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Open Data is Giving Power to the People [July 22, 2014]

Submitted on
mardi, le 22 juillet 2014h
,
Engaging Cities

By Tim Marsh, Acquia

In the 1960’s, the phrase “power to the people” became a popular slogan for citizens who wanted their voices to be heard by the government. It took a few decades, but the open data initiatives being undertaken in communities across the United States have finally made that slogan into a reality.

Open data is information that federal, state and local agencies have made available to citizens in the hopes of creating a well functioning, completely transparent government. Agencies allow pertinent data – the salaries of federal and state workers, for example, or regional property tax records – to be accessible, shared and used by anyone. This results in citizens having unprecedented insight into how their government agencies work, and can improve social and economic value through dissemination of information.

Open data also gives power to the people in another way – the ability to directly interact with the government in real-time.

Historically, citizens have only infrequently influenced government. They may vote every couple of years, or go downtown or online to pay their county taxpayer, and so on.

Open data changes these scenarios completely. Citizens in metro areas that are striving for open data policies now have immediate access to a wealth of information, which they can immediately influence.

For example, OpenOakland is providing opportunities for residents of the California city to contribute to things like the Oakland Wiki, a “site all about Oakland, by Oaklanders,” as well as information about housing projects, early childhood education, and the city budget. The effort is empowering the people of Oakland to help shape the future of their city.

Citizens are only part of a successful open data initiative; in order to make open data initiatives work, municipalities themselves need to do their parts. Many cities across the U.S. have already implemented open data mandates that clearly articulate which data must be made open, and how it can be accessed. Thus, local agencies must be able to effectively process and make data accessible, along with accepting and managing citizens’ input.

To do that, they need technology that runs on systems they already have in place (like the Drupal content management system, which many agencies use for their data), and will help them handle large amounts of data in very agile ways. The best option for many is a combination of open source technology, which works well in virtually any environment, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which benefits from the flexibility of the cloud.

This is why Acquia and Carahsoft have partnered with NuCivic to launch NuCivic Data, the first open source SaaS open data management solution. NuCivic Data provides federal, state and local agencies with the technology backbone to host and manage data, visualize it, put it online, and make it immediately accessible, all while combining the best aspects of SaaS and open source.

Solutions like NuCivic Data help agencies meet open data mandates and goals, while allowing citizens to gain insight and provide input into those agencies. They are the tools that will help create a new form of government – one that is extremely open, highly collaborative, and powered by the people.

Cloud, Open Source Power TransLink's Web Presence [July 16, 2014]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 16 juillet 2014h
,
Computerworld

By Rohan Pearce
Queensland public transport agency finds value in Drupal community
It was an aging bespoke application that drove TransLink to seek a new content management system, but it was the strength of the community surrounding the open source project that helped the Queensland public transport agency choose Drupal.

Prior to the switch to Drupal, which began last year, the former TransLink site was partly based on static files and partly on a "home-grown CMS that managed a lot of our custom content such as service disruption and events, so that we could do a little bit of distributed authoring within the organisation," said Natalie Gorring, manager, online products and services, at TransLink.

The old CMS, based on the Yii Web framework "was a few years old and needed updates," Gorring said. "As the TransLink website was evolving, we weren't able to keep up with updating the CMS that we had." As a result, TransLink started looking for alternatives.

"We didn't want to keep putting Band-Aids on our old CMS," Gorring explained.

The organisation reviewed a number of open source and proprietary CMSes, and Drupal came out on top. The open source project's active community was a factor in the decision, Gorring said. In addition, the TransLink team had in-house PHP skills, and that was also a factor in choosing the new CMS.

For the transition, TransLink relied heavily on its in-house skills but partnered with Acquia, the Boston-based company founded by Drupal creator Dries Buytaert, for hosting. The TransLink site is hosted in Acquia's cloud service, Gorring said.

"The [Queensland] government at the moment is very supportive of cloud and data sharing," Gorring said.

(An IT strategy update released by the Queensland government in May this year placed cloud computing "at the centre of government ICT reform" in the state.)

Going with a cloud service "took some pressure off our business systems team, and we have a contract with Acquia for 24-hour support," Gorring said. The TransLink site gets around 130,000 unique visits daily.

