Posted by Steve Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer

Later today, I’ll join about 50 CEOs from some of America’s most innovative companies at the White House for a forum on modernizing government hosted by President Obama and senior members of his administration. It’s an honor to be invited to participate.

I’m encouraged by this forum. It’s another strong signal that leaders at the very highest level of the federal government recognize that information technology has the potential to transform government by making it more efficient, more effective and more responsive.

One example is the Open Government Directive, which requires federal agencies to make data available online, and as a result more than 100,000 government data sets are now available at the Web site Data.gov. We’re excited about opportunities to work with government and industry to take the next step by helping provide tools that let citizens and government agencies organize that data and turn it into meaningful, actionable information to help improve government services.

In fact, Microsoft has been proud to play a role in a number of successful examples of this administration’s efforts to use information technology to achieve its goals. For example, Microsoft SharePoint Server is an important part of Recovery.gov, a Web site where taxpayers can track where federal stimulus money is going. In addition, dozens of states, cities, and counties are using Microsoft Stimulus360 to keep both the federal government and citizens informed about how stimulus dollars are being spent. And in November, U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra helped us unveil “Be a Martian,” a project built on the Windows Azure platform that brings crowd sourcing to interplanetary exploration so that anyone can help NASA review and analyze images of Mars.

Clearly, there are big opportunities for government to become more productive and more efficient by using IT to do things the private sector has been doing for years, like digitizing and automating paper-based processes and using online tools to improve customer service. But the true value over time will come from projects like “Be a Martian” and Data.gov that let citizens unlock the incredible value contained in the vast amounts of data generated by the government. For just one example, look at what happened some years ago when the Department of Defense made satellite information available -- it was the catalyst for the creation of an entirely new industry built around GPS technology.
 
I look forward to joining my colleagues from other companies at the White House today. We’ve all seen how information technology drives our businesses forward and we all believe that the same tools that we use every day can help make government work better for the people it serves. At Microsoft, we look forward to continuing a close partnership with the administration to provide reliable, flexible, enterprise-ready tools that deliver great value to government and citizens alike.