Last year saw tremendous changes in the global defense industry, as public safety and national security organizations looked for ways to better protect citizens, communities and nations while struggling with tighter budgets, fewer personnel and an increasingly borderless threat environment. At the same time, technology enabled many agencies to protect and serve with unprecedented reach and agility – connecting to citizens through social media, defending cyber networks with advanced security measures, deploying tech-enabled first responders to natural disasters, and so much more.
2013 promises to bring new challenges to our industry, but also tremendous opportunities. The global defense market—now totaling roughly $1.6 trillion—is evolving, as many countries’ postures begin transitioning from larger, expanding fighting forces to smaller, more efficient forces that span a mission landscape from combat operations and counterterrorism to delivering global humanitarian efforts. The number one weapon of the warfighter in this new paradigm is information, and that is why it is truly an exciting time in the Defense industry at Microsoft.
As defense agencies around the world work together to create safer societies, we see definite themes taking shape in the year ahead:
1. Mission workloads in the cloud delivering capabilities with a whole host of devices
Flexible and agile services and solutions will need to be delivered faster than ever in order to meet rapidly changing national security demands. More than ever before, partners must be positioned to respond quickly to requirements, bring the realities of the cloud with them in their solutions forged with deep industry expertise, in order to help protect nations and citizens. This opens a huge door for both private and public cloud opportunities and the devices that will consume these services.
2. Prolonged mission life while significantly reducing operating expense
Austerity measures necessitate that defense agencies extend the life cycles for legacy systems and use existing resources, augmented to deliver cost effective, successful mission outcomes – in short, refreshing hardware such as weapons platforms, trucks, ships, tanks and planes is the new normal for these organizations. State-of-the art logistics systems that can be easily trained on and delivered from desktop to flight line, will be necessary to prolong mission effectiveness through supply chain management of parts and maintenance, cost control and improved operational efficiencies. Helping customers leverage and extend the payback on their investments via augmenting their current legacy environments is a huge growth market.
3. Easily adaptive, mission-driven solutions
The best conversations we are having are not about products. They are specifically focused on capabilities, solutions and workloads. Agencies need solutions, not merely standard technology upgrades, based on specific needs in order to create efficiencies and improve overall operational effectiveness. Devices and apps that provide secure, reliable value will become a new leader on the front lines of national defense.
Underlying all of these trends is the need for robust cyber security – the body of the technologies, processes and practices required to protect networks, hardware, software and intellectual property from attack, damage or unauthorized access. Delivering innovative and robust cyber solutions will be more critical than ever in coming year for the safer communities we strive to create and defend.