Center for Government Interoperability - Gov Ideas
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Center for Government Interoperability

Center for Government Interoperability

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is for government client organizations.
Vendor FAQ is located at vendor site.

Long ago there were service bureaus. Companies hooked up their terminals to these Service Bureaus and ran applications often provided by the Service Bureau. How is this different than your interoperability approach?

Very different. The centralization concept is the same but the service bureaus only had a few company analysts and company programmers to think of improvements. The Center uses open source licensing which legally allows the whole world of approved programmers and business analysts to compete and create improvements on the system. Think of a single company with 10 employees trying to create a world encyclopedia versus Wikipedia that has millions of contributors that keep it updated every day. Here's a real world example: Google made its Android smart phone operating system open source. Within a short period of time, thousands of programmers made it perfect and rock solid. Compare Android with Verizon's proprietary smart phone operating system. They only had a few hundred programmers and their version is still full of bugs. CFGIO uses that same power of crowdsourcing to vastly speed up government improvement.

In recent times, we have applications provided by third parties on their own servers. For a usage fee, firms can connect via the web and run these applications using the companies' own data. How is this different than your interoperability approach?

Again, very different. The centralization concept is the same but their system is proprietary while CFGIO is open source and has the crowdsourcing advantages listed above. Proprietary systems lock clients in so that clients are out of luck if the company goes under. Open source lets all approved software developers maintain it, keep it going and add improvements. You are never locked in. Also, the proprietary companies are for-profit, so that each time a new client comes aboard, they are charged the full price. The Center is nonprofit so that each time a new client comes on board, all clients' cost goes down.

Why not make CFGIO for profit?

Because its concept naturally fits into government's self-management category of functions where it doesn't make sense to have a for profit company. In other words it's like printing money. There is no efficiency to be gained if many different states or companies print their own money; it's more logical to have a centralized government agency do it. Most things like inventing smart phones, manufacturing TVs etc. belong in the commercial for-profit category, but this CFGIO concept does not. The Center is doing something that government is designed to do but hasn't evolved enough to do. The Center manages a consortium of for-profit software developers and is committed to them making a profit, however the Center guides the vendors so that they do not install duplicative software but instead build software shared by multiple government organizations so that tax payers benefit from more efficient use of government resources.

Are you politically neutral and vendor neutral?

Yes, we are nonpartisan and vendor neutral.