IBM unveils framework to help agencies improve citizen services

The IBM Government Industry Framework combines software, services

IBM has unveiled a software platform designed to improve the way local, state and national governments manage and deliver services to the public.

The IBM Government Industry Framework could help agencies of all sizes use technologies to transform their existing support and delivery processes, IBM officials said.

The platform gives agencies the ability to more efficiently deploy limited resources and respond more quickly to everything from public emergencies to the delivery of social services, said Lonne Jaffe, IBM’s director of public sector solutions.

“This is something that we have been working on for about four years now internally,” Jaffe said. “We feel that it is ready for the market for a variety of reasons.”

The IBM Government Industry Framework will cover the civilian and homeland security sectors. IBM launched a framework for the defense and intelligence communities last year, he said. This new framework incorporates elements of IBM’s entire software portfolio, including WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, Lotus and Information Management products while leveraging the full range of IBM server and storage products.

The framework offers technologies centered on five key areas faced by government:

  • Tax and Revenue Management: Using business intelligence to improve insight and elevate performance with visibility and control.
  • Safety and Security: Improving border security, public safety, and emergency response through intelligence and collaboration.
  • Social Services and Social Security: Optimizing citizen-centered experiences by simplifying access to health and human services programs with a focus on improving outcomes.
  • Integrated Urban Infrastructures: Creating smarter cities that are operationally efficient, safer, more comfortable and sustainable with effective management of resources.
  • Metropolitan Transportation and Roads: Helping build smarter, multimodal transportation systems to collectively optimize capacity, reduce congestion, and improve operational efficiency, security and safety.

IBM middleware and analytical applications have been integrated into the platform and there is a layer of government-specific extensions that link the platform to the five key domains or modules, Jaffe said.

Just as businesses have strengthened their focus on users, governments are now finding success in reorienting their structures, information technology and processes around the citizens they serve, Jaffe noted.

For example, the Alameda County (Calif.) Social Services Agency is using the new framework as the basis for a system that gives the county real-time client overviews and activities. The Alameda Social Services Integrated Reporting System will also help identify fraud within the system by redirecting funding from individuals taking advantage of the process to families in need of benefits.

Using this system, which combines software, hardware and services, Alameda SSA expects to realize $11 million in benefits by improving eligibility determination, managing noncompliance sanctions, and detecting and deterring fraud, said Don Edwards, deputy agency director of the agency.

“For the first time we can see into our client activities to help them meet our [federal, state and county] rules for receiving benefits, or redirect funds to families that need our help much more rapidly,” Edwards said.

The framework was built in conjunction with IBM customers all over the world, Jaffe said. The Intelligent Transportation module harvested work conducted by IBM and officials in Singapore. Using predictive analytic sensors and devices, IBM developed a system that can predict traffic patterns and dynamically reroute traffic lights and toll systems to decrease congestion and pollution, Jaffe said.

Work with the U.S. Treasury Department formed the cornerstone for the Tax and Revenue Management module. The city of New York has also been instrumental in work on the social services and public safety modules. Building the framework with users gives it more credibility and relevance, Jaffe said.

IBM is also announcing an Industry Framework Business Partner Validation Program for Government. IBM is already working with a number of key independent software vendors for validated solutions for the Government Industry Framework. For example, Cúram Software, a provider of social enterprise management solutions, has been one of the first partners to be validated on this framework.

Pricing will vary depending on how the framework is delivered – whether though a traditional transactional license, or via cloud computing or the Smart Cube marketplace, Jaffe said.

Geared toward smaller municipalities without an IT staff, the Smart Cube marketplace allows agencies to purchase an appliance that connects to the marketplace where pieces of the framework and accompanying third-party software can be downloaded. IBM Global Solutions consultants can support these smaller agencies remotely, Jaffe said. The Safety and Security module and accompanying third-party public safety applications will be the first software offered through the Smart Cube marketplace.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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