Army taps Microsoft for 50,000 Office 365 seats in the cloud

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The U.S. Army has awarded a Blanket Purchase Agreement to Microsoft and Dell for 50,000 seats of Office 365 and Cloud Services, including email and calendaring, Office Web Apps, unified communications capabilities such as Microsoft Lync, and Sharepoint collaboration tools.

The BPA is available to any service branch of the Defense Department and all other components, opening up new commercial cloud and mobile opportunities for Microsoft across DOD.

“We see this as a continuation of the great partnership that we’ve had with the Department of Defense,” said Curt Kolcun, vice president of U.S. public sector at Microsoft, in an interview with FedScoop. “It allows options for Department of Defense users who may not need the Defense Enterprise Email capability, but want that same consistency and capabilities with Microsoft products.”

Kolcun characterized the cloud aspect of the award as providing the Pentagon “a great amount of latitude” as it looks at how best to use mobile devices and technology.

“Moving to the cloud allows them to utilize capabilities like Sharepoint, use it in the office, have it on their tablet or have it on their mobile device,” Kolcun said. Likewise, being able to connect Microsoft’s Lync 2013 to the DOD information network would enable users to have voice-over-Internet-protocol conversations from their computing devices anywhere in the world.

The Army award adds to Microsoft’s federal user base of 1 million Office 365 users, and builds on the company’s significant momentum in the federal cloud market.

In November 2012, the Army, Air Force and Defense Information Systems Agency expanded access to Microsoft solutions in a contract-partnership that ensures standardization, interoperability, and security through modernized technology infrastructure and virtualization.

Then in September, the Pentagon’s Joint Interoperability Test Center certified Microsoft’s Lync 2013, allowing DOD organizations to connect Lync 2013 to the DOD’s information network.

Microsoft on Sept. 30 also received certification from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, known as FedRAMP, for Windows Azure and cloud infrastructure.

Kolcun said the Army BPA is for the Government Community Cloud, which has been certified and accredited under the Federal Information Security Management Act, known as FISMA.

“Those customers will determine in their task orders what certifications they would look for relative to the task,” Kolcun said.

The authority to operate granted by the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board for Azure makes it easier for Microsoft to sell its cloud services across the government, but it is not a requirement under this latest BPA with the Army, he said.

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Army, Curt Kolcun, Dell, Department of Defense (DOD), Departments, Government IT News, Innovation, Microsoft, Microsoft Windows Azure, Military, Office 365
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