Microsoft touts citizen platform

Microsoft is giving away software
to help local and state governments
establish electronic services
on the Web. Starting this month,
Microsoft's Citizen Service Platform
for creating Web-based electronic
services is available free to
city, state and regional governments,
Microsoft announced at
the Public Technology Institute
2008 Technology Leadership
Conference and Expo in Miami.

Organizations must operate a
Microsoft computing environment
to run the platform, which includes
eight ready-to-use templates
for common types of transactions
people have with their
local and regional governments.
They can be customized to offer
varying levels of sophistication.

Three of the templates are available
now, five more will be available
in the summer and more are
in the works, according to Microsoft
officials. 'We looked
at'some of the most common
challenges customers in this sector
face' in developing the first
templates offered through the
platform, said Gail Thomas, Microsoft
vice president. 'These are
an opportunity for customers to
get some functionality rather
quickly.'

Electronic government services
that municipalities and regional
governments launch using the
platform can range from simple
presence offerings that provide
static information to more complex
transactional services that incorporate
live data streams or enable
online, real-time interactions
with the government.

The following three templates
are already available.
  • Windows SharePoint Services
    3.0 templates ' a set of 40
    templates to customize scenarios
    that address both site and
    system administration needs.
  • Role-based My Site template
    ' designed for Microsoft Office
    SharePoint Server 2007 and
    the My Site functionality.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
    templates for municipal governments
    ' vertical templates
    including reference data models,
    predefined workflows and
    role-based user experiences.

These five templates will be
available this summer.
  • Local government communications
    template ' sample portal
    with intranet and extranet
    templates.
  • E-Councilor template ' a Windows
    Live Agent that allows
    messenger communication with
    a virtual government worker to
    ask questions.
  • Electronic form templates '
    Microsoft Office InfoPath form
    templates addressing areas
    from building permits to tax
    declaration.
  • Web TV template ' allows government
    and individual video
    hosting in a Web 2.0 style.
  • Agenda management template
    ' allows organizations to
    streamline processes.

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