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  • Cloud
    December 18, 2015

Importance of Transparency in Government

Kellsey Ruppel
Principal Product Marketing Director
By Mitchell Palski – Oracle Fusion Middleware Specialist

Open government is not a new concept – its modern roots can be traced back to efforts by democratic societies to bring openness to government dealings. In the United States, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) dates back to the mid 1960’s. Today, most national governments, states, provinces, municipalities and other government jurisdictions have committed to increased transparency. Most recognize that a transparent government is an essential element of a free and democratic society. The White House issued a Memorandum titled “Transparency and Open Government” that states “Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.” The memorandum lists three key principles:

  1. Government should be transparent.
  2. Government should be participatory.
  3. Government should be collaborative.

Open Government policies are already helping to contribute to the awareness off citizens and public entities, the success of partnering organizations (such as sub-agencies and authorities) and innovation of new government services. With open data and service policies in place, we are faced with the fundamental requirement to apply those policies to our daily operations as easily and cost-effective as possible.

How is information shared and accessed in State and Local government?

The Sunlight Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses the tools of civic tech, open data, policy analysis, and journalism to make our government and politics more complete, equitable and effective democratic participation. Let’s use this foundation’s guiding best-practices as a model to lay out how information is being made available for sharing and re-use. 
  • Sharing qualitative data in the form of objective reporting
  • Building informative and intuitive websites and mobile apps
  • Providing access to APIs that power existing applications to be re-used by others
In order to deliver these Open Government services, there are intrinsic technology needs to:
  • Secure document collaboration and distribution
  • Rapidly develop mobile friendly user experiences
  • Manage and measure the performance of access to disparate systems
  • Automate self-service requests to data and services
Implementing cloud-based solutions can not only make government more efficient and cost-effective, but also improve the accessibility to information and data.

Oracle and Open Government

Oracle offers a wide variety of Cloud technology and application products that can support government transparency efforts in these key areas:
  1. Technology infrastructure
  2. Information access and presentation
  3. Service performance
  4. Budget/financial Information
  5. Access to Public Documents
Oracle Cloud allows constituents/citizens, employees, and processes to stay connected with one mobile, social, cloud strategy. It avoids data silos and fragile point-to-point integrations with one standards-based, connected platform. The Oracle Cloud offers complete customer data isolation and security at multiple tech layers for maximum security, control, and visibility.
  • Collaborate and secure documents with Oracle Document Cloud Service
    • Easily share public information without compromising private information assets. 
    • Have choice of user or instance segregation for complete control of content. With the ability to define access rights, authorized users will have their documents available to them, wherever they are, using whatever device they have handy. 
    • The service is available on mobile phones, tablets, the web, or a desktop.
  • Automate business processes and information requests with Oracle Process Cloud Service
    • Empowers Line-of-Business and Process Designers to build, customize and change custom business applications for information requests.
    • Provides modern, targeted, multi-channel (web, mobile, email) user interfaces to increase the effectiveness of the process participants.
    • Conduct root-cause analysis, identify bottlenecks, and provide guided navigation to quickly fix misbehaving processes.
  • Rapidly develop mobile apps with Mobile Cloud Service
    • Cleanly separate API design and implementation to help keep app updates backward-compatible.
    • Develop fresh and modern B2E and B2C mobile apps, no matter where the data resides, using your favorite IDE.
    • Secure your apps end-to-end with enterprise-ready security patterns
  • Collect, publish, and manage enterprise APIs with Oracle SOA Cloud Service
    • Developers can easily create REST and SOAP services for backend applications, including orchestration capabilities.
    • Facilitates the creation of APIs that expose the functionality of backend systems and services.
    • Track and trace your transactions to have full visibility of your integration tier.
Conclusion
The concepts of transparency and Open Government have been in existence in various forms for many years. Oracle Cloud solutions can help provide citizens with easy and open access to information and improve the way that state and local government make data available to citizens and to partnering agencies. The outcome of these efforts will: 
  1. Provide more accurate insight for voters and law-makers
  2. Enable government IT to become more agile and responsive to changing requirements
  3. Reduce government spending through readily available information and the re-use of services
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