Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud Takes the Public Sector by Storm – 2016 Year in Review [Video Interview]

Post Date: 12/01/2016
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We can all agree that it’s been an exciting year for the Microsoft community. Between the release of SharePoint Server 2016, refinement of Office 365 Groups, preview of Microsoft Teams, and all the innovations in Azure, a lot has happened. To make sure you’re completely in the know and, more importantly, prepared for what’s coming in 2017, I’ll be sharing a series of 2016 Year in Review interviews with Microsoft team members! Check out the first interview below.

Modernizing the Public Sector with Intelligent Cloud

With various apps and tech playing a larger and larger role in how people create and collaborate, it’s become clear that increased productivity is not just a buzzword. It’s an actual, quantifiable benefit of digital transformation with an Intelligent Cloud. With Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud, employees are empowered with cognitive technology — meaning the tech learns and aligns to how they work, and provides relevant insights that help them better manage revenue and sales cycles.

intelligent cloud
Source: Microsoft

In the public sector, it’s a little bit different. The only clear value is cost-effectiveness in terms of infrastructure, as making a direct connection between the cloud and increased productivity is not as easy. Their definition of productivity doesn’t rely solely on revenue and sales cycles. The million dollar question for them is: how is this technology helping me better serve my citizens or constituents?

I had a chance to chat with Microsoft’s Senior Director for Industry Product Marketing, Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe, on this very subject. Watch our interview below for real life examples of how Microsoft is using an Intelligent Cloud today to connect public organizations with the people they serve — as well as what “blockchain as a service” might look like in 2017!

Takeaways from Kristen Edmondson Wolfe on Intelligent Cloud

Takeaway #1: Cloud is about cost savings to Government.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”dn8U5″ via=”no” ]”Gov’t opinion of Cloud is about cost savings. It’s not a buzz word for them.” @kedmondsonwolfe[/ctt]

Takeaway #2: You don’t need to build data-centers anymore.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”9M7Km” via=”no” ]“The #Microsoft #IntelligentCloud connects what you’re trying to solve to specific outcomes so you can make better decisions.” [/ctt]

Takeaway #3: Microsoft is determined to build more innovative solutions.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”V0SbE” via=”no” ]“In 2017, we’re looking at new & innovative ways to provide a more #IntelligentCloud.” @kedmondsonwolfe[/ctt]
SharePoint in 2017

More from Dux Quax:

Video Transcript: Dux Raymond Sy (@meetdux) and Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe (@kedmondsonwolfe)

Dux: All right. Hey everybody welcome back to another episode of Dux Quax as we do year in review of all the goodness Microsoft brought us in 2016 and look forward to what’s coming in 2017. Very excited today to be with Kirsten. So Kirsten, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell everybody what you do here at Microsoft.

Kirsten: Sure. My name is Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe. I’m a Senior Director of Industry Product Marketing for the Cloud Enterprise Business Group and what I really do here is working on our Intelligent Cloud services is try and work with partners such as AvePoint to figure out how best to bring them together for specific business processes that will solve business challenges. In this case, government issues.

Dux: So let’s talk about Intelligent Cloud. So give us examples on Intelligent Cloud and to your point around business solutions and in this case government issues. What’s a typical scenario and how do the Intelligent Cloud can support government and if there some common issues?

Kirsten: So one of the things that we’re really interested in is looking at our customers not from IT, but from business decision-makers. So what keeps up a government official at night? Well, there’s a hand full of things, right. Am I delivering the services that are required by my citizens? Am I delivering them quickly and cost-effectively and can I leverage technology to really change the relationship I have with the jurisdiction in my locality? Kind of that sort of look.

So taking the Microsoft Cloud and saying, what services do we have available that can come together to solve that problem. And the example that we did this year in 2016 with AvePoint is Citizen Services as a SaaS based solution. And inside it, it includes things like CRM Customer Service, CRM Field Service. IoT so that a city can take advantage of the cool new IoT technology. Cortana Intelligence Suite so that you can take the data that you have and actually mash it together and come out with business focused outcomes. And then Power BI so an executive inside the Department of Public Works, for instance, can say, hey in this neighborhood I have every single traffic light out that’s a problem. Is it a system wide issue? Is it not? How do I solve that problem quickly and easily?
Dux: Sure.

Kirsten: Or my favorite that you guys put together in your trial, I love to tell everyone about this one, which is light fixtures that self-report maintenance issues, so that they can proactively solve the problem and the streetlights never go out. And there’s data that says that crime goes down when the streetlights are on. That is real meaningful impact that technology can have on the daily workings of a city or state or even a federal agency.

Start automating case management today. Try AvePoint Citizen Services, available through Microsoft AppSource.

Dux: Absolutely. And this is really exciting. As you mentioned I was speaking with a city CIO a couple weeks ago and he was asking the same question. You know all this talk about machine learning, AI, Cloud what does that mean to me? How can I better serve my constituents? But with these things his light bulb just went off. He was like, “I could do this today. And I could do this today without gazillions and gazillions of dollars where traditionally it was the case.”

