Communication is key, yet too many government agencies voice platforms are living in archaic times.
As government agencies are turning to collaboration technologies like voice, video and mobility to increase efficiency and lower costs, many are faced with outdated voice platforms like Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) . However, the shift to VoIP enables organizations to modernize their communications platform for more robust communication applications, while significantly reducing operating costs.
VoIP provides significant net savings by allowing the management of managing one unified network and no longer needing to sustain a legacy phone system. It also provides enhanced features and VoIP services that improve the user experience. Advanced call routing, image transfer, phone portability, as well as integration with other collaboration applications, such as voicemail delivery via email, voice call button on email are examples of functionality users have come to expect. Read More »
Tags: centrex, civilian, collaboration, dod, federal, government, ip, tdm, UC, unified communications, voip, voip services
Almost everyone has heard of the “cloud,” as a result of advertising by computer companies and frequent mentions in the news media. “Cloud” refers to technology resources used by an organization that are not at their own location, but available over the global data communications network (otherwise called the Internet). Moreover, the cloud is not just a question of getting access to some big data center in the sky; ultimately, it means gaining authorized access to any data or computing resource that is part of the Internet, and even combining data and software components from physically distant computers.
Public officials may have heard about how the cloud is being used in the public sector. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors had a session on this at its 2011 meeting where various mayors spoke about how their cities were using such services as shared email “in the cloud.” At the National Association of Counties, there have been sessions describing a cloud that is restricted to trusted government agencies at the state and local levels — what some call the “private cloud” because its services are not available to every organization, thus helping preserve the privacy and integrity of government data.
But the reasons state and local government officials might want to use the cloud are not often explained. This post will describe the various ways that the cloud can provide strategic value to state and local governments.
Most people have first heard of the cloud as a means of saving money, which is especially attractive at a time of tighter budgets. So instead of buying hardware and software, a government agency rents what it needs, when it needs it. This approach means you can shift from using bonds and debt service to an approach that matches your IT budget with the real demand each year.
And, often, the software services available in the cloud, such as email, can cost less per employee than licensing equivalent software in-house.
Resilience, Flexibility & Faster Technology Adoption
Potential cost reduction is not all there is to the story. There are other positive benefits as well.
First, cloud enables your government to survive a major disaster, whether man-made or natural. With the cloud, as long as your employees can connect to the Internet, regardless of location, they will be able to continue operations. This is crucial during disasters, when people depend on the government to continue to operate.
Second, the cloud can increase government flexibility. Email is a good example. Email that is hosted in the cloud is available to your employees no matter where they are — on the road or in their normal office. (There are other ways to try to imitate this result, but those approaches are more demanding of your IT staff than using the cloud.) Flexibility also includes being able to respond to peak demand, since resources available in the cloud are vastly larger than any demand your government might require.
The third related benefit is faster adoption of technology. With traditional budgeting approaches, adoption of new technology may not be possible until the last technology investment has been amortized. In the cloud, you can jump on new technologies quicker because that financial obstacle no longer exists.
Collaboration and Data Sharing
The cloud makes it easier to connect from one government agency to another, which means that they can collaborate and share data more easily. This helps break down silos that annoy citizens and make public programs ineffective. (Beyond breaking down silos, the cloud also enables government to reduce or eliminate the duplication of expensive data centers.)
Focus on Citizens
The cloud also helps your staff focus on what’s important. If you do not consider IT to be a strategic tool or core competence of your government, then clearly it makes sense to depend upon the resources of the cloud rather than trying to build equivalent expertise within your own government.
Even if you view IT as a strategic tool — and I hope you do — the cloud enables your IT staff to shift from running data center operations to focusing on services they can deliver to citizens.
The cloud is more than just a good way to save some money; it also has strategic value as a means to govern better.
Stay tuned to the Cisco Government blog for the next installment of the cloud for local government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
To read this blog in Spanish, click here.
Tags: Cisco, cloud, Cloud Computing, collaboration, data, government, IBSG, internet, IT, local, Sharing, state
For the last two years, Cisco has helped many CIOs and IT leaders achieve their objectives by using a business/IT architecture methodology called Transformative Networking, or TN. TN’s ultimate deliverable is the “Unique Architecture Roadmap” which aligns IT initiatives with the key business priorities. This puts the CIO in a strong position when defending the IT plan/budget towards the other C-level executives.
We have seen great successes in public sector accounts, such as Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Fire Services or Fontys University of Applied Science, coming from the fact that:
- TN is simple & pragmatic: it’s not rocket-science and values common sense over pre-established rules;
- TN is holistic: it encompasses network, data centre, collaboration, security, applications, governance, etc.
- TN is flexible: it’s not a rigid framework, and can be adapted depending on the context;
- TN is result-oriented: it’s not an academic project, and there are concrete business deliverables;
- TN is iterative: we prefer short iterations (ideally no more than 6-weeks), and we are not re-writing the annual report;
- TN is based on TOGAF and many best practices and templates from similar customers across EMEAR region;
- TN is entirely funded by Cisco and/or our partners.
