Posted By Teresa Carlson
Vice President, Microsoft Federal

(Cross-posted from the Microsoft FutureFed blog)

The dialogue continued in DC today at the O’Reilly Gov 2.0 Summit.  From the IT infrastructure to the cloud, interoperability was a common theme, deemed critical by industry and government leaders, on par with reliability and security.  In fact, Tim O’Reilly said today, “I’m a big believer in interop and want to see a world where cloud services are interoperable.”

I’m glad this topic bubbled to the top of the Summit today, because interop was the focus of a panel discussion led by Microsoft’s Federal Civilian CTO Susie Adams.  Susie was joined by Susan Heystee, VP and General Manager of Global Strategic Alliances at Novell, and Bryan Kirschner, VP for Corporate Strategies at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.  In their “Getting to Gov 2.0” session, they explored how to enable interoperability in government IT and how an open platform with appropriate security, identity, and scalability fosters Government 2.0. 

 

Susie Adams understands the challenges of getting to Gov 2.0 more than most.  She’s in the trenches with our U.S. Federal IT pros every day.  She explained how quickly evolving technologies can be a challenge for government purchasing decisions, decisions that are often 10 years out.  Since technology evolves quickly in only five years, interoperability will help governments derive more value from their IT procurement, giving them flexibility and opportunities to benefit from the latest innovations.

Susan Heystee of Novell took us through what she described as a “controversial” and “landmark” interoperability alliance with Microsoft.  She said that they took two companies that were fierce competitors, but as a result of customer realities and demands over mixed IT, they got creative with their technology and business agreements, and have been building bridges between our technologies and our intellectual property.  As a result, together we share more than 350 customers, and are jointly developing innovative interoperable solutions for advanced virtualization, systems management, identity/federation and rich media.  This allows governments to get more value from their technology, old and new.

Bryan reminded us all to take a step back and look at the human connection.  Technology can help governments be more efficient and citizens more productive.  But more importantly, he said, there is much productivity to be gained by broadening civic participation.  He likened this to the idea to the Victory gardens of World War II, at time when many families grew their own gardens.  This created early controversy then over fear that citizen gardens could destroy the commercial food industry. 

With a sense of urgency, Bryan challenged governments and the IT industry to match that level of innovation in the Victory gardens and apply it to Gov 2.0 issues today.  Susie and Susan said that Microsoft and Novell, respectively, are up for the challenge.

Here’s just a few snippets from their discussion...