The initial scope of the Drupal project was a 'like for like' transition, replicating the organisation's existing website using the open source CMS. "We didn't have the time to add new features at the time," Gorring said. "For customers there was no difference, except maybe a few URL changes."

The transition took place over a period of around nine months, beginning late last year.

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Open Data is Transforming Governments - and the Areas They Serve [July 11, 2014]

Submitted on
vendredi, le 11 juillet 2014h
,
StateScoop

By Tim Marsh

Austin, Honolulu, Chicago, and Los Angeles are all very different in terms of geography, climate, and population. But there’s one thing that each of these cities has in common: Each is a member of the growing list of American cities with open data policies.

These areas, along with others, have set forth mandates that require government data to be open and available to citizens. Many cities have used open source technology to build portals that provide easy access to a wide swath of data from information about city finances to maps of buildings and greenways. Others are benefitting from civic organizations like OpenOakland, which is striving to provide Oakland, Calif., residents with access to a variety of data, including information on city budgets, public meetings and more.

This commitment to open data is transforming governments — but, more importantly, it’s also transforming the areas they serve.

Governments Armed with Agility

Open data further pronounces the need for agility. Agencies must be able to store large amounts of data, but they must also be able to make that data available in near real-time. For example, zoning maps must be kept up-to-date and readily available so that prospective developers have the information they need when they need it. Likewise, citizens may wish to have access to the previous day’s police reports or current information pertaining to voting districts, which can often change. This does not take into account the fact that, since citizens now have access to government data, they also have the ability to request changes to it at their leisure.

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Acquia Named to 2014 AlwaysOn Global 250 Top Private Companies [July 8, 2014]

Submitted on
mardi, le 8 juillet 2014h
,
AlwaysOn Network

One look at this year's 12th annual AlwaysOn Global 250 winners, and you can see that the technology landscape has changed dramatically during the last decade. New funding options are bringing more startups into being, and while competition has become fierce, the resulting companies that rise above the rest are proving their worth in today's demanding environment.

Cash-rich companies, both public and private, continue to make acquisitions, incorporating both intellectual capital and technology into their core products. Successful startups are waiting for IPO, stimulating ultra-high valuations, and keeping the venture community on its toes. This year's companies represent a strong, tough group of organizations willing to do what it takes to bring that one kernel of an idea from concept to market.

The AlwaysOn editorial team, along with partners at Morgan Stanley, KPMG, GSV Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners, Khosla Ventures, Accel Ventures, Bridge Bank, Venrock, FirstMark Capital, Doll Capital Management, Benchmark Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Mayfield Fund, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Bessemer Venture Partners, Intel Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, InterWest Partners, Qualcomm, Sequoia, and industry experts identified their best private technology startups to select the top 250 private companies in AlwaysOn's most distinguished annual competition.

Disruption Goes Global
Promise has turned to reality, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the B2B arena. Current advances in cloud infrastructure have finally started winning over IT departments. The hybrid cloud is burgeoning, and heavy-duty companies are developing resource-sharing technology that's replacing legacy infrastructure. Security, storage apps, and virtualization are among the most critical uses of the cloud, and business are turning to these solutions in droves.
Mobile applications, as well as the uprising of platform-as-a-service solutions are letting businesses spend their technology resources developing money-making apps instead of software support. SaaS has almost completely taken over traditional software models. The number of products available, from marketing automation to payment solutions to big data analytics to customer management, has taken a leap forward in terms of quality and reliability.

On the consumer side, social media has branched out into community-based resource-sharing and is forcing a disruption in key legacy institutions that hasn't been seen since online shopping began to tear down the suburban mall in the 1990s. In the transportation industry, the old school is literally taking to the streets in protest against ride-sharing firms like Lyft and Uber.

The travel market has already experienced a huge shakeup during the last decade, with online travel sites completely overhauling the traditional travel agency approach. Now, the advent of online short-term and vacation housing exchanges has rattled the bars of the powerful and entrenched hotel unions, especially in the U.S. Slow to respond, the hotel industry has been blindsided by a wave of companies, and media stories report municipal crackdowns, code enforcement, evictions, and even criminal charges, as this irresistible force threatens to engulf a previously immovable object.

