Peter Korinis, CIO of the City of Miami. "Microsoft's CSP framework is flexible yet robust enough to enhance the investment we have already made, as well as meet the demands of our elevate Miami mission of empowering all of our citizens with 21st Century tools to boost their skills and strengthen their communities."

  • City of Camden, N.J.: Reducing administrative burden with e-forms. With a population of 79,000 people, the City of Camden needed to dramatically improve administration, accountability and citizen service. Developing a SharePoint Server portal solution successfully streamlined administration to ensure that resident service requests and city operations are now managed far more efficiently. The solution is saving the city 7,176 labor hours per year through reforming cumbersome paper-based processes, eliminating double data entry, and reducing paper handling. It also provides far more accurate reporting with standardized reporting processes.
  • Brevard County, Fla.: Records management. Brevard County embarked on the creation of a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 implementation to improve document and records management for its permitting and licensing department. CSP, via partner AAJ Technologies,provides Brevard with a greater flexibility to load, classify and search the large volumes of documents, as well as apply records- retention policies to those documents. Success with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server within the permitting and licensing department will be the foundation for using document management and records management capabilities across the remaining county departments.

SOURCE: Microsoft