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Microsoft Targets CRM in Government Cloud

Microsoft Targets CRM in Government Cloud
By Jennifer LeClaire

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Analyst Brad Shimmin expects Microsoft to “make hay” with its push to provide Dynamics CRM in the government cloud. Microsoft, he says, is among the tech behemoths that can come into a market and take the Walmart approach, putting mom and pops out of business. Of course, Salesforce.com is no mom-and-pop and fierce competition is expected.
 



Despite their recent alignment in some areas, Microsoft now seems to be aiming square for Salesforce.com’s jawline with its latest CRM software release. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is hoping to gain major momentum among U.S. government agencies with its new cloud computing solutions. The well-rounded infrastructure includes Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform, its Office 365 productivity apps, and now Dynamics CRM for customer, or in this case, constituent relationship management.

In a Thursday blog post, Microsoft's VP for the U.S. Public Sector Curt Kolcun announced updates to Microsoft's cloud offerings, spanning infrastructure, data, productivity, mobility, and more. The crux of the announcement is that Dynamics CRM Online will be joining Office 365 and Azure in servicing U.S. federal, state, and local governments agency.

Essentially, he explained, Dynamics CRM Online for government will be a separate offering for government customers in compliance with FedRAMP and operated by U.S. citizens. The new version will hit the market in early 2015 and allow government customers to leverage existing Microsoft on-premise and cloud investments, including integration with the Azure and Office 365 government community clouds.

Government Cloud Momentum

“The Dynamics CRM Online government cloud will also provide citizens with a central online resource to research information about events and services, find community health centers, apply for permits or licenses, pay bills and fines, or log reports and requests,” Kolcun said.

Kolcun went on to explain that a Microsoft government cloud environment will enable better communication and collaboration, streamline infrastructure and management, offer better access to data insights, and empower governments to better engage with citizens.

If Microsoft’s success with Azure and Office 365 in the public sector is any indication, Redmond could do well out of the gate. The company pointed to the likes of Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) and partners like Schneider Electric and InfoReliance that are using the Azure preview.

Meanwhile, over 2,200 federal, state and local government customers in the U.S. are using Office 365. In the last 90 days alone, Kolcun said, more than 750 state and local governments and over 60 federal government agencies have purchased seats of Office.

Large cities and counties, from the County of Los Angeles to the County of Mecklenburg, NC, and cities like Chicago, San Jose, and San Francisco have all picked Office 365. And the majority of federal cabinet level agencies have chosen Office 365 for productivity and collaboration needs, including full implementation across agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EPA. (continued...)

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