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This year is becoming the tipping point for government IT modernization. Why are government agencies undertaking this transformation now? And, importantly, why is cloud technology central to this change?

Government agencies handle more data, and more sensitive data, than almost any other organization. In addition, governments must operate within strict regulations, meeting the most stringent requirements for security and privacy. As government agencies work to address new citizen, employee, and security requirements – among others, cloud-based technology offers unprecedented opportunities to transform the way government approaches long-standing problems. By using cloud computing, government can access innovation including artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of things; enable more collaborative, mobile work styles to increase productivity and attract new talent; and meet their mission goals of improving life for citizens. And, across these areas, governments can utilize leading cyber-security capabilities developing through cloud computing.

The new cloud-first mandate in government IT is smartly influencing policy making and purchasing. Following the Report To The President On Federal IT Modernization and with the passage of the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT), Congress is empowering the federal government to invest in the future through a two-year $500 million central modernization fund. Additional new funding has been earmarked for IT modernization and procurement processes, as well. The Department of Defense (DoD), State Department, General Services Administration (GSA) and other agencies are taking the right steps to begin the cloud transformation today, as they actively evaluate future IT systems and workplace modernization projects. 

Evidence that we are at a tipping point for government to modernize IT with the cloud is coming from agencies across every level and branch of government. Some of our recent customer examples of this include:

  • The Commonwealth of Virginia is taking on the nation’s opioid epidemic through an extremely sophisticated cloud architecture that marries sensitive public, health, and prescription data to better understand and triage solutions for this important public health crisis.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) is planning to adopt all of Microsoft 365 to drive cost savings across mobility, security, and collaboration tool sets while delivering a consistent and modern experience across SBA’s geographically dispersed employee base. The use of technology empowers SBA to achieve its core mission: to help Americans start, build, and grow businesses.
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) whose Access to Care web-based application enables patients to more easily schedule VA hospital appointments and track likely wait times, creating a better patient experience.
  • The US Air Force, along with the Defense Logistics Agency, leverage Microsoft secure cloud technology to provide the productivity and collaboration services that Service members need to fulfill their mission.
  • The State Department’s AirNow project places IoT sensors on embassies and consulates around the world to capture air quality monitoring data. That data is then analyzed using Power BI insights to foster diplomatic conversations about how the US can help other countries improve air quality and national health.
  • The City of Chicago moved to the cloud for secure productivity services to reduce costs and on-premises infrastructure and found that process automation and information discovery were added benefits. Plus, employees love the mobility that allows them to work anywhere and on any device.

And, these are just a few examples of the progress and innovation happening across government agencies.

Microsoft Introduces Microsoft 365 for US Government, Azure Stack on Azure Government, New Regions Dedicated to Secret US Classified Data and New Certifications for Dynamics 365 to Aid Government in Increasing Modernization Speed

All government cloud offerings are not the same, and only Microsoft is as committed to supporting the needs of government across all branches and levels. We’ve built the most trusted, comprehensive cloud for government that more than 10 million government users rely on. The Microsoft Cloud for Government, which includes Azure Government, Microsoft 365 for US Government, and Dynamics 365 Government, is the sole government-only offering to span infrastructure, platform and software capabilities and services (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS).

To make it easier for agencies to increase their modernization speed, Microsoft has worked with our government customers to achieve the most certifications of any cloud provider with over 72 compliance regimes supported at every level of government to help them meet their requirements.

Today at Microsoft’s Government Tech Summit in Washington, D.C., we’re continuing our commitment to partner with government in helping them modernize and innovate with four major announcements: 

Microsoft 365 for US Government is now generally available. A complete solution for the modern workplace comprised of Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows 10, Microsoft 365 for US Government provides agencies with tools for mobile productivity and secure collaboration. With this release, Enterprise Mobility + Security is now also generally available for the US Government with deep integration into both Microsoft 365 and Azure Government. It’s core capabilities are designed to meet the requirements of government by mirroring the functions outlined in the NIST cybersecurity framework– identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover.

Microsoft is already unique in providing consistent, comprehensive hybrid cloud capabilities to government, and we’re advancing those capabilities by bringing Microsoft Azure Stack to Azure Government. This is a game-changing hybrid solution that delivers consistency across public, government-only, and on-premises cloud environments to enable advanced services to power government’s tactical missions and make the intelligent edge a reality.

Last October, we announced Azure Government Secret and we are making major progress in delivering this cloud designed to meet the regulatory and compliance requirements of the intelligence community. Today, we take the next step forward by adding two new regions, coming soon, dedicated to Secret US classified data. This brings Microsoft’s US government-only datacenter regions count to a total of 8.  

Finally, we are excited to announce Microsoft will offer Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Government Community Cloud (GCC) High in 4th quarter (Q4) of calendar year 2018. This will support the requirements of the DoD, as well as contractors holding, or processing DoD controlled unclassified information or subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The Dynamics 365 GCC High environment will provide support for the DoD Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide for information up to Impact Level 4. Dynamics 365 GCC and GCC High will offer up to FedRAMP High. These Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement investments are a component of Microsoft’s applications platform that also includes Power BI, PowerApps, Flow, Steam and the Common Data Service—these services power the extensibility of Dynamics 365 and for all of Office 365. This platform empowers customers to easily customize, develop, and deploy applications that work online and offline, for consumption on mobile devices and the web, without the need to write code. Power BI is currently available in GCC and GCC High. Power Apps, Flow, Stream and the Common Data Service will be available in GCC 2018 Q4.

We’re proud to work with more than 7,000 US federal, state and local government customers to help them move their modernization efforts forward, and we will continue to innovate and expand our cloud offerings to empower governments to better serve their citizens.