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by Tim Marsh
The past few years have seen a dramatic shift among governments and other public entities toward open data initiatives. These efforts involve unlocking vast troves of data collected or generated by civic institutions and making them available for public consumption. Among the more prominent efforts are data.gov.uk in the United Kingdom and data.gov in the US.
While there is enormous benefit to be gained from the open data movement, from the ability to identify and eliminate redundancy and waste, to the creation of new, entrepreneurial business opportunities built upon the data, there are also significant challenges. The ability to actually publish the data and make it consumable has been hampered by the solutions currently available, none of which can be implemented without significant cost, time-to-launch, and vendor or platform lock-in.
Acquia and public sector solutions provider Nuams are changing that. Our companies have come together to create NuCivic DATA Enterprise, the flagship product in Nuams’ suite of open source software-as-a-service – or OpenSaaS -- applications for governments and non-profits.
NuCivic DATA Enterprise is built to revolutionize the landscape of government software implementation, disrupt current models for software development, and be a tipping point for the fledgling world of OpenSaaS. It is the first fully supported, enterprise-level, Drupal-based, open source software-as-a-service solution engineered specifically to provide data portal functionality to the public sector. It is built on top of the Drupal distribution for government data, DKAN, and is fully supported on the Acquia Cloud hosting platform. NuCivic DATA Enterprise’s unique position as a true OpenSaaS solution offers a host of best-of-all-worlds benefits:
- As a fully developed product, NuCivic DATA Enterprise was specifically built with efficiency in mind. Designed for governments and other public agencies, NuCivic DATA Enterprise provides full-featured data portal functionality “out of the box,” mitigating the need for extensive (and expensive) design and development.
- As a SaaS solution supported by Acquia Cloud, NuCivic DATA Enterprise can be deployed rapidly, without costly or laborious infrastructure investment.
- As an open source solution, NuCivic DATA Enterprise allows for virtually unlimited customization and innovation.
- As an open source solution built entirely on Drupal and Drupal-compatible technologies, NuCivic DATA Enterprise comes with an expansive support base and no vendor lock-in or hosting commitment.
NuCivic DATA Enterprise sits at the convergence of great need--the worldwide open data movement in government--and great opportunity--the maturity of Drupal as a platform for OpenSaas in general, and data portal management in particular. NuData will prove that OpenSaaS is the perfect model for government software development, and that Drupal is the perfect platform for OpenSaaS development.