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GCN : June 2013
Sponsored Report Sometimes collaboration is a matter of invention, but at other times a matter of necessity. A recent survey of IT profes- sionals in federal, state and local government shows reveals high interest in a wide range of collabo- ration applications. In fact, more than 40 percent of respondents identi ed eight different collabora- tion tools as "very valuable" to their agency (see chart). It should come as no surprise that webinars topped the list. In recent years, with all the uncertainty surrounding the budget, numerous agencies have been experimenting with webinars as either an extension of or alternative to in-person events. Webinars do not provide the same casual networking oppor- tunities as traditional events, but they do offer a much more cost- effective way to provide govern- ment of cials with a forum to make presentations and interact with the audience through voice, messaging or chat functions. Now with se- questration, such economies have become more important than ever. For example, when the Depart- ment of Navy decided to cancel the DON IT Conference originally scheduled to be held in Virginia Beach, DON CIO Terry Halvorsen said that his of ce would host several of the conference sessions through Defense Connect Online (DCO), a secure virtual meeting tool accessible, via a Common Access Card, to DOD service-members, employees and partners. In fact, in February the Defense Information Systems Agency, which manages DCO, announced it would double the capacity of the service. "DCO has recently experienced unprecedented growth and now boasts more than 800,000 regis- ters users," according to the DISA statement. "This growth was ac- celerated by the DOD-wide effort to cut travel and conference ex- penses, and now more DOD users are using DCO to conduct online meetings and training." Webinars have become especial- ly popular as a way for agencies to share information with industry about upcoming procurements. The online format makes it pos- sible to engage with a much larger audience than might attend a live "industry day" event. But now that uncertainty about the budget has been replaced with the spending constraints of sequestration, perhaps more agen- cies will choose to go the online- only route, as NASA did with its 2012 Executive Summit. The "event" featured a series of live sessions, held via Adobe Connect, as well as virtual commu- nity discussions, messaging, and pre-recorded videos that partici- pants could view and comment on. According to an article published in NASA s IT Talk newsletter, agency of cials estimate that they saved approximately $750,000 in travel expenses. The summit also provided an op- portunity to expose NASA of cials to new technologies. "One of the goals of the Virtual Summit was to take advantage of the technology that allowed for distance learning, messaging and virtual interaction without it actually being the focus," according to the newsletter. % of respondents whose agencies rate the following collaboration tools as "very valuable" FULL REPORT ONLINE, Go to www.gcn.com/2013CollabSolutions 2. Agencies find a lot to like in collaboration tools 3. Collaboration: A broadening of horizons 4. Successful collaborations require more than good tools 5. Agencies invest in future of collaboration Collaboration Sollutions Research Report Report Articles COLLABORATION SOLUTIONS TRANSFORMING GOVERNMENT Budget cuts drive surge in webcasts A valued commodity WEBINARS ............... 69% VIDEO SHARING....... 64% FORUMS ................... 52% BRAINSTORMING .... 47% PHOTO SHARING..... 45% MICROBLOGS .......... 44% Source: 1105 Government Information Group Research Study