January 10, 2008 9:09 AM PST

Tech-savvy governments to embrace Web 2.0

New research has indicated that tech-savvy government departments will begin to adopt Web 2.0 applications this year.

"'Gov 2.0' will replace 'e-gov,' as governments seek to gain additional value from citizen interaction and business transactions," Teresa Bozzelli, chief operating officer and managing director of Government Insights, which produced the report, said in a statement. Government Insights is an IDC company based in Fall Church, Va.

Governments are expected to increasingly use social networking and other Web 2.0 innovations as a means of fostering greater participation and dialogue with their citizens, as well as encouraging more effective intragovernment communication.

"A lot of Web 2.0 applications will allow government to change the nature of what they can do, in terms of interaction, but apart from the technical side of things, there will be a greater focus on improving the business of government," said Richard Harris, research vice president at analyst firm Gartner.

"I do think Web 2.0 technologies are likely to have a big impact this year and beyond, in the decisions about applications for governments," he said.

Harris' statements come after Gartner issued a report late last year on the future for government chief information officers under the banner "CIO 2.0." The report concluded that chief information officers themselves would move away from being technocrats as IT becomes more closely integrated with other operations in government departments.

Harris added that e-gov had failed to deliver on expectations, and the development of "Gov 2.0" will be prompted as much by governments needing to replace legacy applications as any attempt at nurturing greater interaction with their citizens.

Marcus Browne of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

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Web 2.0, government, chief information officer, interaction, Gartner Inc.

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NEW TECHNOLOGY TOOLS FOR GOVERNMENT FINANCE OFFICERS - The presidential campaigns used new tools in their strategies to engage people. The financial manager and their staffs need to become familiar with these new tools and incorporate them into their strategies. The major change required for these new tools is that finance must be more proactive rather than reactive, with results examined in real time.

· Internet ?We need to monitor the changes in the Internet (the enormous network of networks connecting disparate computers using languages called protocols). Internet Protocol Version 6 (aka IPV6) has now expanded the addresses and tags that can be used. Have our governments transitioned to IPV6?

· Web?We need to accommodate the different vehicles that customers use to travel on the ?http? protocol to visit our sites. Can the different vehicles (MS Internet Explorer or Firefox or Safari or on a Web-enabled phone or PDA) that visitors use to access out sites allow them to seamlessly navigate through our Web pages?

· XML?Do our Web pages use of ?eXtensible Markup Language? utilize well-formed and valid smart tags with corresponding end tags to get the user where she or he needs to go?

· XBRL?Are we presenting our financial documents?PAR, budget, CAFR or PAFR?into ?eXtensible Business Reporting Language? to our customers so that they are not seeing a large financial document as a mere block of text but rather as a set of smart tags for the different parts (assets, liabilities, net assets, revenues, expenditures) that can be drilled down to the lowest level?

· Wikis?Are we using ?What I Know Is? tools, internally and externally, to aggregate and share financial information on an ongoing basis in a collaborative manner?

· Blogs?Are we utilizing blogs to discuss financial topics and issues, internally and externally, to enhance and refine ideas, opinions and approaches in a collaborative manner?

· Social Bookmarking?Are we engaging the customers of our financial information by inquiring what they want to know (categorize whether it is a salary or revenue query) and where they go (assigning a tag?bookmark) to find it? Do we examine these social bookmarks to modify or adapt our financial information based on user trends?

· Social Media ?Are we creating financial information forums utilizing blogs, Wikis, podcasts, MySpace, Facebook, Youmeo, Twitter or Plaxo to keep in touch with our users of financial information?

· Collaboration?If we do not manage collaboratively now, then what do we need to learn about it to enable us to take advantage of collaborative tools like Google Docs or MS SharePoint? Do our Intranet websites allow for collaboration? What is our government?s or agency?s strategy on collaboration?

If you expect that citizens and customers will wait for you to implement the above, or come to you asking you to implement the above, then nothing will change. I believe that we must engage our customers about government finance with these existing tools. I believe that the government budget, accounting and auditing professions must incorporate these tools into their existing strategies. The easiest way to implement them is to incorporate them, where appropriate, into your defined business processes. If presidential campaigns can use these tools with people all across the country, many of whom never met face-to-face, then why can?t government finance do the same?
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