There has been a significant shift in the international public safety and defense IT market in the last two years. As missions grow and resources shrink, governments have been tasked to shoulder more responsibilities to meet the growing demands of global citizens. The old idea of simply “doing more with less” has been replaced with the need to do new with less. At the same time, the idea of siloed vendors each performing independent tasks has been replaced with a need for collaboration and interoperability among industry partners and often competitors in order to support the agency missions that keep citizens safe.
Microsoft’s market focus has been drawn to supporting needs in the dynamic and rapidly growing areas of mobility, cloud, and cybersecurity. In our conversations with public safety and national security customers over the past 24 months, a new type of dialogue has also emerged – instead of us simply talking about our latest products and features, our customers are asking us, “How can you help me run my organization better?” and “How can you empower my agency with solutions that make a real difference – not just from your company, but across the industry?”
This change presents an exciting opportunity to us as an industry. Instead of drawing lines in the sand between our products and our competitors’ products, we are finding new ways to work together for the benefit of our customers’ missions. We must be creative and bold as we work together to develop these mission solutions. Challenging ourselves to work together in this new environment is not only our responsibility, but also our privilege. As a result, Microsoft has brought some of our toughest industry competitors into our technology labs to build interoperable solutions, and they’ve invited us into theirs. It’s a different world where the center of government-industry partnership is truly the government. Commercial off the shelf (COTS) software provides the best opportunity for more capability and less cost, but the adjusting to get the right solutions has shifted from governments to industry. Microsoft has many technology adoption programs and advisory council venues to listen to government customers to find out what they need out of our products, and we make changes to our products faster as a result, integrate with our partners and competitors, and deliver better solutions.
Declining budgets are driving industry cooperation. In the past, defense budgets matched or even exceeded requirements and customers enjoyed the luxury of acquiring appealing new features that could find their way into operations. But best-of-breed didn’t always include interoperability. Today, the requirements are the same and continuing to grow, but the budget lines have dropped significantly. With less available money and the same or greater requirements, a new gap exists that must be filled. Microsoft is helping customers fill that gap with new capability and greater interoperability through private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions and on-premises software and mobile devices. It’s all about value – New capability, greater performance, and less cost. We recognize that in order to achieve mission success, the technology industry will need to provide integrated solutions that deliver the best function as well as the best value.
Communication, collaboration and interoperability are the keys to achieving this new and important goal. As we work together across the divides that once separated us, we see the chance to push ourselves and our industry partners outside of the traditional and the expected. We are finding new ways to deliver the best government services we’ve ever seen – the most effective, the most efficient and the most productive – in order to serve the public like never before. And, as an important benefit, this new approach allows agencies to get more out of every dollar they invest for the benefit of their taxpayers and constituents, who are at the heart of every program.
As we look forward to this new era of public sector service, we are proud to answer this call and remain devoted to the mission of protecting global communities on land, at sea, in the air and in cyberspace.