The Knowledge Worker Desktop.

Government employees’ role in government 2.0.

by on Jun.09, 2009, under e-government, government 2.0, integration drives paradigm shift, software for the knowledge worker

Just a few years ago when the term e-government was coined it covered the concept of making more information about government available to the citizens. Self-service portals and one-way information sites almost created a faceless interface between government and citizens, void of human interaction.

Government 2.0 changes all that. Now government employees become a valued asset and facilitator of communication between all stakeholders – citizens, politicians, grass-roots associations, business associations, lobbyists and finally within the governmental hierarchy.

In other words government employees will in the future be challenged to become true knowledge workers doing more non-trivial work and often in teams in order to serve the citizens. The most valuable skill set in the future isn’t necessarily knowledge, experience or training (although important attributes), but rather the degree to which the new knowledge worker looks for, expects and is prepared to deal with and successfully initiates actions to deal with the unexpected.

This has the potential of fostering a new trusted relationship between government and citizens that can be mutually beneficial but it could also become a serious challenge if the governmental employees are not provided the tools needed to deliver on the service levels citizens have been promised.

The European Commission is stating the following:
“While promoting the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in society as a whole through the i2010 strategy, the Commission intends to lead by example by applying to its own administration the European information society policy in e-government.

Modern on-line public administrations are an essential element of the information society and contribute to achieving the Lisbon goals of increased growth and competitiveness.

The e-Commission aims to deliver better quality and more transparent services, guaranteeing security of information including the protection of personal data, to the benefit of its own staff and of everyone having contact with it i.e. administrations, businesses and citizens. The Commission is thus following an ambitious strategy to become a front-runner in the domain of e-administration.”

In this blog we have previously covered some of the Obama Administration’s initiatives towards a more open and transparent government.

The latest initiative invites citizens to participate in improving the existing site where regulations are published –

People are invited to give input to design and features from May 21, 2009 until July 21, 2009 and the response has been impressive so far.

I believe the human factor will become the single most important factor to deal with in this transformation of government. Expectations are certainly raised to what seems like almost unreasonable levels and one can certainly hope that the governmental employees are being empowered with the proper tools to deliver on the promise.

It would seem that the timing of releasing our “Knowledge Worker Desktop” product could not have been better. We will cover the “Knowledge Worker Desktop” in more details in future posting on this blog.

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Government Agility in Asia.

by on Jun.03, 2009, under e-government, government 2.0, software for the knowledge worker

Government agility is one of the headlines that caught my attention concerning the government information forum to be held in Hong Kong on August 19-21, 2009.

It is a conference with an IT focus but many of the sections are very relevant for senior governmental executives wanting to get an understanding of new opportunities for improvements in how government and citizens interact.

Most of the speakers are from Asia – China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia among others.

Bill Schrier, the CTO from the City of Seattle is the only speaker not from the ASIA region. He is widely regarded as a thought leader in the use of social media and other tools to create a translucent government. His blog is worth a read.

I like his recent quote: “Making government “transparent” is in vogue in 2009, whether by doing map mashups of crimes or twittering by Mayors and public agencies. But I often wonder if we’re exposing the trees, without showing the forest or illuminating the true ecosystems of governing.” And he goes on ” So I’d say we’re starting to get adept at exposing the trees – or maybe the branches, twigs, leaves, owls, squirrels, nuts and bark of government operations. But what does all this data mean, and how can it influence government behavior, budgeting and public policy choices?”

Seattle is at the forefront of making the public aware of the goings-on in government and I assume that is why he was invited to speak.

Other topics covered at the Hong Kong conference – to name a few that caught my eye:

•    Responsive, agile policy-making calls for real time insight into the operations of the government machine. In a data rich environment, public sector is well placed to see a quick return from tools that deliver actionable intelligence to government decision-makers.

•    Exploring the networks and internet technologies for the delivery of government information, services and processes
•    Using technology to provide user-centered information and services and achieve joint outcomes

Mapped and monitored processes drive effective BPM strategies, enabling public sector organizations to embrace operational best practice.
•    Compliance & improvement initiatives driving public sector BPM
•    More than workflow automation: process-centric government
•    Process visibility enables process agility

So often at these events the focus is on technical stuff like portals and databases and not so much on better tools for the governmental knowledge worker. This conference seems different in the topics it covers.

