November 13, 2012
The Veterans Affairs Department plans to move 600,000 employees and contractors to Microsoft’s cloud-based email and calendar system over the next five years, the vendor managing the transition said Tuesday.
VA will pay HP Enterprise Services $36 million to manage the transition to Microsoft’s Office 365 for Government, HP said in a press release. The first phase of the transition will involve moving 15,000 employees to the cloud-based system, HP said.
“VA is moving to cloud-based email and collaboration as part of a broader effort to leverage emerging technologies to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and, most importantly, improve service delivery to our nation’s veterans,” Charles De Sanno, executive director of VA’s Enterprise Systems Engineering group, said in a statement.
VA will join numerous other agencies that have already begun or completed the move to cloud email, including the General Services Administration and the Agriculture and Labor departments.
GSA established blanket purchase agreements with 17 cloud email vendors in August, hoping to save time and money for future agencies making the transition. Those vendors mainly offer email systems managed by Microsoft and Google. They also offer Domino Web, an IBM system, and Zimbra, an open source system.
Email has been a popular item for agencies to move to the cloud because it presents comparatively low security concerns and cloud storage makes it easier for employees to access email, calendars and collaboration tools from personal computers, smartphones and tablets. The government expects to ultimately save $5 billion annually by moving about one-fourth of its information technology to more nimble cloud computing.
This story has been updated to clarify that employees and contractors will be using VA's cloud email system
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November 13, 2012