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Citizen Service Platform

The Citizen Service Platform (www.citizenserviceplatform.com) from Microsoft is a response to some major changes in the relationship between government and citizens. These tensions are created by dramatic changes in both the consumer or citizen context and also by major changes in the technology field.

I was in Brisbane last week for the Asia Pacific Citizen Service Platform (CSP) training given by James Brown, the CSP architect, who is part of the worldwide government sector team. Whilst James Brown professed not to be able to sing, he really brought to life the CSP’s capability for delivering the vision of a platform that can cater for the personas at both ends of the citizen spectrum and everything in between. There is the challenge to provide for the ‘always on, always connected’ citizens whilst engaging and encouraging the ‘left behinds’ to participate in the digital world.

To really transform the customer experience, a wholesale redesign of local government processes is needed in tandem with innovative use of technology. Only when the two are applied in combination are breakthroughs possible. The CSP is designed to enable local government to move through the journey of the Gartner Maturity Model, which has four levels of maturity:

1. Presence – web presence, accounting ledgers, office automation

2. Interaction – e-forms download, basic workflow automated web publishing

3. Transaction – self service applications, cross agency systems, internet portals, integrated workflows

4. Transformation – multi-channel strategy, integrated customer information, shared services, performance management

To kick-start the journey and show the value the CSP provides, Microsoft has a four layer Architecture Reference Model, which translates business challenges into technology solutions. The four layers are:

1. Key challenges – improving customer service, increasing operational efficiency or caring for the environment

2. People and processes – people driving business outcomes, analysis of stakeholder needs

3. Applications and templates – portals, dashboards, document management, citizen relationship management

4. Technology – optimising the infrastructure, on site/hosted or shared service solutions

The model is complemented by some generic process flows, portal templates and a taxonomy to provide a starting point to accelerate the time to value. Likewise, Microsoft initiatives in the technology space, such as Windows Live and some partner solutions, provide an easy place to start. Indeed, Microsoft have put a lot of effort and thought into providing a framework for the market and are motivated to support government bodies keen to use their technology to improve their service levels.

There are common elements to all local and regional government business but there are local differences that necessitate the template and framework approach rather than a ‘product’. In a world where cities are competing against each other, a framework enables cities to map their own vision and provide their own differentiators.

Posted by: Mark Ginnever | 22 October 2008


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