Government transformation requires that citizens, politicians and senior governmental knowledge workers (or as Gartner calls them “Officer 2.0”) work towards a common goal.

It seems to me that too often the governmental employees’ pivotal role in this transformation is ignored and better tools are not addressed – it is refreshing to see a change of attitude coming from ASIA.

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Discover, Participate, Engage – Government at work!

by on May.28, 2009, under e-government, government 2.0, software for the knowledge worker

The Obama administration has embarked on several bold initiatives in how it interacts with the public.

Less than a week ago it launched described this way: “The purpose of is to increase public access to high value, machine readable data sets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.

What seems unique to the approach is to ask the public to participate in the development of the site and engage in the evolution of the site – in other words launching a governmental site that will be very dynamic in nature and acknowledging that not all information is available from day one – see the tutorial here.

Terms such as “Government 2.0” and “Context-driven Governmental Services” has been introduced by the administration using layman’s term and with refreshingly straight forward guidelines and tutorials.

Another initiative is (a re-launch of which is described as allowing citizen to verify “when, with whom, and on what the US Government is spending taxpayer funds”. Data will be made available in such a way that users will be able to “combine them into different data sets, conduct analysis and research, or power new information-based products and businesses”.

The third one is, which applies the same principles as to the tracking of funds coming from the Stimulus Package.

The White House document issued together with FY 2010 budget request says that “the Federal IT agenda is focused on helping agencies use developing technologies to inform the work of Government” and “Agencies will be called upon to take creative action in developing new approaches to citizen involvement, including the utilization of social and visual technologies, such as Web 2.0 tools”.

Very little information has been revealed about the tools available to the governmental white collar workers. They will need superior tools to help them live up to the public service expectations created.

We believe that our proven “Knowledge Worker Desktop” concept could be a big help in delivering that public service. We believe our concept can empower the governmental employees to be at the center of this government transformation and make them an active part of the innovation process needed.

Stay tuned for more information about this in future postings on this blog.

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Transparency and Open Government – EUROPE.

by on May.21, 2009, under e-government, government 2.0

In my last post I mentioned that over the last four short months the Obama Administration has attracted a lot of attention through a number of WEB initiatives embracing “Government 2.0” as a concept for providing better two-way communication with the public. All this is explained by the Obama Administration in fairly easy to understand layman’s terms.

Europe’s initiatives are a bit more difficult to decipher and clearly written by bureaucrats with a mix of bureaucratic speak and IT speak.

Nevertheless it is worth a read and it will clearly affect e-government initiatives for all countries within the European Union. Below are selected excerpts from several sources.

The European initiatives seem to still be focused on coordinating standards between countries rather than any bold initiatives from the EU commission for a centralized approach for how to improve servicing the public and provide a two-way communication with the private sector and ordinary citizens.

Some European countries are certainly looking into how to optimize their IT infrastructure across agencies and departments. Denmark is often singled out by several analysts as having the boldest approach, driven by the Danish Ministry of Finance.

From 2005-2009 the European Commission have funded a program called IDABC.

IDABC stands for Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to public Administrations, Business and Citizens.

It was formed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by information and communication technologies:

  • to encourage and support the delivery of cross-border public sector services to citizens and enterprises in Europe,
  • to improve efficiency and collaboration between European public administrations and,
  • to contribute to making Europe an attractive place to live, work and invest.

To achieve its objectives, IDABC issues recommendations, develops solutions and provides services that enable national and European administrations to communicate electronically while offering modern public services to businesses and citizens in Europe.

The program also provides financing to projects addressing European policy requirements, thus improving cooperation between administrations across Europe.

National public sector policy-makers are represented in the IDABC program’s management committee and in many expert groups. This makes the program a unique forum for the coordination of national e-government policies.

On 30 April 2009, the European Commission adopted the sixth revision of the IDABC Work Program. The IDABC work program is scheduled to come to an end on 31 December 2009.

