KM supports open government
Visitors to the website can use the MyFCC button to create a customized dashboard that provides access to content of interest by dragging and dropping widgets. Widgets include Commission documents, "topic watchers" and FCC Leadership, which shows documents recently posted by the offices of the chairman and commissioners. Users can also share their dashboard with other individuals, or create multiple dashboards that serve different purposes. And, the FCC has a Facebook page.
On a beta page of MyFCC, a variety of options allow users to interact with the site; for example, they can report a bug, provide feedback or suggest a widget. They can take action via "comment," "complain" or "discuss." Discussions include website feedback and involve such topics as the future of the media and parental issues related to broadcasting and electronic devices.
Government websites have come a long way from the days when they offered just a description of each department and a few posted documents. Open government supports the philosophy that interaction with citizens is a positive goal, and the websites are being designed to foster that opportunity. Other users of Drupal include:
- The White House. The White House site was re-launched using Drupal near the end of 2009. It was revamped to offer more ways for citizens to participate in government, such as a way to start and sign petitions, receive e-mail alerts and connect to social media channels.
- Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA ). DISA is using Drupal Commons, a social business software product from Acquia, for its Forge.mil Community. The community is designed to promote collaboration among military workers, civilians who work for the Department of Defense (DoD) and defense contractors.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA awarded a $1.8 million contract to Forum One Communications, a digital communications firm, to develop its new "One EPA Web" site using Drupal 7. The site will include both the main EPA site and microsites to be developed as needed, and will be designed for desktop, tablet and smart phone use.
Many government websites are built on old technologies and are not up to the new demands being placed on them to comply with open government requirements, according to Tim Bertrand, VP of worldwide field sales for Acquia, which provides commercial support and cloud services for Drupal. "Some agencies have had to move to alternative content management platforms because their present websites are not compliant with open government mandates," says Bertrand. "In many cases, they were not designed for the level of interactivity that is now considered a standard."
Acquia offers an on-premise content management system, a business software product and a Drupal cloud platform. Bertrand believes that many of the concerns about security of open source software have been addressed. "The cloud offering is built on top of Amazon, which provides the infrastructure as a service. Amazon takes security very seriously, so we believe we have a big mother ship that is as secure as any company in the world. Thanks to the huge ecosystem around Drupal, thousands of organizations are able to benefit, and receive support that is comparable to that of proprietary systems."
Government organizations at all levels are having to do more with less, which mandates the judicious use of resources. "Citizen engagement allows government entities to understand the needs of their constituents, so they can more effectively prioritize their responses," says O'Brien of IDC Government Insights. "Open government will continue to evolve to support this engagement, along with multichannel delivery of information and services."