Microsoft's new E-gov platform

Microsoft has introduced a suite of tools it will provide without charge to local and regional governments worldwide to help them deliver Web-based services to citizens.

Microsoft's Citizen Service Platform incorporates the company's work with local and regional governments over the past several years, and consists of templates designed to run in Microsoft operating environments for the most commonly deployed e-government services.

Microsoft will offer the initial set of online services to governments for customization and integration into their current environment later this year.

Microsoft designed the platform to give local and regional governments the ability to customize the level of sophistication they offer in their e-government services, which can range from simple presence offerings that provide static information to citizens to more complex transactional services that enable interaction between citizens and government.

Specific Microsoft products that the platform incorporates include Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, Microsoft SharePoint Portal 2007 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. As one example of the platform's capabilities, Microsoft cited a citizen alert system used by the town of St. Mary in Jamaica last year that delivers storm and hurricane warnings via SMS messaging without requiring on-site Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) hardware.

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