As one of the outcomes of this effort the European Commission in Sept. 2008 published a Draft Document as the basis for the European Interoperability Framework Version 2. This document, which was debated extensively by EU member states, introduced a number of concepts that complement the interoperability framework, such as the interoperability strategy, the interoperability architectural guidelines and the European Infrastructure Interoperability Services (or EIIS).

On 29 September 2008, the European Commission approved a proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers on a new program for the period 2010–15 “Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations”, to be known as ISA.

This program is the follow-on of IDABC which will come to an end on 31 December 2009.

The ISA program is focusing on back-office solutions supporting the interaction between European public administrations and the implementation of Community policies and activities.

The adopted text is available here in Part 2 from p.280 to 293.

The Council of Ministers is expected to vote on the compromise proposal in June 2009.

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Transparency and Open Government – USA.

by on May.21, 2009, under e-government, government 2.0

The Obama Administration has taken a number of initiatives to deliver on the campaign promise to bring more transparency and openness to government.

One of the latest initiatives receiving a lot of attention is described below. It encourages all stakeholders to participate in shaping the way government communicates about its work and outlines how the private sector and ordinary citizens can provide input to the process.

Below are excerpts from the Office of Science and Technology Policy filed 5/20/09 (FR Doc. 2009-12026):
The White House is looking for help formulating a directive on open government:

Executive Office of the President
Office of Science and Technology Policy

SUMMARY: The President’s January 21, 2009, memorandum entitled, Transparency and Open Government, directed the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA), to develop a set of recommendations that will inform an Open Government Directive. This directive will be issued by OMB and will instruct executive departments and agencies on specific actions to implement the principles set forth in the Presidents memorandum. Members of the public are invited to participate in the process of developing recommendations via email or the White House website at offering comments, ideas, and proposals about possible initiatives and about how to increase openness and transparency in government.

DATES: Comments must be received by June 19, 2009.
ADDRESSES: Submit comments by one of the following methods:
Mail: Office of Science and Technology Policy, Attn: Open Government
Recommendations, 725 17th Street, ATTN: Jim Wickliffe, Washington, DC 20502.

The President outlined three principles for promoting a transparent and open government:

  • Transparency promotes accountability and provides information to citizens about what their Government is doing.
  • Participation enhances the Government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions by tapping knowledge that is widely dispersed in society.
  • Collaboration harnesses innovative tools, methods, and systems to promote cooperation across all levels of Government and with the private sector.

The Presidential Memorandum requests recommendations to inform an OMB Directive that will instruct executive departments and agencies on specific actions to implement the three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration.

The purpose of this Federal Register notice is to solicit public participation in the development of those recommendations. There is a great deal of dispersed information among the nation’s citizens.

With twenty-first century tools, the United States is in a unique position to take advantage of that dispersed information to inform the policymaking process. Our goal is to use the principles of open government to obtain fresh ideas about open government itself.

Comments on open government may relate to government-wide or agency-specific policy, project ideas, and relevant examples. Comments may address law, policy, technology, culture, and practice on issues such as:

  • What government information should be more readily available on-line or more easily searched?
  • How might the operations of government be made more transparent and accountable?
  • How might federal advisory committees, rulemaking, or electronic rulemaking be better used to improve decision making?
  • What alternative models exist to improve the quality of decision making and increase opportunities for citizen participation?
  • What are the limitations to transparency?
  • What strategies might be employed to adopt greater use of Web 2.0 in agencies?
  • What policy impediments to innovation in government currently exist?
  • What changes in training or hiring of personnel would enhance innovation?
  • What performance measures are necessary to determine the effectiveness of open government policies?

This public process is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The full report can be found at

The FY 2010 budget request has in an accompanying document an entire section referring to “Government 2.0” – including transparency, participation and collaboration – see page 143 in this PDF version .

This debate will intensify and cBrain will certainly follow this closely and provide input based upon the experiences we have had with our “Knowledge Worker Desktop” concept implemented within several governmental agencies.

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Context-driven governmental services.

by on May.19, 2009, under e-government, software for the knowledge worker

How do governmental agencies help the public locate relevant information online and make more informed decision about services available AND at the same time navigate the fine line between privacy and serving the public efficiently?

