With the goal of strengthening its technology investment to transform healthcare, benefits and other services for America's veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has renewed its commitment to Microsoft Corp., entering into a five-year Enterprise Agreement, which will provide the flexibility to best suit users' needs and help optimize the department's technology spend. The comprehensive agreement gives the VA access to all Microsoft's current and emerging technologies, including Windows 7, Windows Server 2012, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft System Center 2012, Bing Maps, the full suite of Microsoft Visual Studio developer tools, and numerous other products and services, spanning from the desktop to the datacenter and including mobile devices.
"After considerable deliberation and working very closely with Microsoft, we are pleased to have constructed a unique and cost-effective Enterprise License Agreement for a full array of Microsoft products and services," said Charles De Sanno, executive director of Enterprise Systems Engineering for the Department of Veterans Affairs. "This agreement allows VA to continue its longstanding, strategic relationship with Microsoft as a key technology partner while providing value and flexibility for our rapidly changing needs in this new era of datacenter, cloud and mobility."
The VA is one of the largest healthcare organizations in the world and has one of the largest technology systems in the United States with approximately 6,300 IT employees, 175 datacenters, approximately 400,000 desktop computers and more than 100,000 mobile devices. To help meet the agency's goal of providing the best possible service to veterans, the VA focuses on technology priorities, including empowering a mobile workforce and aligning rich datasets across the enterprise to help improve healthcare information and patient outcomes.
As a cabinet-level agency second only in size to the Department of Defense, the VA is looking for ways to cut costs and enhance productivity while continuing to improve service to veterans. All of this is accomplished, or aided, by the use of advancing technology. With an increasingly mobile workforce, the VA will use Microsoft technologies to manage multiple devices connecting to the VA's networks and cloud-based platforms.
The department will benefit from Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint to drive improved productivity and better collaboration both internally and externally. Currently, the VA is one of the largest users of Microsoft Office Communications Server and is in the process of upgrading to Microsoft Lync. On the desktop, the agency is aggressively migrating to Windows 7 and Office 2010 and will have access to future versions of Windows for its desktop environment. The VA is a participant in the Windows 8 early adopter program and, according to De Sanno, "the VA is excited about the potential that the Windows 8 platform brings to the mobility."
The agency will also continue its groundbreaking corporate data warehouse initiative using SQL Server database technology, consolidating the large majority of its analytical data on one platform. The initiative has empowered the VA officials, from data analysts to individual healthcare providers and business managers, with enterprise-scale reporting and collaboration tools, a new data security framework, and a state-of-the-art scientific computing environment.
"Microsoft is thrilled to continue our strategic partnership with the VA and our contributions to the essential mission of the Department," said Greg Myers, vice president for Microsoft Federal. "The VA continues to focus and improve on its most important mission -- that of providing the most efficient and effective services for our veterans. We share this mission with the VA and are honored to be supporting our veterans with the many key technical and educational initiatives that Microsoft is able to impact. From our work on the mobile platform to big data and collaboration initiatives to helping improve claims processing through the Veterans Relationship Management program, we are doubling down on our commitment to our veterans."
Microsoft continues its initiatives to assist veterans to successfully enter or re-enter the U.S. workforce. For example, the company has extended its Elevate America veterans initiative in a number of ways, including establishment of a voucher initiative for Veterans, as well as joining the president's broad initiative to help veterans returning to work and the first and second ladies' Joining Forces initiative.
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