24 Jun

State Governments Are Transitioning to the Cloud With Office 365

For many small and medium-sized business owners, the shift to a cloud environment still feels like something only high-tech businesses are doing. But this is changing rapidly. A panel discussion of the National Association of State Technology Directors confirmed that many East Coast state governments are migrating key processes to the cloud, with Microsoft Office 365 leading the transition. 

As of June of 2016, there were 30 state governments using Office 365 applications, with a combined total of 3.8 million users at state and local government levels. Tony Lupinacci, the CTO for Rhode Island explains how Office 365 became a “jumping off point” for his local government because it enabled them to get comfortable before they started using more cloud services. Once they learned the cloud language with the simple Office 365 interface, they started giving it to agencies to include in their requests for proposals to help them consider the cloud.

There are a host of applications in Office 365 that are geared specifically for U.S government services, including business-class calendars and email with a familiar Outlook framework, online conferencing using HD video, instant messaging and Skype connectivity, file storage and sharing with up to 1TB of personal storage, and cutting-edge security and proactive monitoring. 

Office 365 is the perfect entry point into cloud systems because its interface is widely recognized and understood, it can be limited to one suite of applications to give users a sense of control and it was designed specifically for the cloud. 

Many states have started transitioning to the cloud by adopting one or two applications, such as Skype for Business or email, before realizing the benefits and simplicity of the system and committing to a more complete suite of applications. Steven Spalten of New York’s Office of IT Services explains that they used to have 50 different flavors of everything. They began by using email and then realized the benefits of cloud environments in general.

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