Citizens and government employees want to access more applications and data than ever before, and they want to do so while using a variety of devices. The growth of cloud computing—including big data, analytics, and the availability of new apps and devices—increases pressure for cities to be more efficient and deliver new services and initiatives.

By taking advantage of Microsoft cloud services, cities can reduce the cost and complexity of running data centers, gain better insight into multiple types of data, and create new city applications or transform existing ones. Equally important, governments can support employees and citizens in virtually any location.

Taking a step into the cloud can help city leaders, employees, and citizens gain better agility, economic health, and improved usability. Because of its power to fundamentally change how cities operate and compete, the cloud is a game changer for the modern city.

Use the Windows Azure platform to gain the benefits of scale, speed, and agility while protecting existing investments. With infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings from Microsoft, cities can:

  • Rapidly build and deploy new services and applications.
  • Gain more flexibility while controlling costs.
  • Support real-time analytics across all types of data.

Integrate private cloud infrastructure with Windows Azure to easily and affordably scale out your existing capabilities. Microsoft and its partners are delivering and modernizing city applications within government administration, public safety and justice, health and social services, education, energy, and water, as well as building, infrastructure, planning, tourism and culture, and transportation.

Governments produce huge volumes of data, which grows exponentially each year. Social networking tools—together with an ever-growing number of mobile devices, web logs, and low-cost sensors that measure traffic and environmental conditions—generate untapped reservoirs of data that could help cities compete more effectively. However, the unprecedented volume, velocity, and variety of data make it difficult to analyze and mine the information for potential value.

Solve the challenge with business intelligence (BI) and data management tools from Microsoft. Rapidly develop powerful, data-driven solutions while taking advantage of existing skills and familiar technologies. Benefit from enhanced BI and scalable warehousing with Microsoft SQL Server, SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse, and the Windows Azure platform. Microsoft cloud offerings also include Hadoop processing with Windows Azure HDInsight Service.

Cities can design an on-premises or off-premise cloud-based solution, or connect existing infrastructure to Windows Azure for a hybrid-cloud environment. With a Microsoft data platform, cities can:

  • Speed analytics and optimize decision-making.
  • Gain better insight into citywide conditions and model new possibilities.
  • Simplify analysis and reporting with easy-to-use tools.

Microsoft BI solutions are designed to help people go from idea to insight quickly. Now, business users can be more productive with real-time access to data and interactive, self-service BI tools that work with familiar programs such as Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. With Microsoft technologies, cities gain a robust set of tools that can handle virtually any data-driven problem.

Collaboration solutions from Microsoft and its partners are designed to meet the workflow needs of busy city leaders, employees, and citizens. Despite all the transitions that city governments undergo, some constants remain: they want to engage as many people as possible and to deliver valuable services. The most successful cities in this respect have IT organizations that provide the tools, technologies, and platforms that people need to communicate and collaborate. Now, a new generation of unified communications products is helping cities work more efficiently and improve services.

With Microsoft Lync, Microsoft Office 365, and Microsoft Office 2013, people can communicate and collaborate better in real time using a range of devices including PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Microsoft unified communications is based on three products: Lync Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server, and Microsoft Exchange Server, all of which can be deployed on-premise or through Microsoft Office 365 as a Microsoft hosted option.

With Microsoft cloud services, cities can reduce data center complexity and take advantage of virtually limitless storage and processing capacity while meeting security and compliance requirements. Become more agile and productive, and deliver services to citizens and employees faster by integrating existing, on-premises infrastructure with a cloud platform.

Maximize flexibility by centrally managing all of your technology resources. As a result, you can more effectively balance the requirements of different areas of the city and allocate resources where they are needed most. With the Microsoft cloud platform, cities can:

  • Handle growth and fluctuating workloads more efficiently and affordably.
  • Improve access to information and applications wherever users are located.
  • Control access without creating barriers by using Microsoft identity management tools.
  • Monitor performance and respond to problems easier without constantly watching a console.

Now, cities can anticipate future needs and prepare for multiple possibilities with a more scalable, flexible infrastructure. With the Microsoft cloud platform, you can automate how applications are provisioned and deployed, and even create self-service options that both control and improve access to needed resources.

Cities today face increased pressure from citizens, businesses, city leaders and workers to provide services and information quickly and affordably, which is driving them toward cloud computing and cloud services. They want to change, and realize they must act now to establish clear policies that can be implemented as automated and streamlined processes. In addition, cities and smaller communities will act as engines for 21st-century economies. However, to compete effectively at an international level, they will need to become more intelligent, innovative, and integrated.

The most successful cities are powered by passionate individuals who have the right tools to manage their full potential, make government leaner and more responsive, and ensure the outcomes that citizens demand. With Microsoft Dynamics, cities can help their workforce adapt to the changing pace and increased expectations with agility, moving faster in an environment of constant, accelerating change. Microsoft Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions can help cities:

  • Reduce costs—Organize and automate business processes that nurture citizen satisfaction and increase government-worker impact.
  • Gain new capabilities—Enhance constituent services and 311, tax and revenue collection, citizen engagement, citizen care, and social media integration with easy-to-use tools.
  • Build a competitive edge—Benefit from better business insight and actionable intelligence.
  • Develop better relationships with citizens—Integrate communication channels and improve collaboration and communication between government and constituents.

Microsoft Dynamics solutions give civic leaders, employees, and citizens access to actionable information with greater speed and agility. As a result, city governments can respond more efficiently, effectively, and proactively to changing conditions. They can develop better relationships with their citizens, build awareness of government services and plans, and drive to the specific outcomes that constituents demand.

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Increasingly, data is no longer stored only on individual devices or in customer data centers. Today, cities are looking to save money and become more agile and efficient by storing data in the cloud. While centralizing data offers multiple benefits, people also worry about security. With security, identity and access management solutions from Microsoft, you can ensure more secure and compliant access to applications and data regardless of the user's device or location.

Microsoft offers comprehensive private and public cloud solutions that can help cities protect and extend their IT infrastructure, applications, and services. Gain confidence in the security of your data—and in the knowledge that Microsoft commercial cloud services comply with US and international security best practices. Provide authorized users better access to systems and services, improve collaboration, and simplify management of the entire identity lifecycle.

Microsoft offers well-established, trustworthy computing principles that embody security, privacy, and reliability. Over the last decade, we've applied these principles to our world-class software and services that hundreds of millions of consumers have come to rely on.

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