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Microsoft U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit – Opinion and Review

Posted Mar 06 2009 2:55pm

  From Chad Vander Veen, Associate Editor of Government Technology, who just attended the Summit, this is his opinion and thoughts on what image Microsoft is doing to work with and help the public sector, CIOs.  One comment I found interesting here though is the problems that the states will have in properly and quickly implementing IT systems with the funds that are pouring out, a new problem, but a good one.

Addressed is the “Cloud” and how to best utilize services where local data management on local servers is not necessary, Web 2.0 stuff.  I am a small consultant, but I have used Microsoft Office Live/Small Business now for a year and it works well for me.  Yesterday at a meeting at Microsoft, I was also talking about how much I liked it and how convenient it has been for me, just having my email available and connecting to my desktop version of Outlook on any of my computers and being in synch is huge, no more having to use any 3rd party software to synch at all. 

One other item of note for students, don’t forget the Big Steal for $59.99 – Office Ultimate which is normally around $600.00 and available for current students with an EDU email address extension and runs through December 2010.  BD 

I just got back from Microsoft HQ in Redmond, Washington, having attended the annualMicrosoft U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit.The very well attended event featured a number of Microsoft bigwigs who detailed the role the company is looking to play as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) kicks into high gear. The conference was also meant to explain what Microsoft's plans are for IT in the public sector and in general. 
The event, which ran from Tuesday through today, was most meaty in the middle, with speakers like Microsoft's Vice President of U.S. Public Sector Curt Kolcun, General Manager of Industry Unit Joel Cherkis, and even the big man himself, Steve Ballmer.

McKee said many of Microsoft's customers were struggling with the magnitude of the economic downturn as well as the enormity of the monies headed their way. Commenting on the Elevate America program, McKee added that if those looking for work could get Microsoft Certified, a number of well-paying jobs are or will be available.
One of the challenges, it was agreed, is that never before have states had the problem of potentially getting so much aide from the federal government that they may be unable to spend it fast enough or adequately enough. Filtering through funding streams, McKee said, is going to be difficult and agencies are looking to companies like Microsoft to deploy solutions to help.

The discussion eventually headed back into the cloud. I was informed pharmaceutical giant Glaxo-Smith Kline had recently partnered with Microsoft for a large-scale cloud computing rollout.  She said Microsoft is doing its own work to understand how funding is going to work and that the company is talking with states to see what their key areas are.

She also told me about her recent visit to the National Governor's Association. She lauded the nation's governors for having what she said was an excellent grasp on the critical role IT will play as ARRA rolls out. Health IT was a top-of-mind issue for most governors, she said. "Putting the citizen more in control of their health," she noted, was roundly called for at the NGA. She added that connected HHS is a big Microsoft initiative, with the company'sHealthVaultplaying a major part.

My takeaway from the event was that, were I a public CIO, there is definitely technology and expertise at Microsoft that deserves my attention.

Blog: Microsoft U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit

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