Add the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the growing list of government agencies eyeing Microsoft's cloud for their mobile productivity initiatives.
"Today, we announced an important milestone in helping HUD fulfill its mission as the agency granted an Authority to Operate (ATO) for our Dynamics CRM Online Government cloud," said Amir Capriles, general manager of U.S. Public Sector for Microsoft Dynamics, in an Aug. 5 announcement. Dynamics CRM Online for the U.S. Government officially opened for business on Jan. 6 of this year.
"In addition to giving our government customers the assurance they need to transition their business solution workloads to Dynamics CRM Online Government, the HUD ATO confirms Microsoft's solution complies with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program's (FedRAMP) regulations and legislative demands," added Capriles.
FedRAMP authorization ensures that cloud service providers that do business with the U.S. federal government adhere to stringent data security, management and governance policies. Over the past few years, Microsoft has been working to get the FedRAMP seal of approval on its Azure cloud-backed business software offerings.
Microsoft isn't the only major enterprise cloud service provider seeking a slice of federal cloud budgets. In April, IBM announced that it had scored a contract from the U.S. Army for a hybrid cloud implementation of its logistics system—Logistics Support Activity, or LOGSA—on the company's FedRAMP-approved cloud. LOGSA processes 40 million unique transactions a day, more than the New York Stock Exchange, according to Big Blue.
"HUD chose Dynamics CRM Online Government, with core case management functionality, as the best platform for modernizing business applications quickly and at a low cost," wrote Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a blog post. Like their corporate counterparts, U.S. government agencies are adapting to more mobile, cloud-enabled workstyles, a shift that aligns with Microsoft's "mobile-first, cloud-first" product strategy, he said.
"An integral component of the Microsoft Cloud for Government, Dynamics CRM Online Government ensures that agencies are able to get work done from any device, in the office or in the field, all with a single sign-on experience," said Stutz.
Despite these benefits, Microsoft has its work cut out in getting other agencies onboard, suggests a recent survey from NetApp and MeriTalk.
When it comes to cloud adoption, the federal government is dragging its feet. Only 19 percent of federal agencies have updated or migrated their software services to the cloud as of early 2015. Federal IT administrators are also leery about entrusting their workloads to cloud providers.
Only 10 percent of those surveyed said they were "comfortable" entrusting their IT services and applications over to cloud service providers. A third (33 percent) described themselves as "uncomfortable" with the prospect, while 11 percent said they were "very uncomfortable." Twenty-four percent were neutral on the issue.