Its day one of Microsoft’s annual U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit where more than 250 of the brightest minds in government and education are gathered to learn more about how Microsoft and our partner technologies can help modernize their businesses. These are visionary CIOs and IT leaders that are transforming their technology infrastructures during one of the most challenging budget climates that the public sector has ever experienced.   

John F Kennedy said, “In a crisis, be aware of the danger, but recognize the opportunity.” Our customers are living proof of this, navigating today’s budget pressures by seizing the opportunity to think differently about technology. Demand for solutions that can drive new efficiencies at a lower price point has never been greater, and today we announced a host of new government and education customers that are leading the way in leveraging IT to make their organizations leaner, more agile, and more responsive to citizen needs.

Embracing Cloud Cost Savings: Public sector organizations are increasingly leveraging the power of cloud computing to do more with less, and today we announced eight new government and education organizations that are moving to Microsoft Office 365 for cloud-based productivity, including the City of Seattle, the City of Kansas City, the University of Miami and Sacramento State University. Through Microsoft Office 365, public sector organizations are saving money on IT management and data hosting costs while taking advantage of expanded collaboration opportunities and seamless integration with existing IT assets, without having to sacrifice on privacy or security.  These new customers join more than 1 million government workers that are making the move to Office 365. 

Modernizing Service Delivery: Citizen expectations for government services have never been higher, and a number of agencies are modernizing their business functions to increase operational efficiency and freeing up staff to focus on strategic service delivery. Today we announced eleven new Microsoft customers that are achieving these goals through the innovative use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  For example, the Louisiana Department of Health is using the solution to consolidate its case management applications, resulting in a 40 percent reduction in redundant tasks, and the State of Indiana Economic Development Corporation has managed to double employee productivity while reducing its annual budget allocation from $60 million to $40 million.

Empowering Learning from Anywhere:  Understanding today’s most pressing education challenge—to empower our students to become the skilled work force of tomorrow, we announced today that 10 K–12 school districts and higher-education institutions have signed on to use Windows 8 for more than 540,000 students and faculty. Windows 8 is helping schools modernize learning and increase productivity and collaboration to best prepare students for futures in college and careers. Our Windows 8 education early adopters now include Apollo Group, Atlanta Public Schools, Barry University, Fargo Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District,  Jackson-Madison County School System, Pace University, San Antonio Independent School District, Thomas College and Tuckahoe Common School District.

To help school leaders and educators better understand how technology can be used in the classroom, Microsoft is conducting 700 Windows in the Classroom seminars across the country before the end of the school year. Those wanting to sign up for a session and to learn more about how technology can be incorporated into existing curriculum and how 1:1 device programs can help expand learning outside the traditional classroom walls should visit http://mie.ncce.org/wic.  Schools can also register for the Partners in Learning Network (http://www.pil-network.com) to access a global network of educators sharing best practices, free software tools and tutorials, and lesson plans. Specific Windows 8 training materials can be found at http://www.pil-network.com/pd/course/wic.

It’s clear that the public sector doesn’t take a back seat to the private sector when it comes to the creative implementation of emerging technology to change lives. Keep in touch with us by following @Microsoft_EDU and @Microsoft_Gov. The event hashtag is #USPSCIO.