Live from #CeBIT 2011 – eGovernment Forum

I’m speaking at the CeBIT eGovernment forum later this afternoon, so I’ve decided to catch as many sessions as possible while also going for a wander around the show floor later.

The first speaker for the eGovernment forum was the federal Special Minister of State, the Hon. Gary Gray, whose presentation who talked about the role of technology in driving productivity gains, including his own experiences in his home in regional WA. Gray also referenced the National Digital Economy Strategy launched by the National Digital Economy Strategy launched by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator the Hon. Stephen Conroy.

Gray was followed by the Australian Australian Government chief information officer, Ann Steward. She opened by referencing the McKinsey Global Institute report of May 2011 which includes some interesting statistics regarding the important of the Internet to various developed economies, and talked about the ongoing role of AGIMO in driving the eGovernment agenda. She also talked about the government’s work with numerous agencies on benchmarking, to ensure that the investments being made are delivering productivity gains. Government spending on IT has been stable for the past three years while service delivery has improved, and the government has been encouraging telepresence within government departments. Other topics covered were the need to progress the data.gov.au strategy of making government data available to external parties, and AGIMO’s cloud strategy to provide a new platform for IT procurement. And finally she discussed the government’s strategy for managing location-based information, with the goal of ‘spatially-enabling’ the Australian government.

 

The Australian – Outsourcing raises questions for companies

If you’ve heard me give a presentation on A Faster Future then you’ve also probably heard me talk about cloud computing and my belief that cloud computing is is the biggest fundamental shift in computing since client/server. While many of the traits of cloud computing are not so different to that of mainframe computing, it puts that same power into the hands of a much wider range of users. Much has been learned about the effectiveness of cloud computing in just a few short years, and you can read about the experiences of some Australian cloud users in this story for the IT section of The Australian newspaper.

Live from #cloudforce 2011, Sydney

I’m currently in the audience at Salesforce.com’s cloud computing event #Cloudforce 2011. Part of an international roadshow, it’s an opportunity for Salesforce.com to promote both its services and the overall cloud computing model. The keynote for the morning was given by Polly Sumner, Salesforce.com’s chief adoption officer. After some initial definitions of the cloud and its benefits, she then moved on to discussing what the company is calling cloud 2, which is inherently more social and mobile. The new model means building cloud applications that look and feel much more like Amazon.com and Facebook have conditioned consumers to accept. There is also the notion of location -awareness, where location knowledge enables a far more tailored experience to be delivered to users.

Her presentation then moved on to discussing Salesforce.com’s social collaboration tool Chatter.  The idea behind Chatter  is to take the power of social networking tools and bring it into an enterprise context, with appropriate limitations and security. Chatter was first unveiled by Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff 18 months ago, but has taken some time to find its way into the hands of users. Chatter is also discussed by Benioff in A Faster Future.

Interestingly Salesforce.com has realised the importance of social media for its service offering, given that most discussions around service levels amongst consumers happen through social media. Hence the company has enabled its service tools to integrate with social media tools.

Overall, the presentation was clearly geared towards relative newcomers to cloud computing and many of the concepts discussed, and no doubt reflects the organisation’s belief that there is still, after ten years, a lot of education that needs to take place. Given the company is now turning over US$1.8 billion and has targets to break US$2 billion in 12 months, that’s not a bad problem to have. The heavy push on the service component probably tells more about the future direction of the company, and particularly its desire to weave what is happening in consumer social media into its enterprise platform for the benefit of clients.