April 1, 2009 By News Report
Photo: Curt Kolcun, vice president, U.S. Public Sector at Microsoft
In response to the demand for flexible, hosted vertical industry application solutions, Microsoft Corp. unveiled a new suite of offerings today that it says will revolutionize how government and education customers manage critical pieces of their business. The new brand, Public Sector On-Demand Solutions powered by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, is a set of solutions designed for U.S. government and education organizations seeking an alternative to traditional on-premise applications.
"Public sector customers are working to deliver the next generation of capabilities to dramatically lower costs, increase productivity, streamline operations and reduce custom development time," said Curt Kolcun, vice president, U.S. Public Sector at Microsoft. "The Public Sector On-Demand cloud-based solutions we are launching with our partners represent the first of many such hosted applications. This is a big step forward for Microsoft in providing choice and flexibility for how these solutions are delivered."
Microsoft launched Public Sector On-Demand Solutions with the establishment of a community engagement site, Public Sector Idea Bank, developed with Neighborhood America, an award-winning enterprise social networking platform provider. Idea Bank will feature the solutions announced today and serve as a central collaboration vehicle for Microsoft, its partners and public sector customers to interact, discover new solutions and share ideas for new tool development.
These solutions also are intended to help customers with technology priorities outlined by the Obama administration, including a more transparent and connected government, or what many are calling "Gov 2.0." The concept of Gov 2.0 is about opening up two-way communication within and between government agencies and between government agencies and citizens. Microsoft's Public Sector On-Demand Solutions help organizations improve communication and citizen services through a full-service, constituent relationship management service, hosted by one of Microsoft's certified partners. The cloud-computing, browser-based service provides public sector organizations with off-the-shelf tools that aggregate a 360-degree view of critical data, enterprise-class reporting and analytics, all with virtually no ramp-up time.
Microsoft's Public Sector On-Demand Solutions were created with the help of four partner organizations - Eskel Porter Consulting Inc., Mitchell Humphrey, Information Strategies Inc. and Metaphor Software. The solutions, available at http://www.publicsectorondemand.com, include the following:
· Public Records Tracker. Public Records Tracker organizes and automates the public records request process for state, local and federal government organizations that must respond to Public Records Act and Freedom of Information Act requests. Public Records Tracker's easy-to-use interface allows public employees to enter a new public records request, track all communication and activities associated with the requester, and deliver a response - all from a single screen. In addition, Public Records Tracker sends alerts when the request is approaching its mandatory due date to ensure that the agency maintains compliance with regulations and provides executives with the key reports they need for measuring results.
· FastTrackGov Citizen Service Solutions. FastTrackGov is a hosted subscription-based system that provides a full suite of automated community development applications for licensing, permitting, code enforcement and inspection management. Serving a variety of organizations, including county and municipal governments, government agencies, special districts, and taxing authorities, the system enables users throughout a public agency to manage a broad array of revenue sources from a single, security-enhanced, integrated system. By dramatically improving control over processes, organizations hope to increase productivity and efficiency, expedite revenue collection efforts, and enhance citizen satisfaction.
· Agenda Builder. The Agenda Builder on-demand solution provides organizations with electronic review and approval capability for agenda items, resulting in significant time and paper savings. Through workflows and tight integration with Microsoft Office, users, managers, elected officials and their staff members can monitor progress on agenda preparation to prevent
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.