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Microsoft Announces Solutions Sharing Network.

Program Creates Online Environment to Facilitate Collaboration in Public Sector

Governments and their principal agencies are responsible for matters ranging from creating an environment that fosters a growing economy and generating plentiful jobs to providing proper healthcare and educational systems and nurturing an improved standard of living. All this is to be achieved while maintaining and improving their organizational efficiency in the face of tightly controlled budgets.

Recognizing this, Microsoft Corp. today announced it is delivering the Solutions Sharing Network (SSN), a global initiative that provides an online, community-based capability to promote increased communication, deeper information exchange, and collaboration between government organizations, academic institutions and other public sector agencies. SSN enables Microsoft's global public sector partners and customers to share their unique IT solutions, architectures, best practices, application source code that the governments own and have contributed to the project, and research to increase efficiencies and reduce long-term development costs.

Deployment of SSN has already begun and involves collaboration with governments, organizations and universities worldwide including the Communaute de communes de Parthenay (French municipality of Parthenay), Deutscher Stadte- und Gemeindebund (German Association for Towns and Municipalities), United Nations Development Programme's Information Communication Technologies for Development in Arab Region (ICTDAR project Cairo, Egypt), Municipality of Deventer (Netherlands), the U.S. National Association of Counties (NACo), Swedish SAMSET project, UNESCO, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (South Africa), London Borough of Newham (United Kingdom), Local Government Computer Services Board (Ireland), School of Policy Planning and Development University of Southern California and the Department of Informatics, University College of Boras, Sweden.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )

"The Solutions Sharing Network is a unique offer for decision-makers in the public sector in Germany," said Franz-Reinhard Habbel, spokesman for Deutscher Stadte- und Gemeindebund. "With direct access to a broad variety of solutions and information along with the opportunity to share know-how and best practices, it will provide real added value. The cooperation with Microsoft is another important step for a comprehensive modernization of the public sector in Germany based on information technology."

"The SSN application is instrumental to our e-government research and planning," said Dr. Gregory G. Curtin, director of the E-Governance Lab for the School of Policy Planning and Development at the University of Southern California. "The Solutions Sharing Network application enables us to address the challenges and the opportunities of technology resource sharing and collaboration faced by government agencies and academic institutions all over the world. Additionally, the university welcomes the opportunity to play an active role in the research work that is being undertaken to support the idea of shared and community technology for government at all levels."

As the importance of exchanging and integrating information has increased, customers, partners and governments have been asking Microsoft for help in delivering solutions that facilitate the sharing, refining and enhancement of government applications and solutions among peers. In the public sector, there is a wide range of technologies -- including Microsoft(R) technologies -- utilized by governments across the globe, and duplicate development efforts exist across many agencies and countries. Microsoft is delivering SSN to help increase operational efficiencies and help lower the costs of e-government. SSN is focused on community, collaboration, and research and development. A hosted, cataloged repository of knowledge, the initiative will allow government agencies and public sector organizations to collaborate and share solutions, architectures, best practices and application source code that the governments own and have contributed to the project. A typical SSN environment will include the following:
 -- A Web-based portal allowing access to hosted knowledge and solutions
 -- An open forum for public sector partners to contribute and showcase
 their solutions and capabilities
 -- Mechanisms for searching, rating and cataloguing the best discussions
 and solutions




"By providing the SSN, Microsoft has given counties a powerful tool to access best practices, allowing our members to share technology resources and save money as counties develop their local systems," said Angelo Kyle, president of NACo. "The SSN is also transforming the way in which NACo interacts with counties across the United States, better connecting county technology experts and streamlining the process for evolving our core technology strategies."

"Kanalytics is excited to be collaborating with Microsoft to build and implement the SSN around the globe," said Steve Cranford, CEO of Kanalytics. "As a company that believes in collaboration and knowledge-sharing, we believe that the Microsoft platform provides the best opportunity for public sector agencies to share and collaborate because of its familiarity in organizations large and small."

The SSN initiative is a crucial element of Microsoft's commitment to these efforts worldwide. In 2001, Microsoft launched the Shared Source Initiative, expanding its long-standing efforts to make Windows(R) source code more transparent to trusted partners and customers. In 2003, the company announced its Government Security Program (GSP), providing governments and organizations with the technical information they need to conduct robust security analyses and audits of Microsoft's Windows and Office products. To date, more than 30 countries -- including Australia, China, Norway, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom -- have signed GSP agreements. In November 2003, customers were able to acquire deeper information exchange and interoperability benefits when Microsoft made broadly available a royalty-free license for the Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas and accompanying documentation. Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas licensees benefit from more readily available data identification in documents, ease of report generation and document assembly from existing content, and extraction of existing data for automated processing.

"Government customers around the world have told us that they seem to be re-creating each other's work. The SSN will be a tremendous resource for government and academic institutions to share ideas and technologies across agencies, countries and cultures," said Gerri Elliott, corporate vice president for the Worldwide Public Sector organization at Microsoft. "We are committed to collaborating with governments and public sector organizations to deliver targeted solutions that meet their unique IT needs."

Additional information about today's launch of the SSN is available on Microsoft's PressPass Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass . More information about Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative, Government Security Program and Office XML Reference Schemas can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/sharedsource .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

NOTE: Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
 Solutions Sharing Network
 Additional Supporting Quotes




"All government agencies share common technological and administrative challenges. By taking advantage of the Solutions Sharing Network, Local Government in Ireland has been able to establish a valuable knowledge bank that will bring tremendous benefit to our community. The development of an SSN is a significant step forward in sharing and collaborative technologies for ICT communities across all governments."
 -- Tim Willoughby
 Assistant Director
 Local Government Computer Services Board




"Newham is proud to have collaborated with Microsoft to deliver the U.K. instance of the Solutions Sharing Network. Hosting and managing the portal will enable myself as chair of the Local Authority Software Consortium (LASC) to take the objectives of sharing local government-developed application solutions to the next level. It will enable LASC to build on successes to date that include working in partnership with Belfast City to implement the LA CRM system in over a dozen local authorities across the .K. LASC, whose principles are supported by bodies such as the Society of Information Technology Management and Solace, has always needed this sort of functionality in order to locate, enhance and disseminate noncommercial software solutions."
 -- Geoff Connell
 Deputy Head of ICT, London Borough of Newham
 Chair of LASC



NOTE TO EDITORS: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .

CONTACT: Rapid Response Team of Waggener Edstrom, +1-503-443-7070, or rrt@wagged.com, for Microsoft Corp.

Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 9, 2004
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