How the cloud, government and industry leaders can foster open government


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As I reflect back on FedScoop’s 2010 conferences, including the Cloud Computing Shoot Out in December, I am reminded of its overarching purpose— to exchange best practices and identify ways to collaborate among government and industry leaders in the achievement of common goals.

To do this, government and industry partners must work together in a transparent and collaborative manner, in a similar way that the Open Government Directive requires federal agencies to interact with citizens. In this spirit, I am sharing some information that I hope will be enlightening.

Delivering on the Open Government Mandate

Agencies are actively seeking solutions to help deliver on the promise of open government. Achievement of this goal demands that government streamline agency communications, proactively gather feedback from constituents and take immediate action, communicate effectively—especially in times of emergency—and leverage the power of the social web.

Expectations of The Modern Citizen

As I’ve discussed before, the modern citizen is technologically sophisticated and expects around-the-clock support from multiple communications channels—the web, the call center and social networks. To complicate matters, citizens expect that every point of contact will deliver a consistent experience and provide accurate information.

This is a significant challenge, yet many federal agencies are answering this call with a cohesive, measured citizen communication strategy that not only improves service levels across channels, but also empowers constituents with the knowledge necessary to get on with their life.

For example, a recent survey found that agencies like the IRS and the Social Security Administration have high customer satisfaction ratings in areas such as a courtesy, responsiveness and issue resolution. The same survey revealed that 83 percent of Americans believe that the Federal government can do better. Luckily, there are varieties of tactics that agencies can take to achieve constituent satisfaction.

Self Service Rules

Interestingly, the survey revealed that 85 percent of Americans want more web self-service applications. By providing citizens with this ability, organizations could significantly reduce inbound calls and emails and free up agents to work on mission-critical tasks.

Cloud solutions are a means to this end.

For example, cloud solutions provide the scalability that government agencies require to meet constituent needs—eliminating digital capacity limitation worries. By transitioning to the cloud, agencies tap into an infrastructure that is as flexible as their needs are varied.

Collaboration is Key

Importantly, cloud solutions encourage cross-agency collaboration and help government perform better for the American people. The upcoming FedRAMP initiative is a prime example of this effort. The interagency vetted approach of the FedRAMP program is to deliver a service so that vendors can obtain an Authority to Operate (ATO) for their cloud system to leverage and share across multiple federal agencies. This is resource sharing at its best and will save the federal government millions in acquisition costs.

To deliver on the promise of open government, agencies need solutions that meet their unique needs. The right cloud solution should provide a highly secure total customer experience solution for agencies serious about enabling superior interactions across web, social, and contact center touch points.

The federal government’s commitment to cloud computing signals that smart technology solutions are the future of government. With an eye on the bottom line and a mandate to achieve open government, agencies are keen to adopt tools to address these challenges and the cloud is providing solutions.

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ATO, Authority to Operate, FedRAMP, Government IT News, open government
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