The feds can now get in on Microsoft's cloud-based action. Redmond is making its Microsoft Dynamics business solutions available specifically for federal government agencies.
Microsoft said it designed the cloud solutions to meet the security and functionality requirements of U.S. federal agencies. The applications involved help government workers collaborate, manage data, improve processes, and access actionable business intelligence while leveraging the flexibility and cost savings of cloud computing.
"Government customers can feel confident in a cloud delivery model that meets federal government mandates such as FISMA and the 'cloud-first' policy," said Amir Capriles, general manager, U.S. Public Sector for Microsoft Dynamics. "This environment allows them to achieve the business benefits of cloud computing while meeting even the most stringent security requirements."
Microsoft tapped Layered Technologies as its host partner for its government offerings. The Layered Tech environment includes a single-tenancy private cloud with dedicated hardware and physical storage for tight security requirements, as well as a federal-only infrastructure environment to leverage increased scalability and efficiency and reduced costs associated with public cloud computing.
Apps for CRM, Call Centers and More
Microsoft is making a set of Dynamics solutions available on the new infrastructure. The solutions promise to help government officials with a large variety of tasks, including case management, workforce management, onboarding, correspondence and targeted outreach, task management, field inspection, intelligence gathering, call center interactions, financial management, grants management, Freedom of Information Act management, emergency response, economic development, jail and offender management, and 311.
With the launch of a Microsoft Dynamics government cloud solution, Layered Tech established a Solutions Advisory Committee to enable certified Microsoft Dynamics partners with years of government experience to rapidly deploy government cloud solutions, maximizing best practices and lessons learned to meet the unique needs of government agencies.
Accenture and Catapult On Board
Microsoft lined up government agency partners to sing the praises of its new solution. Jim Booth, general manager for Federal at Catapult Systems, explained that the technology advances that Layered Tech has developed are especially important. They address the special security concerns related to using a compliant cloud environment, and at the same time, they help satisfy cost reduction requirements that are facing virtually every government agency.
"Coupled with the Microsoft Dynamics application platform for rapid development and Catapult's preconfigured [commercial off-the-shelf] solutions, lower-cost, more robust complete offerings can be provided to government agencies for a wide range of solutions, from correspondence to security escalation and case management," Booth said.
Annette Rippert, Federal Services senior executive at Accenture, said the Microsoft Dynamics Government Cloud provides the opportunity to optimize 'as-a-service' computing resources to quickly and cost-effectively deliver targeted solutions to support specific federal agency requirements.
"Being able to provide solutions like Accenture's Task Management Tool as a service will reduce infrastructure, maintenance and support costs, while delivering a high level of security and regulatory compliance," she said.
Google Competition Pushing Microsoft?
Google has also been making strides to serve the vast government market with its own secure cloud solutions, and some think that effort has been motivating Microsoft to refocus, before losing ground.
"Typically Microsoft brings out general solutions and lets partners customize them for individual markets," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "But Google's focus on government appears to have driven [Microsoft] to an impressive effort to create a solution specifically designed to meet federal government needs."
He sees Dynamics as a very solid offering, one which he doubts "would have existed had Google not attempted to attack this market first."