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Cloud Computing

San Jose Taps Microsoft To Boost Customer Service

San Jose Taps Microsoft To Boost Customer Service
July 17, 2013 2:57PM

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When we think of customer service and CRM (customer relationship management), we usually think about the need for retailers and B2B companies to provide excellent service to increase sales. At the same time, government agencies also need to be concerned about customer service, keeping costs down, and serving the public in the best possible way.

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Local governments are increasingly turning to the cloud -- and Microsoft is actively vying for the business. In the latest win for Microsoft, the City of San Jose, California is betting big on Redmond's software as it commits to delivering better customer service.

The city chose Microsoft Office 365, Windows Azure and StorSimple -- reportedly over Google Apps -- to boost the productivity of its more than 5,000 employees. San Jose, which is often referred to as the capital of Silicon Valley, expects the software bundle to help it reduce operational costs for serving more than 984,000 residents.

"Ensuring the productivity of employees is critical when state and local governments are constantly being asked to do more with less," said Michael Donlan, vice president of state and local government at Microsoft. Donlan touted the collaboration, productivity, security and privacy benefits of the Microsoft solutions that San Jose chose.

Secured Cloud Productivity

Vijay Sammeta, San Jose's chief information officer, is convinced the combination of Microsoft Office 365, Windows Azure and StorSimple supports both the city's long-term technology strategy and the immediate needs of its employees and residents.

"We turned to Office 365 for secured cloud productivity, which in turn will help us lower our total cost of ownership and support a more mobile and connected workforce of the future," Sammeta said. "The combination of Windows Azure and StorSimple will enable us to streamline storage infrastructure support, which enables our people to make the shift from [focusing on] basic backend operations to [instead focusing on] citizen engagement and service delivery."

With the Microsoft products and services, Sammeta said San Jose employees will have "constant and consistent" access to documents, email and information through the cloud. And that, he said, will let employees do their jobs in a secured environment regardless of their locations while simultaneously offering the ability to collaborate in real-time with other employees.

End-to-End Cloud Solution

"Instead of purchasing different products for various business needs that may or may not integrate with one another, Office 365 provides us with a complete solution that works both for today's needs and offers flexibility for addressing tomorrow's," Sammeta said. "By making this investment in technology, our staff will have up-to-date, enterprise-class cloud productivity tools, allowing us to catch up several product generations at once."

Sammeta said it comes down to the question of how to focus and leverage the talent of the city: Does it work on activities that don't help provide value directly to residents, or can it concentrate on where it can achieve real impact? As he sees it, the cloud gives the city an opportunity to transform its IT business model so it doesn't have to deal with servers and storage.

"If you're going to have a cloud strategy, you need to take a holistic look at your workloads," Sammeta said. "We know we are only starting to scratch the surface of the benefits to come, which likely will be more than just cost savings for IT. I'm looking forward to opening the door to greater collaboration and removing technology obstacles to our ability to innovate."

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