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Our next upcoming best practices white paper is going to be called ‘Cloud Computing and the Drummond Report‘ – A special feature on how Cloud might be employed to help realize many of the cost-saving goals recommended.

One of the headline topics is how to build “Government Hubs”, referring to internal service providers – A Government IT unit that sells IT services to other departments and agencies, implementing what’s known as shared services.

An exciting use case scenario we’re going to examine and document to illustrate how this can be achieved is going to be ‘Enterprise Social Search‘, referring to the corporate implementation of Social Search, and additionally how this software can be deployed via a ‘Hybrid SaaS’ approach.

The type of use case that Government might use this search technology for is defined in this MERX RFP for ‘Hosted Internet Search Service‘.

Enterprise Social Search is based on this core search capability, and then adds various aspects relevant to the “social layer”, such as peer to peer community models, social tagging of articles, “credibility indexing” and other features that basically means the documents are being organized by the people searching for them.

This has a range of possible applications, from cool new community web sites based on leveraging this reputation framework as the social organization structure, through to enterprise 2.0 knowledge management programs seeking to better connect staff and projects.

Of course it also provides a Search function for any site, and so when directed towards specific government needs, like making sites easier to understand for visiting citizens, the best way to organize this is to have other citizens doing the indexing….

The term Hybrid SaaS is how the software will be hosted and delivered, and refers to the particular type of NIST Cloud Computing model used for its implementation.

It combines and describes two main factors of 1) Service Model (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), and ii) Deployment Model (Private Cloud, Community Cloud), etc.

A Hybrid SaaS is therefore the combination of SaaS for 1), and Hybrid Cloud for 2), thereby referring to Software as a Service that is achieved across a hybrid combination of both internal and external Cloud providers.

The main purpose and value is that many key sectors, like Government agencies, will want to enjoy the quick and cost-effective model of SaaS, but require control over where and how the data is hosted. In some cases it will even be one Government agency who acts as the central SaaS hosting point, delivering that software service to a variety of downstream agencies, thus defining the Government Cloud Hub role.

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