Vivek Kundra, Obama’s new federal CIO, in April 2009 moderated a panel discussion where one of the questions Kundra asked was how governmental agencies are helping the public make more informed decisions about public services based on information available online.

According to Kundra used the analogy of a grocery store where studies of consumers’ buying patterns have shown that consumers buying milk most often also buy bread. Therefore store shelves are arranged so these items are placed closely together.

For the public sector, Kundra referred to this kind of process as “context-driven government” where how citizens search and retrieve information about public services could be monitored and analyzed to drive better policies and improve the way information is made available.

Providing public service to citizens, almost anticipating their wishes would seem to be a major improvement of the online experience – that is what Amazon is famous for. BUT will people be happy to know that their behavior is being monitored, analyzed and profiled by the government just like Amazon does for people’s buying habits?

I think we can find the balance between privacy, transparency and public service to the citizens and the term “context-driven government” just might catch on as an important concept that can reduce cost and provide better service to the non-trivial cases.

This concept of “context-driven government” will also apply to governmental white collar workers dealing with these non-trivial cases and free up the time and resources for them to concentrate on the non-trivial cases of citizen’s requests and complains.

Our “Knowledge Worker Desktop” concept is context-driven by the nature of the cases presented to the case worker.

This will be discussed and described in this blog over the next few months and it appears to be very much in line with Vivek Kundra’s thinking as we interpret his words.

We could be in for a new phase of governmental productivity improvements that will leapfrog what we have seen of incremental improvements over the last 10-15 years.

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Enterprise 2.0 and white collar productivity.

by on May.12, 2009, under enterprise 2.0, integration drives paradigm shift, software for the knowledge worker

Enterprise 2.0 as a concept has gained a lot of momentum since Andrew McAfee from Harvard University ( coined the term a few short years ago. Today there is even a separate exhibition for Enterprise 2.0 – – with a lot of serious attention and money being paid to the concept.

Enterprise 2.0 has often been described as social software or so-called WEB 2.0 for the enterprise (inside the firewall). AIIM ( defines it as “a system of web-based technologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise”.

In contrast to traditional legacy enterprise software, which imposes structure prior to use, enterprise social software as we know it today tends for the most part to encourage use prior to providing structure.

Obviously with FRCP, Sarbanes-Oxley and other compliance issues this is a conflict and corporate management might feel under legal obligation to control and at least monitor the internal communication in order to hold people accountable for their actions communicated to others using Enterprise 2.0 tools.

Now, the question is if this is not all due to the lack of proper tools for today’s white collar knowledge worker?

And will we see Enterprise 2.0 evolve in a similar pattern to when ERP evolved from a bundle of best-of-breed point solutions to fully integrated ERP packages?

We think so and will cover our experiences, opinions and observations in this blog – stay tuned.

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Integration lowers eDiscovery cost.

by on May.11, 2009, under compliance, eDiscovery, enterprise 2.0, government 2.0, integration drives paradigm shift, software for the knowledge worker

Many work routines for white collar workers within government and business enterprises (Customer Relationship Management, Employee Hiring and Case Management are examples) have common issues when people need to collaborate and share information along a timeline with milestones and deadlines galore.

Traditional software tools for white collar workers today are not integrated.

Often the process of archiving information (emails, documents, notes, etc.) is a separate work routine after the work has been performed involving the knowledge worker deciding what to archive and what META data to add for the purpose of later information search and retrieval.

New integrated productivity tools like the Knowledge Worker Desktop are automating the archiving process and assuring that META data are derived automatically from the context of the work performed and NOT as a separate after-the-fact process. This has shown major improvements in productivity and quality of work.

Regulatory compliance (Sarbanes-Oxley, FRCP and HIPAA) demands that companies establish and maintain an adequate internal control structure and procedure for their business processes and for Sarbanes-Oxley also control points for their financial reporting.

The kitchen sink approach to archiving everything will NOT work. Archiving and indexing according to content (words and phrases) is better. BUT automatically archiving and indexing emails and documents (WORD, EXCEL, POWERPOINT, PDFs, E-Mails, IMs, etc.) according to context is the only viable way to ensure that you later can actually produce messages and documents that someone considers legally material, a term often referred to as eDiscovery.

Again, integration is the key driver of this paradigm shift .

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