BPC: Dux Raymond Sy on ‘SharePoint as a Gov 2.0 Platform’

Dux Raymond Sy presents "SharePoint as a Gov 2.0 Platform" at #BPC10On Thursday morning at the BPC, Dux Raymond Sy presented a session on a relatively new topic both for him and for many of us in "SharePoint World": Gov 2.0 and how SharePoint is being leveraged as the platform to provide Gov 2.0 solutions to empower citizens, and to provide project transparency and collaboration between agencies and citizens.  This topic is of special interest to me, as I focus on the Federal Sector Sales at Bamboo Solutions and was looking forward to learning more about how the SharePoint platform is becoming a part of the Gov 2.0 landscape.

True to form, Dux quickly engaged the audience, beginning with an exploration of the elements of Gov 2.0 and outlining not only the challenging goals of Gov 2.0, but tying those goals to some real-world examples of how SharePoint has stood up to the challenges.  The goals of Gov 2.0 include making government more efficient, transparent and responsive to citizens.  We expect to have ready access to information and work collaboratively in the private sector, but this is not quite the case in the public sphere yet, where the exchange of information between the Government and citizens needs to be enhanced by using collaborative technology as the enabler.  Technology such as social media, mashups, Web services and data aggregation can take advantage of data available from the Government, and disseminate it to citizens in applications we are familiar with. 

Dux set the tone by sharing a videocast of what the Massachusetts Department of Transportation was able to achieve by opening up its bus schedule data to the public, with immediate results.  Within the span of eight days, there were mashups of bus schedules with Google maps, text messaging services, and phone apps delivering bus arrival information to passengers waiting for a bus.  In effect,this created a weather service for busses based on data being provided by the government, but with the means of delivery being developed by citizens for citizens. This is what Gov 2.0 is about: collaboration and sharing of data and information that has been traditionally hidden from public access.

Dux cited a couple of good examples as to how SharePoint has already been used by Recovery.gov and  VDOT.  Both sites are designed to surface data from a number of sources and present it to citizens in easy-to-view dashboards and charts.  SharePoint is an excellent platform for collaboration and the dissemination of data.  In addition, the Federal sector having Microsoft technologies in place already makes the SharePoint platform an obvious choice for these initiatives.

Dux went on to share three examples of Gov 2.0 and SharePoint, beginning with the Virginia City Public Schools Portal which was originally created in late 2005.  The school system wanted to go beyond the limitations of a shared network storage for their documents, mainly to overcome the pains associated with a shared network drive where everyone was able to access the files equally, along with the ability to conveniently delete items, which took "the dog ate my homework" to a new level.  They turned to WSS 2.0  because they already had it and thus did not require a huge technology investment.  They were able to immediately achieve much more than a shared document space, as WSS allowed them to add a security layer on top of the shared documents, segmented by teachers, students and classes.  They added minimal modification to allow creation of lists for students and teachers and a password-change utilty user management.  Today, what began on WSS 2.0 for the Virginia City Public Schools has grown with SharePoint and is currently the backbone for collaboration and sharing of information for the entire school system.

We next viewed the result of D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) and their need to provide a publicly accessible solution for their construction projects, and how SharePoint delivered.  Within three months of beginning the project, DDOT  had a portal with both public and private access that improved efficiency and cut costs by providing portfolio level management of all projects from a centralized location.

The final example was of DOD/VA IPO Work Management Platform which was created to respond to the complex challenge of providing data integration between DOD, VA and health providers such as Kaiser Permanente, Med Virginia, etc.  Adding to the complexity of this challenge was the requirement that the solution had to be built on MOSS 2007, not an issue in itself, but it had to use out-of-the-box functionality with no access to Central Admin.  The inherent capabilities of MOSS 2007 were used by a team of experts from Innovative-e, and the solution provided a home page with a rotating story feature, a calendar with rollover details, RSS aggregation to the Government Health site, and rollover navigation which provided one-click access between the project level site and the executive level site.  Everything was done using Site Content Types and Content Query Web Parts with some JavaScript for indicator colors.

In closing, Dux shared a valuable nugget with the audience on how to change user perception of views versus folders for document libraries by comparing them to iTunes playlists, wherein a song remains in the master list, but can be part of many playlists at the same time.  Just one example of the value of attending a session run by Dux, as he is able to convey complex ideas by relating them with simple, easy-to-understand everyday images.

Check out ourfull coverage of Best Practices Conference 2010:

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