Digital Government – Open standards for Innovation

A key theme of the upcoming OASIS conference (being held at Microsoft in Washington DC) is the relationship between open standards and economic development and innovation.

OASIS is one of the main international standards groups, who have produced many for XML Web services and other IT domains over the years, and so an interesting analysis is the relationship of these standards to Cloud Computing, and more specifically for the public sector.

This is the principle theme for what is now the second annual International Cloud Symposium.

Digital Government

The first slot entitled Digital Government will focus on the recently announced Whitehouse program of the same name, and so you further have a connection between the open standards and the economic innovation needs of a nation.

As highlighted by their recent Innovation Summit, what is most notable about the recent drive in Cloud Computing in the USA Government is not so much the technical aspects or the cost savings they are achieving, but this much more visible role of the CIO in the growth and innovation focus of the organization. IT? Really?

Sure! As you can see on their event site, this Innovation Summit is being led by a roster of CIO`s. That alone is a powerful message, but when building on a prior foundation of the Cloud First policy and now also this Digital Government agenda, it`s a hugely powerful powder keg mix of growth potential given the wave of technology spending it will unleash.

OASIS: Open standards for innovation

With this in mind one of the key benefits therefore of open standards is sharing and repeatability.

It would be a smart move for other governments to repeat these types of initiatives where they too also want to further develop and mature the catalyst effect of technology innovation in their economies.

Public sector spending is one of the points of most leverage for achieving this, and so understanding how combined with open formats makes these best practices very repeatable.

The relationship between OASIS standards and public sector cloud computing also highlights some key nuances of the technology and also what`s hot in the sector right now. For example key standards areas include:

  • The Cloud Identity Ecosystem – The foundation of ‘Federated Identity’ systems is SAML, and with the right surrounding certification systems these make possible new Cloud service innovations, like the Verizon Identity-as-a-service. This is building out what NSTIC call the ‘Identity Ecosystem‘ and so the overlap with these Cloud standards will define the Cloud Identity Ecosystem.
  • Cloud Service Brokers – The GSA has recently published an RFI to learn more about ‘Cloud Service Brokers’, middle-men organizations who serve to aggregate supplier services and offer standardized service catalogues. In this area OASIS is pioneering new standards like TOSCA, which will underpin this type of automation.
  • CMIS in E-Discovery – In recent NIST Cloud documentation they described the business use case for E-Discovery, and within that the need for this same type of inter-operation at the content level too, highlighting OASIS CMIS as one potential candidate for achieving this.

These standards provide for the main foundations that will enable the next wave of Cloud adoption innovations, and so they will act as a real catalyst to accelerating what is already a tidal wave of growing demand for Cloud services.

Next generation Internet

What`s particularly important about the role of OASIS is how these trends are not just about virtualizing IT and sending them over to outsourcing providers, but also the broader role of the Cloud as a ‘dataweb”, i.e. better and more holistic data integration for smarter web services.

For example OASIS covers a privacy model and also XDI, a data linking protocol for implementing these privacy policies across multiple Cloud and also in-house systems.

This connectivity between apps as much as the hosting of them will be the key catalyst events for major adoption of new Cloud services and so they are key to the surrounding economic innovation they will drive. The combination will enable massive leaps in key growth markets like E-Health and enable the underlying business ventures to flourish.

As the US Govt is also advising on adoption of other next generation technologies, like this IPv6 deployment guidance, so we’re seeing is an overall investment program for the next generation Internet, a growth surge that will make the dot com boom pale in comparison, and will overlay a second set of IP on what to date has been “Internet 1.0”.


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