Microsoft today promised to cut the cost of e-government with the launch of a scheme dubbed Solutions Sharing Network (SSN) designed to improve public sector collaboration.
SSN, according to the software giant, is a global initiative that aims to create an online, community-based system to boost communication, information exchange and collaboration between government organisations, academic institutions and other public sector agencies.
Designed for Microsoft's global public sector partners and customers, SSN is touted as a way of sharing IT knowledge, architectures, best practices and application source code.
Microsoft promised that the network could help increase operational efficiencies and lower the costs of e-government. SSN is focused on community, collaboration, and research and development.
Designed as a hosted and catalogued repository of knowledge, the initiative will allow government agencies and public sector organisations to collaborate and share solutions, architectures, best practices and application source code that the governments own and have contributed to the project.
A typical SSN environment will include a web-based portal allowing access to hosted knowledge, an open forum for information exchange and mechanisms for searching for relevant content.
Deployment of SSN has already begun and involves collaboration with governments, organisations and universities worldwide, including the London Borough of Newham. (See full list below.)
"Government customers around the world have told us that they seem to be recreating each other's work," said Gerri Elliott, corporate vice president for the Worldwide Public Sector organisation at Microsoft.
"The SSN will be a tremendous resource for government and academic institutions to share ideas and technologies across agencies, countries and cultures."
Geoff Connell, deputy head of ICT at the London Borough of Newham, and chairman of the Local Authority Software Consortium (LASC), added: "Hosting and managing the portal will enable myself as chairman of LASC to take the objectives of sharing local government-developed application solutions to the next level."
Worldwide governments, organisations and universities involved include:
Communauté de communes de Parthenay (French municipality of Parthenay)
Deutscher Staedte und Gemeindebund (German Association for Towns and Municipalities)
United Nations Development Programme's Information Communication Technologies for Development in Arab Region (Cairo, Egypt)
Municipality of Deventer (Netherlands)
US National Association of Counties
Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (South Africa)
Local Government Computer Services Board (Ireland)
School of Policy Planning and Development University of Southern California
Department of Informatics, University College of Boras, Sweden.
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