Since I last wrote about social media and the government, I have been contemplating ways to expand my own definition of social collaboration. In light of the lofty goals put forth by President Obama both in terms of capabilities and cost cutting measures, government agencies must take a serious look at the way they do anything that has to do with IT. No longer will the old paper operations meet expectations. Not only can social collaboration bring the daily operations of the government to the technological forefront, but the return on the investment can be significant.

 

The business ready social software offerings can be used to easily and quickly share information both within and outside of the organization. Many of the offerings in the market are able to be very specifically tailored to the needs of the users. This is particularly true of the IBM offerings for which I wish to make my bias obvious, as they are the products I use on a daily basis. Social collaboration softwares can operate through a single user friendly dashboard. They can integrate email, communities, chat, filesharing, virtual meetings and e-signing. Through this single window sign on extremely disparate branches of the same agency can work together as though they are sharing an office. The speed with which they can interact with one another and conduct business can be in nearly real time. This intense level of collaboration can speed the efficiency and encourage highly successful branches to be able to encourage and assist those in their organization in need their help. The ability to sign documents virtually saves shipping money and can cut turn around to a fraction of what it currently takes making every employee more effective.

 

The cost of these softwares can be further managed through the purchasing of cloud offerings. Additionally the transition to a different email system is one of the simplest movements to cloud. Combining business collaboration and cloud computing initiatives could be one of the most effective ways to move towards the goals of Government 2.0.

One of the most compelling stories I have seen from a user perspective is UPS: