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Digital services for European governments
By: Niels Soelberg, Vice President,Public Sector Sales, Microsoft EMEA
04 April 2012

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The on-going debate around the world’s economic recession may be an unpleasant topic to address, but in my job as Vice President for Public Sector in Europe, Middle East and Africa, I face this issue every day when meeting with customers and partners, and I believe we need to continue addressing it in order to solve it!

The combination of the increased need to reduce spending and to introduce greater fiscal transparency into government operations as well as to provide better value to citizen’s services, calls for new IT solutions. The demands that governments are facing from their citizens and workers are changing and it has become crucial for governments to look for new technologies as a catalyst to help them overcome these hurdles with fewer resources.

Turning to cloud computing services can make it dramatically easier and cheaper for governments to deploy new applications, no matter the size of their organization.

The good news is that the technology is available today, but we need to ensure that government officials and IT decision makers receive the right information to understand the benefits and value of existing technologies, and make the appropriate choices for their organizations. I believe it is important to facilitate opportunities for the public sector to exchange views with peers and identify suitable solutions for their needs, with the help of ICT providers.

To that effect, we will host the 6th Worldwide Governments Solutions Forum in London on April 24th and 25th, focusing on the importance of innovative technologies for governments. This exclusive event will be an opportunity for central, regional and local Government IT leaders to share real examples of how they deliver real benefits to their citizens and organizations through the innovative use of technologies and cloud services.

Today, the United Kingdom is setting an example for eGovernment by having an increasing number of governmental organizations deploying cloud solutions to fulfill the needs of efficiency, productivity, transparency, improved citizen services and cost optimization.

Many innovative solutions originate from the United Kingdom. A first example that comes to my mind is a solution developed by 2e2 for the London Borough of Newham, allowing them to share services with a neighboring local authority and to improve service delivery to citizens, while reducing costs. Another great example is the ‘Community Intelligence Hub’ of Cherwell District Council. This application is used to identify hot spots for problems such as antisocial behavior and the illegal dumping of waste, by combining data from multiple sources, including intelligence from partners, such as the police and fire and rescue. This work has been carried out together with another Microsoft Partner called Ridgian. A number of other great solutions should be mentioned, like the  Spotlightonspend solution developed by Spikes Cavell, which provides increased transparency on government spending, and the on-line forms from IEG4, which improve citizen access to government services. Finally, Asidua has provided a solution used by Chorley Council together with 2 other authorities, which saves them £2.6 million over four years.

I hope to see a number of them in London, in April, where they will get the opportunity to meet share ideas with government representatives. I am looking forward to an inspiring event, which hopefully will prove valuable insight on key public sector customers, partners, and SMEs.

Collectively, we can help address important issues faced by governments and help create a real impact for better functioning governments—developing an engaged community, a motivated and productive workforce, and an attractive place to invest and do business in.

Though the attendance to the Worldwide Government Solutions Forum is by invitation only, how cloud computing and technology innovations are powering digital public services is a topic of interest to us all! So I do encourage you to take part in the online conversation using Facebook, and LinkedIn channels to discuss how we can ensure great government services.

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