Microsoft's Dynamics CRM Cloud Accepting U.S. Government Customers

Azure goes to Washington. Microsoft's U.S.-based, FedRAMP-approved data centers stand ready for government CRM workloads.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Cloud for government

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for the U.S. Government is now generally available, Kirill Tatarinov, executive vice president of the Microsoft Business Solutions Group, announced today.

First announced in December, Dynamics CRM Online for the U.S. Government leverages the Redmond, Wash.-based IT giant's federally certified cloud data centers to deliver customer relationship management (CRM) software capabilities to government agencies. "Designed for FedRAMP compliance, Dynamics CRM Online for Government will help organizations improve productivity, offering greater efficiency, ease of use and collaboration," stated Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, at the time.

FedRAMP, or the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, is an assessment and monitoring program for cloud services used by the U.S. government. All federal agencies must use FedRAMP, finalized in 2012 after years in development, to evaluate and purchase solutions from cloud service providers.

In addition to data security assurances, FedRAMP also helps maximize how tax dollars are spent on cloud services, according to estimates from then-Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel. By streamlining the cloud service procurement process, FedRAMP can cut costs by 30 percent to 40 percent.

Starting today, government agencies can move their CRM workloads onto Microsoft's FedRAMP-approved data centers, said Tatarinov in a statement. "Today's announcement is a significant step in our journey to provide government customers the same functionality that millions of businesses now enjoy—delivered as a service from a secure, government community cloud," Tatarinov said, referencing Microsoft's suite of Azure-backed business software offerings.

"The power of the Microsoft Government Cloud means any time, anywhere access to applications and information in a secure, fully compliant environment," Tatarinov said. Dynamics CRM Government Cloud supports on-premise and hybrid cloud implementations. It also integrates with Office 365 government plans, he added.

Data handled by the solution stays in the United States, Amir Capriles, general manager of U.S. Public Sector for Microsoft Dynamics, said in a blog post. "With a financially backed service-level agreement (SLA), Dynamics CRM Online Government is designed for FedRAMP compliance and operated (by U.S. citizens) in a Microsoft-owned and U.S.-based data center."

Moreover, the solution allows government agencies to adopt enterprise-grade cloud- and mobile-enabled work styles, Capriles said.

"It connects departments, teams and data, making it ideal for an expansive variety of use cases, including field inspections, constituent service and task management," wrote Capriles. "Customers and partners running Dynamics CRM Online Government can be more productive and have the freedom to get work done from any device, all with a single sign-on experience."

Microsoft isn't alone in trying to attract federal IT dollars.

IBM was recently named a leader in the U.S. government private cloud market by IDC, a feat accomplished, in part, by its FedRAMP-compliant SoftLayer federal cloud centers and SmartCloud for Government platform. The company's government cloud strategy "sets IBM SoftLayer up to play a leading role in serving the 'hybrid/mixed' cloud requirements of government entities, which, to date, have shied away from leveraging public cloud-only offerings," said IDC's report.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...