A New Technology Landscape
This year's AlwaysOn Global 250 winners represent leadership in global innovation, developing software and hardware solutions that are ushering in a new era of global prosperity. Each company was selected based on a set of five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value, and media buzz.
Congratulations to all the 2014 AlwaysOn Global 250 winners. While the opportunities for software developers are practically limitless, B2B innovation and advancement in infrastructure solutions may represent the most potential for growth and opportunity. As technology continues to rewrite the present, the Global Silicon Valley remains its driving force.

The winners of this competition will be honored at:
Silicon Valley Innovation Summit 2014
Meet the Captains of Innovation
July 29th - 30th, 2014
Computer History Museum
Mountain View CA

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And the Emmy Award for Web CMS Goes to ... Acquia [July 8, 2014]

Submitted on
lundi, le 7 juillet 2014h
,
CMSWire

By Dom Nicastro

No, the Primetime Emmy Awards hasn’t added a category for Best Digital Experience or Best Performing Web CMS.

But Web CMS and customer experience will be a major behind-the-scenes component on the day the television awards show announces its nominees online at the Emmys website.

Acquia, which provides a platform for content, community and commerce, is powering that website with its Acquia Cloud — which was also the Web CMS engine behind the Grammys — that includes an elastic infrastructure and delivery solutions for Drupal.

“It's critical that our site performs at its very best,” Marc Wade, executive director of digital for the Television Academy, said in a statement. “That's why we sought a technology partner with the experience and Drupal expertise to ensure TelevisionAcademy.com scales to meet the massive demand generated by the Emmys and other events, and that search led us to Acquia."

The Numbers
So let’s dig into the numbers. Demand for the awards shows’ website and content on nomination days is through the roof.

Last year during the Emmy nominations – due out Thursday this year — Emmys.com saw 719,000 unique visitors and 3.5 million page views, according to Chuck Fishman, media, entertainment and publishing director at Acquia. And 300,000 came via mobile.

After the nominations are announced on a live webcast, the interest continues through all the events and content that lead up to the telecast of the Primetime Emmy Awards. That night, during the pre-show, the telecast and post-show, TelevisionAcademy.com (which feeds into Emmys.com) offers information on all the nominees, behind the scenes interviews and moments with the night's winners and presenters with a second-screen experience, “Backstage Live.”

Why Acquia?
CMSWire asked Jess Iandiorio, vice president of product marketing at Acquia, what sets the Acquia CMS apart from the competition. Acquia, she said, takes a holistic approach to resiliency. It starts with giving customers access to tools that "test and validate" the quality of their application, such as Acquia Insight.
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Setting Government Data Free [July 3, 2014]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 3 septembre 2014h
,
Semantic Web

By Jennifer Zaino

As July 4 approaches, the subject of open government data can’t help but be on many U.S. citizens’ minds. That includes the citizens who are responsible for opening up that data to their fellow Americans. They might want to take a look at NuCivic Data Enterprise, the recently unveiled cloud-based, open source, open data platform for government from NuCivic, in partnership with Acquia and Carahsoft. It’s providing agencies an OpenSaaS approach to meeting open data mandates to publish and share datasets online, based on the Drupal open source content management system.

NuCivic’s open source DKAN Drupal distribution provides the core data management components for the NuCivic Data platform; it was recognized last week as a grand prize winner for Amazon Web Services’ Global City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge in the Partner in Innovation category. Projects in this category had to demonstrate that the application solves a particular challenge faced by local government entities. As part of the award, the NuCivic team gets $25,000 in AWS services to further support its open data efforts.

DKAN, the company says, meets U.S. Project Open Data requirements, and includes both the DKAN Dataset and DKAN Datastore, so that open data publishers can easily manage their open data publication process while complying with industry- and government-mandated standards. DKAN includes among its features the ability to: explore, search, add, describe, tag, and group datasets via a web front-end or API; customize metadata fields, themes and branding; use metdata and data APIs, data previews, and visualizations through the Recline.js data visualization tool; and manage access control, version history with rollback, INSPIRE/RDF support, and user analytics.

Though it’s customizable, out of the box it uses the DCAT RDF vocabulary for metadata that is designed to facilitate interoperability between data catalogs published on the Web.

