GovCloud xGEA – Enterprise architecture for Digital Government

Last year we partnered with OASIS to organize the first International Cloud Symposium, a conference in the UK that brought together the leading minds who are pioneering adoption of Cloud computing in the public sector.

You can read the event review in this 10-page PDF.

This year the event is being held in Washington DC, on the same dates of Oct 10-12, with this year’s headline theme being to continue the focus on the policies, standards and best practices required for secure GovCloud Computing, and how this can specifically be applied to achieve ‘Digital Government‘.

Very recently the Whitehouse announced their Digital Government strategy, and this conference will describe the critical enabling relationship between OASIS open standards, Cloud Computing and the remit of this program.

Digital Government

Governments throughout the world are faced with the same challenge – A stagnant economy resistant to top-down artificial stimulus and austerity measures.

Like the rest of us they are going to have to roll up their sleeves and drive real modernization and innovation at the coal face to create the momentum that is needed to truly stimulate the economy.

Digital Government provides that vehicle because technology evolution naturally attracts investors and market excitement, encouraging large-scale Venture Capital investments that lead to wealth-generating IPO`s, and most importantly, it does so by driving huge efficiency improvements in how organizations work.

The potential for Digital Government to achieve this is clearly conveyed through the SOCITM ‘Better Served’ report, which describes a ‘Cost To Serve’ ratio that explains how much each different CRM channel costs:

  • Face to face : £7.40
  • Telephone: £2.90
  • Web: 32p

A Digital Government strategy is therefore about transforming these expensive, paper-based processes that incur so much unnecessary cost, and also as a result greatly improve customer services as people now expect online delivery.

Furthermore these online services can be achieved through Cloud providers like Salesforce.com, and this also demonstrates the link between government adoption of these new technologies and economic development. For example to expand their capabilities in these areas Salesforce have taken actions like spending over $200m buying Radian6 in New Brunswick, amongst many others.

xGEA – Innovation-enabling technical architecture

Other similar initiatives that combine economic benefit with public sector efficiency is the G-Cloud program in the UK.

As this article highlights not only are they improving IT service delivery, but they are doing so as a result of making it easier for SME’s to participate in the procurement.

All of the economic theory experts and also the government often say that small businesses are the key to economic growth but yet a painful irony is that most feel locked out from their own government’s procurement.

G-Cloud is unlocking this paradox and enabling many small Cloud providers to compete with the big boys on a level playing field – This is a hugely important dynamic for economic development.

Hand in hand with the G-Cloud the Cabinet Office has also been pioneering similar innovations at the network level, called the PSN. This is enabling a single Public Services Network rather than lots of duplicated, inefficient networks, and again it cultivates a marketplace that SME’s can access more easily.

As described in this documentation what is common to both is an ‘xGEA‘ : Cross-government Enterprise Architecture.

In short the PSN, and the G-Cloud, are like the Internet in that they form ‘networks of networks’ through the definition and implementation of open standards across multiple providers. This encompasses technology and process areas like the use of IPv6, common service management procedures, information classification to categorize and prioritize traffic in terms of security levels, and so on.

It also extends into the software architecture domain, which enables a shared services architecture in a manner that directly enables and great enhances Digital Government. For example ‘Cloud Identity’ enables citizen single sign-on across multiple online applications, greatly smoothing eGovernment delivery.

White paper – Government SaaS Reference model

We’ll be developing an xGEA best practices program that defines an overall reference model for Government SaaS and Cloud Computing, through submissions from vendor partners.

Here is the first one, from Ramkumar of Techchello:

Non Functional Requirements of a Government SaaS (11 page Word doc)

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