The first annual Microsoft Government Solution Awards honored 19 winners and finalists for innovation in government. Government Technology's Public CIO magazine judged the contest and presented the awards during the Microsoft Government CIO Summit on Jan. 15 in Redmond, Wash. Judges for the program included Jon Fyffe, publisher, Government Technology's Public CIO magazine; Tod Newcombe, editor, Government Technology's Public CIO; and Paul Taylor, chief strategy officer, the Center for Digital Government.

The projects range in size from a local municipality using wireless PDAs to help inspectors become more effective to the U.S. Navy's Second Fleet leveraging Web services to extract valuable information from databases. But the 19 winners and finalists of the first annual Microsoft Government Solution Recognition Awards share one thing in common: a capacity for innovation within government.

Winners and finalists were judged according to their performance in one of four categories: government productivity solution, innovation in government, government to government, and government to citizen. State and local government entries were judged separately from those submitted by federal agencies and departments. All winning solutions were developed using Microsoft's software, including SharePoint and .NET technologies.

State and Local Winners

Government to government: Finding ways to gather, process and share information in the criminal justice community has always been tricky. But the Southwest Alabama Integrated Criminal Justice System has done just that among 6,500 users spread across 24 agencies. They used a Web portal powered by Web services using .NET technology to power the application.

Government to citizen: MyBuildingPermit.com, developed by the city of Bellevue, Wash., has cut the paper chase for building permits with its unique Web portal solution that provides a means to obtain multiple construction permits from several cities in a single transaction.

Government productivity: The Washington state Department of Ecology created the Exchange Network to share environmental data between the EPA and other agencies. This productivity enhancing solution is the first network of its kind and has become a model for other state environmental agencies.

Innovation in government: Building inspectors in Naperville, Ill., use low-cost wireless PDAs while in the field to access important data on the city's back-end computer systems. Inspectors save an hour of time per day. For the city, that translates into a savings of nearly $153,000 annually.

Government to government: The North Carolina Department of Justice has built a Realtime Integrated Information System, which provides timely messaging between six state agencies. The project has reduced or eliminated expensive coding changes and other software and hardware costs while boosting developer productivity by 75 percent.

Government to government: Polk County, Iowa has developed CopLink, a Web-based system that has migrated and consolidated public-safety information from six law enforcement agencies. Since it went live, CopLink has helped solve a number of high-profile crimes in the county.

Finalists include: Washington state Department of Revenue, Tax Enforcement Data Warehouse; Orange County, Calif., Integrated Justice Solution; Washington state Financial Improvement Reporting Project; and Washtenaw County, Mich., Hearing and Vision program.

Federal Winners

Government productivity: The Pacific Air Force's Operations and Security Center has created the Tasker Tracker System, a secure Web-based decision support tool that speeds indexing and searches for important information. Because it enforces metadata standards, the system ensures excellent results from searches, saving hundreds of man-hours on vital status questions from remote users.

Government productivity: The Federal Aviation Administration has launched the Knowledge Services Network, a pilot project supporting a community of 7,000 government staff employees, industry partners and contractors who have virtual access to business documents and FAA knowledge. The system is calculated

Tod Newcombe  |  Senior Editor

With more than 20 years of experience covering state and local government, Tod previously was the editor of Public CIO, e.Republic’s award-winning publication for information technology executives in the public sector. He is now a senior editor for Government Technology and a columnist at Governing magazine.