Dude, Govt Agencies Are Going Web 2.0

Ann All

Back in May, I blogged about how Web 2.0 technologies seemed to be getting less edgy all the time, considering that companies known for their conservatism -- notably banks -- were using blogs, wikis and RSS feeds.


Now government agencies -- organizations so conservative they make banks look downright crazy in comparison -- are also using wikis. As Washington Post columnist Stephen Barr writes, the Office of Management and Budget is hosting a wiki called the MAX Federal Community. (MAX refers to the OMB's technology system, used to produce the federal budget, Barr notes.)


Launched in December of 2006, the OMB wiki already has 5,500 members, with hundreds more joining every month and some federal agencies creating their own pages, writes Barr. Users are allowed to create and modify pages, add attachments, make comments, conduct searches and register to be notified by e-mail when pages change.


The wiki is streamlining the government's notoriously ineffective project management process. Agencies were able to compile 13,496 budget earmarks in 10 weeks, a process that likely would have required six months to complete without the wiki, writes Barr.


Opening the budget process to community comment via the wiki helps officials make "a very informed decision," says Karen Evans of the OMB. One of government's nagging inefficiencies is its often slow decision-making process, during which problems can grow or even change entirely, Evans says in Barr's column.


InfoWorld quoted Evans as offering her public endorsement for software-as-a-service, another Web 2.0 technology, during a recent conference. A handful of political campaigns have embraced SaaS as a way to quickly and cost-effectively build a secure online infrastructure, reports eWEEK.


Among those employing Salesforce.com's CampaignForce product, which allows users to create personalized views of campaign data via a Web browser, are presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

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