In this post, I explain how TN can be performed in 10 steps, as depicted below.
I will now describe each step and provide template slides; these are just generic examples of what TN deliverables look like.
Read More »
Tags: architecture, government, TN
Cities around the world are facing some big and complicated problems, with few easy answers at the ready. Rising energy costs, environmental concerns, and new government initiatives have inspired a focus on sustainable IT operations. But how can cities be expected to solve these crises, while also improving citizen services and ensuring future economic success?
Advanced information and communications technology (ICT) is a great answer, but this is easier said than done. Cities frequently face logistical hurdles on the road to becoming Smart Cities. I believe the key is creating a more effective “connected transformation,” harnessing the power of cloud computing for cost reduction and the delivery of vital services.
We’ve seen this in the enterprise sector: An intelligent IP-enabled information network provides a single, multiservice infrastructure to support productivity and cost initiatives—all achieved remotely, via cloud management. Government agencies are beginning to follow this lead. The public sector, for example, is finding new ways to measure such things as power consumption, thereby controlling energy output, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency. For government as well, the cloud is becoming an important tool for achieving greater sustainability.
Overall, the cloud is helping to create more effective city management, and it enables the network to become:
- Observable. Cities can monitor systems, power flows, and equipment, with no physical or location constraints.
- Controllable. Providing remote two-way communications and data between stations, systems, and equipment will maintain effective operations.
- Automated. Hands-off processes allow for greater cost efficiency.
- Secure. Layers of defense throughout a cloud grid will assure service reliability, prevent outages, and protect citizens.
The result is an intelligent, integrated cloud infrastructure that is pivotal to a Smart City’s evolution. Some amazing technology advances are making it possible for complex systems to be managed—and self-managed—remotely and efficiently. A flood of recently published case studies show how, in practical terms, high connectivity is essential to a new future for buildings and cities, and to the urban economy as a whole.
New York City is already proactively bringing information to citizens through an integrated platform called City24x7. This offers local information on displays in obsolete spaces such as pay phone booths, and it is accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device. Visitors can discover top-rated restaurants and attractions. Residents can learn about local programs and services, and receive safety alerts. Travelers can save time by accessing real-time data about public transit and roads. The platform has seen astounding results already; currently City 24x7 is in the process of building up to 250 city-approved display locations. Cisco IBSG’s white paper, “Transforming the City of New York,” reveals more about how City 24x7 informs, protects, and revitalizes cities. There is also a video, “A Smart City Transformation of the City of New York.”
Cloud has become a key enabler for those seeking to transform some core aspects of modern life. This includes how schools train the next generation of workers; how companies hire and encourage innovators; and how cities change their economies. ICT has changed the publishing, education, health care, retail, manufacturing, and financial services industries, and it can now address issues that are front and center for every city and government.
The bottom line is that ICT helps leaders to address key problems by helping them to improve government efficiency and strengthen city management. In the process, it provides new ways to encourage economic growth. Cloud, as a critical component of an integrated network of technologies, enables us to think outside the traditional analog box in our quest for solutions.
The benefits are clear, but where exactly to begin? Look for the next edition of this two-part blog for suggestions on next steps toward harnessing Smart City cloud management or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this two-part blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
To read this blog in Spanish, click here.
Tags: Cisco, city systems, City24x7, cloud, Cloud Management, connectivity, government, IBSG, infrastructure, Intelligent Network, Smart City
Welcome to the Cisco Sizzle! Each month, we’re rounding up the best of the best from across our social media channels for your reading pleasure. From the most read blog posts to the top engaging content on Facebook or LinkedIn, catch up on things you might have missed, or on the articles you just want to see again, all in one place.
Let’s take a look back at the top content from March…
Tomorrow Starts Here
Explore how the Internet of Everything will change the way we work, live, play and learn.
Connected World Technology Report
Calling all IT professionals! Over two thirds of the IT managers agree that Big Data will be a strategic priority for their companies in 2013 and over the next five years as well. Do you agree? Is Big Data a strategic priority for your company?
Cisco on Fortune’s Most Admired
Once again, Cisco is honored to be on Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” List. Fortune tells us that the Most Admired list is the “definitive report card on corporate reputations.” Congratulations to our employees, and thanks to Fortune for the honor!
Understanding the Different Types of Wireless Routers
If your small business has grown and your workforce has become more mobile, you may be considering adding wireless to your network. Cisco explains the basics so you can identify which wireless router best fits your needs.
If you telecommuted for a week, how much time do you think you would save?
Don’t worry network managers; we’ve got you covered. Find out about Cisco’s solutions to Network Madness.
Check out the Cisco Storify feed for even more great content!
Tags: Big Data, CCWTR, Cisco Connected World Technology Report, collaboration, connected solutions, data in motion, Fortune, government, innovation, Internet of Everything, IoE, IT, mobility, Most Admired, networking, reputation, security, small business, telework week, Tomorrow Starts Here, wireless network, wireless router