The Defense Department has awarded a first of its kind joint enterprise licensing agreement for Microsoft collaboration, mobility, productivity and security tools. Valued at $617 million, the three-year agreement will allow the Army, Air Force and the Defense Information Systems Agency to begin using the latest versions of the company’s products.
The agreement creates a single framework providing all three organizations with a single, standardized way to access new Microsoft technologies. The contract also supports top DOD IT goals for data center consolidation, collaboration, cybersecurity, mobility, cloud computing and big data, company officials said in a statement.
Microsoft officials noted that this is the most comprehensive licensing agreement signed with the DOD, covering nearly 75% of its personnel. The new contract was awarded to Insight Public Sector, a division of Insight Enterprises, Inc., a major global Microsoft large account reseller.
Under the agreement, DISA, the Army, and Air Force can begin using the latest versions of Microsoft products such as Microsoft Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Windows 8. The DOD version of Windows 8 includes enhanced security and content management tools.
Additionally, all of the software provided under the agreement has been customized to meet military security needs, DOD officials said.
The lower license and software assurance costs built into the agreement should also serve to save tens of millions of dollars over several years, DOD officials added.
Speaking to the American Forces Press Service, Air Force CIO and Chief of Information Dominance, Lt. Gen. Michael J. Basla said that his service will save about $50 million a year. Army officials expect savings in excess of $70 million a year, while DISA foresees savings of more than 10 percent for the life of the agreement, the AFPS reported.
DISA officials noted that the licensing agreement also helps push forward the DOD’s mobile computing goals. Under the agreement, Microsoft is committed to ensuring that the software has a mobile-first focus. The mobile capabilities offered through the new software will soon appear in DISA’s enterprise mobility ecosystem, the officials added.
Additional benefits include software assurance benefits offering Army organizations training and consulting services. Standardization and predictability are important factors in cutting and controlling costs, which will ultimately help improve the DOD’s ability to securely share information, DISA officials said.
The agreement also sets the stage for future joint enterprises between the DOD and vendors to develop new products that meet existing security standards while allowing organizations to have as much flexibility and capability as possible, DISA officials said.