Microsoft aims for integrated management of mobile technology

Microsoft is trying to merge the flexibility that mobile technology gives agencies with the need for management and security, company executives said at the Public Sector CIO Summit in Redmond, Washington.

“We are providing consistency of experience across a range of devices that can be used in government settings,” Gail Thomas, vice president of U.S. State and Local Government for the company, told reporters Feb. 29 at the summit.

New devices are coming on the market, and there is the growing consumerization of IT. Thomas asked how agencies can integrate these trends without compromising the productivity experience.


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Public-sector managers are looking for consistency of experience, she said, citing the example of an executive from King County near Seattle who came to Microsoft for a briefing. He carried his strategic plan on his Windows phone in a PowerPoint document. He could upload it to the cloud computing platform if needed. He used the Windows phone because he wanted a connected experience with the consistency of data and information following him everywhere he went, Thomas said.

At the federal level, agency managers want uniformity of experience regardless of device and location, said Greg Myers, vice president of Microsoft Federal.

A year to 18 months ago, a lot of the discussion about mobile computing focused on the end node and device. The challenge now is dealing with the dichotomy between flexibility and the need to manage disparate devices, he said. Federal CIOs face the not-so-glamorous proposition that they are only as strong as their weakest link. They are one breach away from being on the front page of the Washington Post, Myers said.

So now the discussion is about how to manage diverse form factors and operating systems and marry the desire for flexibility with their security mandates. Microsoft has been working with federal CIO Steve VanRoekel’s task force on these issues and with other associations on infrastructure management, he said.

Many organizations have a separate management platform for mobile computing, another one for the network and still another for personal computers. This madness has to end, said Curt Kolcun, vice president of Microsoft Public Sector. Organizations need an integrated approach that brings the management of all these computing platforms together. Microsoft is focused on doing this in System Center 2012, Kolcun added.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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