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Citizen Service Platform enables Microsoft and partners to provide governments with tools focused on efficiency and responsiveness.

REDMOND, Wash. - April 23, 2008 - The Citizen Service Platform (CSP) now is available to customers along with free templates to help customers implement technological solutions to some of the most common issues governments face. The CSP application framework, announced by Microsoft Corp. in January 2008, is designed to help governments of all sizes more responsively deliver services to citizens via the Internet, which facilitates easier interaction with citizens, streamlines processes and, as a result, saves time and taxpayer dollars.

The CSP, a culmination of Microsoft's partnerships, programs and projects conducted with governments over several years, was developed based on challenges faced by diverse government offices and different regions worldwide.

From London to Porto, Portugal, to all the municipalities of Denmark, governments of all sizes are using technology to interact with citizens in a variety of new and innovative ways. Microsoft has developed an applications framework upon which partners can build solutions that address specific government needs, including technical guidance regarding implementation and customization for use by both partners and customers. To date, more than 90 partners have signed up to build solutions on the CSP.

"The need for a platform like the CSP is clearly demonstrated by the response weÂ’ve received from our partners," said Ralph Young, vice president for the Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft. "A common framework to build from allows partners to tailor their solutions to specific government needs and, after working with governments for the past several years on early versions of the CSP, it's exciting to watch this community effort really start to pay dividends to both citizens and the governments that serve them."

In Porto this week, the Local and Regional Government Solutions Forum will bring together almost 300 partners and customers to discuss the management challenges governments face and technologyÂ’s role in solving these issues. Some already have experienced how the CSP, in combination with a tailored partner solution, can increase efficiency, decrease costs and bring constituents and government closer together. Others will be coming to view firsthand how they can make further use of their existing technology investments by using them as part of the CSP rather than starting from scratch.

"E-government initiatives can be difficult to implement as resistance is generally high due to legacy and integration issues," said A. Kaare Nørgaard, CEO of Resultmaker A/S, the CSP partner on the implementation of Denmark's sickness reimbursement program. "However, now the system is appreciated as the best example of e-government in practice, which simply demonstrates how installing a platform where parts already exist is half the battle, as is often the case with the CSP."

Free Templates Allow Partners and Customers to Customize In-House

CSP availability includes templates available for existing customers to download at no cost, bolstering their ability to do more with existing technology investments. The eight new templates that focus on common government pain points are these:

* E-Councilor template. Live Agent that allows messenger communication with a virtual government worker to ask questions

* Web TV template. Allows government and citizen video hosting in Web 2.0 style

* Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 templates. Set of 40 templates to customize scenarios that address both site and system administration needs

* Local government communications template. Sample portal with intranet and extranet templates

* Role-based My Site template. Designed for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the My Site functionality

* Agenda Management template. Allows organizations to streamline processes

* Electronic form templates. InfoPath form templates addressing areas from building permitting to tax declaration

* Microsoft Dynamics CRM templates for municipal governments. Vertical templates including reference data models, pre-defined workflows and role-based user experiences

With the templates, governments are able to apply them to their own CSP configurations, and customize them to further close the gap between citizen expectations and their own delivery of services. According to research conducted on behalf of Microsoft by Capgemini in 2007, features such as citizen portals, case management, intelligent forms, community Web sites and document management emerged as strong priorities for governments to focus their IT spending on; all are represented in the free template offerings.

CSP and Partner Solutions at Work

Availability of the CSP allows other cities to experience what London, Porto and the municipalities of Denmark already have:

* The Square Mile. The City of London Corp. provides local government, policing and other services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the Square Mile. The area houses 320,000 workers a day in a region that produces 2 percent of the U.K.'s GDP. The city worked with CSP partner TeamKnowledge to introduce a contact center built upon Microsoft Dynamics CRM that provides a single point of entry for incoming citizen inquiries, from parking violations to building permits. Results from January 2007 to January 2008 were as follows:

* Call volume went from 130,000 to various departments to just over 50,000 calls answered at the consolidated Contact Centre.

* Eighty-three percent of calls were answered within 20 seconds.

* Sixty-five percent of calls were resolved at the first point of contact (i.e., not passed on to a specialist).

* Connecting local and central government. Danish governments are successfully running the digital sickness reimbursement solution with partner Resultmaker, which allows Danish citizens absent due to illness (as well as for maternity or paternity leave) to be paid by employers, employers to remit that salary to the local government, and the local government to be reimbursed by the central government. The Resultmaker solution works atop Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and integrates a number of central government agencies with all of the Danish municipalities. Results to date include the following:

* An estimated 69 million euros in savings for the municipalities of Denmark (4,000 transactions per day at 75 euros per transaction to process, or 300,000 euros per day in direct administrative cost reduction, based on 230 working days per year).

* Daily transactions with errors have been reduced from a range of 50 percent to 75 percent down to zero.

* Time gained by the municipality, as municipal employees now have extra time to work on other healthcare-related tasks such as preventive care that will save additional costs by preventing further sickness reimbursement.

* Saving more than time and money. The city council in Porto, the second-largest in Portugal, needed an efficient solution to internally manage city council meetings, which generate hundreds of thousands of pages of documents each year. The Executive Portal project, a portion of the CSP offering based on Microsoft SharePoint Portal 2007 technologies, computerized all the documentation needed for city council meetings, and streamlined the entire preparation process.

* Reduction in paper equivalent to 11 trees per year

* Simplification and streamlining of city council meeting logistics and bureaucracy

* Integration with Porto's city council document management system

* Future scalability of the solution based on existing functionality deployed by the platform

More information on CSP, as well as further case studies, purchasing information, and details on how to locate local partners, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/industry/publicsector/government/csp.mspx.

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