After a soft release in early October, IBM has announced that they are releasing a social cloud targeting the US government agencies. This is a set of social and collaboration tools IBM is building on top of Federal Community Cloud they announced last year. Federal community cloud are secure, private cloud environments, part of IBM’s established and dedicated Federal Data Centers (FDC) that provide secure and comprehensive certified computing capabilities to federal government clients. Obama administration has mandated the use of cloud in federal agencies and all these cloud (and non cloud) vendors are rushing to grab the largest IT budget in the world. IBM’s Social Cloud is one such offering targeted towards federal agencies who are slowly evaluating the social bandwagon.
Some of the features of this offering include:
- Blogs allow staff to gather and prioritize community ideas, present their own ideas and learn from others
- Communities allow people to exchange and share information with others through a web browser, instant messaging, or email software
- File sharing and microblogs to facilitate collaboration with dynamic networks of co-workers, partners and customers
- Instant messaging and online meetings to work seamlessly across geographies
- Profiles allow people to find and work with others who share common interests and expertise as well as expand their social networks. Tags and social analytics technologies assist with this task
Even the pundits who were dismissive of social in the enterprise space has come around to accept that social technologies are here to stay and are having tremendous impact on the efficiency of the employees. Irrespective of our political ideology, we want the government to be efficient and the use of cloud based social and collaboration tools will definitely help in the process. IBM is betting on this premise and since they already have large government contracts and FISMA compliant data centers, pushing this offering is easy for them. In fact, the pricing is same as the one available for normal users except that there is a minimum limit in the number of users these agencies can subscribe. Essentially, this will help government agencies to adopt social tools without increasing their budget in any significant way. But it can significantly improve the efficiency of these agencies. The question is: will they embrace it or will there be significant resistance to these tools? Let us wait and see.
- Federal Cybersecurity Best Practices: FISMA Continuous Monitoring (circleid.com)
- IBM Enables Cloud-based Social Business for Government (billives.typepad.com)
- Amazon cloud earns key FISMA government security accreditation (arstechnica.com)