Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2008

Cloud Computing -- Big Bang or Slow Evolution?

Nothing is bigger in terms of high tech buzz than cloud computing, as I mentioned in my last post. It is definitely the flavor of the month and all the major online, hardware and software vendors are finding their niches in the cloud ecosystem.

Cloud computing is really nothing new, but rather the ongoing evolution of Software as a Service (SaaS) or, if you go back a bit further, application service providers (ASPs) which took the baton from Internet service providers (ISPs). Hey, if you want to go for broke, you can trace cloud computing further back to pre-Internet packet switching networks like CompuServe. Just don't send me email to 76011,1362 -- my first email address on CompuServe.

We are not likely to witness a stampede to the cloud, but rather a slow migration, one service at a time. Businesses for the most part still prefer to host their own email, for instance, although the majority of consumers use cloud-based email services. Smaller businesses are more likely to …

Microsoft Heads for the Cloud

Microsoft often uses its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) as a launching pad for major product announcements. This week at the PDC in Los Angeles, CA, was no exception. For most of us, the most far-reaching news is Microsoft's venture into cloud computing with a new operating system called Azure. Developers can now get their hands on the community technology preview version of the software and begin learning how it will be relevant for remote hosting of web applications.

Microsoft is not the first vendor to offer cloud computing, but it has many advantages over the first pioneers of the field. The community of Microsoft developers is large and active. Using familiar tools such as Visual Studio will unleash tremendous activity as well as harness the existing code base of .NET applications.

A number of services from Microsoft will be available right out of the gate, drawing on the Microsoft Live services. These include authentication, collaboration and document manageme…

Microsoft Citizen Service Platform

As I mentioned in my article on the Microsoft Single View Platform, this year is a particularly rich one for new frameworks and platforms out of Redmond. In particular, I cannot recall so many initiatives that are directed toward the public sector.

One of the most important of these is the Microsoft Citizen Service Platform (CSP). Microsoft describes it as a solution set for local government to improve services to citizens and enhance interagency communication. Like SVP, CSP does not include any new products and there is nothing new to buy. Instead, it illustrates how local government can use the Microsoft products they may aleady own to stand up citizen self service portals, case management systems, document management and enhanced communications.

CSP is a European import. It began with the Microsoft global public sector organization, and achieved early wins in the United Kingdom, Portugual, then spread to the Caribbean, Australia and other countries. The United States is a new f…

Austerity Brings Efficiency

There are many reasons to bemoan the bursting of the real estate bubble, the crash of the banking system, and the U.S. recession. But there will be benefits from this mess as there always are when we enter this phase of an economic cycle. Businesses based on euphoria are not good businesses in the long run. We will witness the disappearance of many businesses based on hype rather than delivering real value to their customers. Surviving businesses will find new ways to make their operations more efficient and effective.

Government will also benefit from austerity by being forced to prioritize and to become more efficient. Programs will be cancelled, and those that survive will learn to survive with reduced funding. Although government agencies themselves rarely face extinction in the way that businesses do, they will be reorganized. Elected officials, on the other hand, know that they could be one election away from spending more time with their families.

How can government agenc…

Microsoft Launches Single View Platform

For those of us who have chosen the Microsoft platform, the good news is that we have many products from which to choose. Microsoft has an array of server and client products, as well as online services, that cover everything from collaboration to commerce, business intelligence to geographical information systems, personal productivity to accounting.

Sometimes the sheer number of choices can be daunting, so Microsoft is initiating new offerings that help us weave the various products into cohesive solutions. The goal is to bridge the gaps between product groups and provide additional documentation and code to integrate multiple Microsoft products.

The most recent release for government customers is the Microsoft Single View Platform (SVP). This helps you put information into geographic context. It provides:

Data visualization
Real-time or near real-time data links
Integration data from multiple, disparate sources
Access controls
Interoperability with other systems
The heart of SVP is integr…

Dynamics CRM: What is this XRM Thing?

In my white paper, I discussed using Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a development platform for solutions that go beyond the traditional definition of customer relationship management. This trend is getting wider exposure and has resulted in a new acronym, XRM, where the X stands for whatever solution you might need which is a good fit for the CRM platform.

As Dylan Haskins reported in his blog, David Yack the CTO of Colorado Technology Consultants, published a book a few weeks ago called CRM as a Rapid Development Platform.

As I talk with clients and technologists, I'm finding more and more creative uses to which they are applying Dynamics CRM. For instance, this year alone I have seen public sector solutions such as:
Government recruitingConsumer fraud case managementElectronic permittingTask managementEvent managementAsset managementNuisance abatementContagious disease tracking, and Field inspectionDoes this mean that CRM is a Swiss Army knife? Yes, in a way it is a flexible tool th…

Introducing Gov and the City

For more than twenty-eight years, I have lived in Washington, DC, the biggest government city of them all. I created this blog to share my thoughts on government, not only federal but also state and local government. Specifically, my areas of interest is information technology for government.

I came to DC back in 1980 to pursure a career in public affairs. I earned a Master of Science in Foreign Service at Georgetown University, with a concentration in international security affairs.

My first job outof graduate school was at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), at that time associated with Georgetown University. I started as a research assistant, then worked through the ranks to research associate and ultimately fellow in international security affairs. I wrote books and papers and spoke to conferences.

What a heady time it was, back at the beginning of the 1980s, especially for a foreign policy wonk. The United States had been battered overseas, and morale w…