NuCivic’s founders have roots in the government sector. Co-founder and CEO Andrew Hoppin was a public sector CIO in New York, involved in overhauling the state Senate’s IT systems. In a blog he posted when the product launched, he wrote that, “Our strategy is to productize the Drupal content management system to address a full range of government enterprise information software needs, starting with open data…. We think Drupal is a fantastic framework upon which to base civic solutions for many types of functional needs, because of the global scale of the civic-interested engineering community behind it...

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3 Ways to Make Managing Millennials A Little Bit Easier [June 9, 2014]

Submitted on
lundi, le 9 juin 2014h
,
Inc.

By Peter Cohan

The young workforce can infuse your office with energy, but come with unique risks.

Millennials are invigorating the workforce with their youthful energy. If you run a fast-growing startup full of them, though, there are two unique risks that you absolutely must manage: quick turnover and rebellion against bureaucracy. If you don't, you will lose control of your business.

I discussed these hiring and management challenges with Tom Erickson, CEO of the software company Acquia. The firm has more than 450 people and generated $68 million in revenue last year. Here are his tips for eliminating the risk and working with Millennials.

1. Create a relaxed work environment.

How does Acquia do it? Erickson: "We create a work environment that feels conducive to people in their mid-20s. There are places for recreation, beer on tap, and no vacation policy. We respect that they will get their work done and will be checking their email and mobiles 24-7. If they need to take a break, they can do it. It gives them some sort of balance."

2. Make the executive team accessible to employees.

Acquia also makes sure that its staff can get access to key people in the organization. "To create a collaborative environment, we keep the organization chart as flat as possible," he says.

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A Chat with Acquia About Their Recent TruCentric Acquisition [June 4, 2014]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 4 juin 2014h
,
CMS Critic

By Mike Johnson

As you may have heard, Acquia recently picked up a Toronto based company focused on personalization for websites / commerce sites called TruCentric.

We took this opportunity to chat with Acquia about this acquisition and find out their motivations behind the purchase.

What spurred the acquisition of TruCentric over other players in the industry?

Digital marketers need to gain a deep understanding of all site visitors, including those that are anonymous, in order to grow their audience and drive conversions. Acquia is acquiring TruCentric, because it provides high resolution, real-time customer profiling for every site visitor based on their online behavior and preferences. With that information, digital marketers can deliver engaging, hyper-personalized experiences that appeal to site visitors and compel them to take a desired action.

Will the employees of TruCentric be taking on similar roles within Acquia now?

All TruCentric employees will join Acquia.

What are the long term plans for Acquia now that this acquisition has been announced?

Acquia helps businesses build and support digital properties, so they can out-compete their rivals among a the rapidly changing digital landscape. Personalized engagement and commerce are important revenue drivers for today’s digital-first businesses, so with this acquisition, Acquia is expanding the digital engagement and commerce segment of the business. TruCentric will extend the capabilities of Acquia Lift. TruCentric’s analytical insights, paired with Acquia Lift’s testing and personalization capabilities, will allow digital marketers to transform digital interactions into hyper-personalized experiences.

Can we expect to see a form of marketing suite integration into the Acquia platform?

Digital is disrupting every all modern business processes, not just marketing. In order for businesses to win against competitors, they need to drive digital transformation across their entire company...

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NuCivic Launches NuData, the Cloud-Based Open Source, Open Data Platform for Government [June 4, 2014]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 4 juin 2014h
,
MarketWired

NEW YORK - June 4, 2014 - NuCivic, the open civic platforms company, is partnering with Acquia and Carahsoft to launch NuData Enterprise, the first fully open source software-as-a-service (SaaS) open data management solution. Based on Drupal, NuData will allow governments to comply with open data mandates and spur new economic opportunity for entrepreneurs to build businesses based on government data.

To date, the most established open data publishing tools have either been proprietary SaaS solutions, or open source projects. The former results in vendor lock-in and limits the ability for governments to customize their own solution, while the latter traditionally has lacked enterprise-grade commercial support and security-certified hosting.

“Now for the first time, governments can employ an ‘OpenSaaS’ approach to open data mandates,” said NuCivic CEO Andrew Hoppin. “NuData allows governments the freedom and flexibility to either self-host and innovate on an open source platform, or to easily deploy a full-featured turnkey solution, with enterprise grade support and security, all without the constraint and risk of vendor lock-in inherent in a traditional SaaS model.”