Kirsten: Yeah.

Dux: Not only certainly large metropolitan areas that may not have the budget and the investment but now it empowers every type of city, every type of agency to be able to better serve their citizens.

Kirsten: Right, one of the things that you just mentioned that’s important to remember is that in government opinion Cloud is about cost savings, and it’s not a buzz word for them. It’s not as exciting. It’s about cost. Is it a cap-ex expense or op-ex expense? And in today’s difficult budget environment for government which really hasn’t rebounded from where economic downturn… government still don’t have a lot of money is if I can use that as an op-ex expense rather, than cap-ex then I can have a more predictable cost…

[ctt template=”1″ link=”dn8U5″ via=”no” ]”Gov’t opinion of Cloud is about cost savings. It’s not a buzz word and not as exciting for them.” @kedmondsonwolfe[/ctt]

Dux: Absolutely.

Kirsten: Rather than let me plow millions of dollars into building a data center and buying all this stuff that’s not realistic anymore. So we’re positioning Cloud as this op-ex opportunity, but at the same time with all of the data services available it connects what you’re trying to solve to specific outcomes and you can make better decisions.

Dux: A hundred percent. So must be a busy 2016 for you and your team.

Kirsten It was a year of transition. We moved into a larger Cloud enterprise. We’ve taken what was historically a dynamic approach to industry and extended it left to right, taking advantage of Azure workloads as well as the certifications of the Azure team for government and really focused Azure and the Cloud Enterprise Group on business process. So we’re focusing on five industries, government, healthcare, manufacturing, banking, capital markets and retail consumer packaged goods and building these SaaS apps for each of those that will be delivered through App Source.

Dux: Wonderful and what’s in store for 2017?

Kirsten: More of the same.

Dux: More of the same, right.

Kirsten: We’re going to continue to roll-out…

Dux: Bigger and better.

Kirsten: Build out these solutions. We have new sellers that we’re trying to empower and engage and speed up this line of business for Microsoft. We’re looking at new and innovative ways to provide a more Intelligent Cloud. One example which will impact government is we’re working very closely with financial services organizations to talk about blockchain [technology]. So blockchain as a service which is really around fraud prevention and the sanctity of financial transactions.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”V0SbE” via=”no” ]“In 2017, we’re looking at new & innovative ways to provide a more #IntelligentCloud.” @kedmondsonwolfe[/ctt]

Dux: Correct.

Kirsten: So as government gets more interested in blockchain and how it can be leveraged, we will have a blockchain as a service offering that’s what we’re driving towards. We don’t have it–I’m not announcing anything! But we’re working towards that which is a really cool thing.

Dux: Wow, speaking of blockchain as a service, talk about lowering the barrier to entry, right? And it’s really, truly very exciting. Now, for those watching right now, especially customers, what advice would you give if they want to take advantage of an Intelligent Cloud. Like, what are some of the first steps that they can take to kind of learn and even try this if they want to.

Kirsten: So, I think there’s a couple things you can do. One is, if you go to the website and, you’ll see a lot of the ways we look at government, or, you’ll see a lot of the ways we help healthcare companies. You can also go to to understand the new offerings for business in the cloud. There are very specific government and healthcare offerings in there, as well.
The other place I would go is to, which is where all of our partners, by industry, are actually showcasing their solutions, and you can try them, actually sign up for a free trial and get to understand the solution and how it can be leveraged in your specific instance and in your organization. I would start there. And if you need more information, you can always reach out to me,

Dux: Awesome, Kirsten. This has been very, very insightful and beneficial, I’m sure not only to me but to everybody. But, before I let you go, if you were a Microsoft product, what would you be and why?

Kirsten: To be honest with you, I would actually be one of our finished industry solutions.

Dux: Okay.

Kirsten: Because we solve business problems and we take advantage of the power of the cloud.

Dux: There you go.

Kirsten: And that, to me… And the power of data. If you don’t have those things together, then it’s not nearly as interesting and you don’t impact outcomes.

Dux: So, you’d be a solution in AppSource, one of the solutions.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Wonderful. Well, thank you, Kirsten. And, again, hopefully everybody found this beneficial. Thanks for tuning. So next episode of Dux Quax, we’ll see you. Bye.

Kirsten: Bye.

With over 20 years of business and technology experience, Dux has driven organizational transformations worldwide with his ability to simplify complex ideas and deliver relevant solutions. He serves as the Chief Brand Officer of AvePoint who has authored the LinkedIn Learning course How to Build Your Personal Brand, the book SharePoint for Project Management, as well as numerous whitepapers and articles. As a public speaker, Dux has delivered engaging, interactive presentations to more than 25,000 people at leading industry events around the world. He also hosts the modern workplace podcast #shifthappens that focuses on how leading organizations navigated their business transformation journey. Dux advocates tirelessly for inclusion, using technology for good, and philanthropic initiatives. Connect with him:

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