How two agencies turned Azure into agility

13 May 2013 | Maor David-Pur, Government SSP, Microsoft Israel

When applications make employees more productive and efficient, it’s a sure sign that the IT department is living up to expectations. In short, organizations expect IT to deliver business value. And that means getting the most out of their resources—a long-standing challenge when you consider that 85 percent of physical servers often sit idle, and 70 percent of IT budgets are spent maintaining infrastructure. As a result, it’s easy to see how large sums are spent on unproductive technology.

Increasingly, government agencies are finding that they can gain efficiency, improve processes, and deliver return on investment (ROI) by turning to the cloud for IT solutions that were once beyond their reach. That was the outcome recently when two Israeli agencies turned to Windows Azure to find answers for their respective IT predicaments.

For one agency, the challenge was keeping track of the hours worked by mobile or remote employees. At the root of the issue, communication from the workers’ mobile phones to the agency’s internal server was not reliable; the CIO needed a cost-effective solution, and challenged the IT department to make it happen. With a tight budget and equally tight timeline, the IT department decided to take advantage of Azure's cloud services, data sync, and storage.

Without the burden of designing infrastructure to comply with hardware system requirements, the IT team was quickly able to build a prototype. In just three days, the prototype—which included an efficient, highly functional website—was ready for review. With the easy-to-deploy Azure platform, the IT team rapidly delivered an effective solution that measured up to the agency’s business objectives.

For the second agency, the challenge was creating a pilot project, or proof of concept (POC), to test SharePoint 2013, but at a budget-friendly price. The initial idea for the POC was a complex, high-ticket solution, requiring new servers, more storage capacity, and a redesigned infrastructure. Azure proved to be a cost-effective alternative. By turning to Azure’s virtual machines and cloud services, the IT department simply added a few terabytes of storage space to create and run the POC trial quickly and economically. As a result, the SharePoint POC represents an efficient, permanent development environment, and Azure has become the first choice for development in the agency.

Return on investment (ROI) is a crucial factor in any project, and moving to the cloud with a platform like Azure provides agencies with a feasible and fast ROI, while saving on the direct costs of physical servers and the indirect costs of storage and time spent building infrastructure.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

 
Maor David-Pur
Government SSP, Microsoft Israel

About the Author

Maor David-Pur | Government SSP, Microsoft Israel

With more than 15 years of experience, Maor is focused on developing strategies that enable government customers to effectively leverage the latest technologies & helps them to develop solutions to address their unique challenges Read more