NuData answers a growing need and opportunity for both public and private sector organizations with open data needs. According to McKinsey, the open data movement could help unlock $3 trillion to $5 trillion in economic value annually.

Several governmental organizations have already tested and deployed NuData’s solutions to meet their open data mandates. Early NuData customers and collaborators on the underlying open source project (DKAN) include several federal agencies in the U.S., cities in Germany (Cologne and Bonn), and civic organizations worldwide (Open Puerto Rico, OpenOakland, DataNinja).

“NuData Enterprise offers a unified solution for government agencies looking to improve digital citizen engagement as they meet the requirements of open data mandates,” said Drupal founder Dries Buytaert. “Agencies gain greater agility with Drupal, and with NuData Enterprise, they’ll lower their total cost of ownership for their digital open government initiatives.”

NuData Enterprise Highlights

NuData is based on an open source distribution of the Drupal content management system, the same popular, highly customizable, open source software that thousands of governments already run.
NuCivic has partnered with: Acquia, which provides an open cloud platform for Drupal-powered sites, and Carahsoft, the trusted government IT solutions provider.
Features include bulk data/API hosting and management, visualization and mapping tools, a back-end administrative management system and easy-to-use theming configuration.

About NuCivic
NuCivic delivers cloud-based open source (OpenSaaS) civic software solutions, helping governments to improve services while driving costs down. Its NuData data management platform, based on the same Drupal software that 1000s of governments already run, helps governments to fulfill their digital open government mandates quickly and affordably, without vendor lock-in. Founded by an award-winning team of open government innovators, NuCivic is based in New York City with additional offices in Madison, Wisconsin.

For more information visit www.nucivic.com or call +1 917.426.9136

About Acquia
Acquia is the digital business company. Join Twitter, Mercedes Benz, Warner Music Group, Stanford University and the more than 4,000 organizations that are changing how business gets done. Global 2000 enterprises, government agencies and NGOs rely on Acquia to create new revenue streams, lower costs, and engage audiences more deeply through content, community and commerce.

Innovate. Transform. Disrupt. Acquia.

For more information visit www.acquia.com or call +1 781 238 8600.

About Carahsoft
Carahsoft Technology Corp. is the trusted Government IT solutions provider. As a top-ranked GSA Schedule Contract holder, Carahsoft serves as the master government aggregator for many of its best-of-breed technology vendors, supporting an extensive ecosystem of software manufacturers, value-added resellers, system integrators, and consulting partners committed to helping government agencies select and implement the best solution at the best possible value.

The company’s dedicated Solutions Divisions proactively market, sell and deliver Open Source, VMware, Symantec, EMC, Adobe, F5 Networks, HP, SAP, and Innovative and Intelligence products and services, among others. Carahsoft is consistently recognized by its partners as a top revenue producer, and is listed annually among the industry's fastest growing firms by CRN, Inc., Washington Technology, The Washington Post, Washington Business Journal, and SmartCEO. Visit us at www.carahsoft.com.

Acquia Buys TruCentric to Boost its Cred in Personalized Content [June 3, 2014]

Submitted on
mardi, le 3 juin 2014h
,
GigaOM

By Barb Darrow

Acquia, which netted $50 million in new funding last week, is putting that money to use. The company, which built a range of content management system services atop open-source Drupal, is buying TruCentric, a SaaS firm specializing in real-time customer profiling.

Customer profiling/user engagement is tech speak for digging out information from a user’s past browsing history and other interactions to find what she is interested in and then targeting marketing campaigns for her. While that strikes many as creepy, it is also the holy grail for companies trying to sell products and services to the most receptive audience and leave the rest of the world alone. Acquia is just one of many companies chasing this ideal, including Adobe Systems’ with Marketing Cloud, Salesforce.com (with its ExactTarget-marketing cloud) and Oracle via its Vitrue acquisition. The news was announced at DrupalCon in Austin, Texas.

In an interview, Acquia CEO Tom Erickson said, while the company started out focusing on content management, it is now pushing into this brave new world of “digital engagement” where Toronto-based TruCentric can help. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a blog post, Buytaert wrote that TruCentric complements Acquia Lift, which adds testing and personalization capabilities for Drupal sites.

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