The platform is designed to help agencies quickly build their own device-agnostic apps from reusable components.
Agencies using the Salesforce cloud platform have a new way to quickly create apps for citizens, employees, partners and suppliers.
Now part of Salesforce’s public cloud infrastructure, the Government Cloud Lightning platform is a component-based tool and partner ecosystem designed to help agencies quickly build their own device-agnostic apps from re-usable components.
The platform includes the Lightning App Builder, a drag-and-drop interface that lets users incorporate pre-made components from Salesforce or its partners to build and deploy mobile applications in a matter of days.
Salesforce's ecosystem of partners will create and distribute Lightning Components through the Salesforce AppExchange, which will give agencies new ways to customize their existing solutions or rapidly create entirely new applications.
Agencies can also share the applications, codes and components they build using Salesforce and Government Cloud Lightning in the GSA Labs, which will include applications developed by GSA and the six contractors currently on a Salesforce blanket purchase agreement.
"The launch of Government Cloud Lightning, along with extended compliance standards and enhancements, will empower agencies, the aerospace and defense market and government contractors to digitally transform and connect with citizens in new ways," Salesforce Executive Vice President Vivek Kundra said.
According to Rusty Pickens, the State Department’s senior advisor for digital platforms for public diplomacy, the department was eager to begin using Government Cloud Lightning. “We started using Lightning out of the box,” he said, explaining it was the concept of reusability that his office was looking for.
The Lightning platform lets his team focus on an app’s functionality, without worrying about presentation, device compatibility or usability. It works on any browser and does not need to be behind the department’s firewall. Pickens said using the platform also gives diplomats access to customer relations management data from their mobile devices.
Because there are applications that all agencies need, especially those for correspondence, Pickens said his team plans to share finished projects in the GSA Labs for other agencies to use or tweak. Eventually, Kundra said, the lab could create a search engine-like experience for government services and applications.
Salesforce announced its new platform on April 28 at the Salesforce D.C. World Tour Event in Washington, D.C., where officials also discussed the company’s more than $700 million in BPAs with the General Services Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.
The company also discussed functionality recently added to its cloud platform, which was authorized by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program in May 2014. Last year, Analytics Cloud was added to the Salesforce Government Cloud, giving users the ability to explore data, uncover new insights and take action instantly from any device. Also, Platform Encryption was recently added to Government Cloud, providing agencies an additional layer of security when handling sensitive data.