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HP Wins Contract To Move Dept. of Veterans Affairs to Office 365

Hewlett-Packard Co. has won a five-year, $36 million contract to transition the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to Office 365 for Government, Microsoft's cloud productivity suite for public-sector agencies.

Office 365 is Microsoft's cloud-based suite of applications that includes hosted versions of SharePoint, Exchange and Lync, with Office Professional Plus offered as a customer-installed option. Unlike other versions of the product, Office 365 for Government, which launched this summer, stores data in what Microsoft calls a "segregated community cloud."

HP will initially roll out Office 365 for Government to 15,000 of the VA's employees, with plans to eventually expand the rollout to 600,000 employees throughout the agency.

"Under the agreement, HP will lead and manage the implementation of Office 365 to enhance reliability, security, privacy and compliance as well as create geographically diverse disaster recovery," according to Microsoft's announcement of the contract on Tuesday. "The VA will use Office 365 for Government, which features a separate community cloud, for email, shared calendars, instant messaging, and web- and videoconferencing."

In a blog post, Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of Microsoft Corporate Communications, noted that the VA's adoption of Office 365 "is merely the latest chapter in Microsoft's burgeoning cloud services story." He pointed to a string of major Office 365 contracts Microsoft has won in recent months, including those with the Environmental Protection Agency, Toyota Motor Corp., the county of Santa Clara in California, and several higher-education institutions such as Duke University and the University of Washington.

Shaw added that Microsoft is intent on folding social networking features into its enterprise offerings, including Office 365. The company announced earlier this month that the next Dynamics CRM Online update would integrate social networking features powered by Yammer, which Microsoft acquired in July. Microsoft is also integrating Yammer into the forthcoming SharePoint 2013, the company said at this week's SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas.

In this vein, Office 365 is also getting a social networking boost. Microsoft is including Yammer Enterprise in the Office 365 Enterprise suite, announced Jared Spataro, senior director in Microsoft's Office Division, in a blog post Monday.

"[W]e envision a future where social is everywhere -- and where people work together using new experiences that combine social with collaboration, email, and unified communications," Spataro wrote, adding that bundling Yammer into Office 365 is Microsoft's first step toward that vision. He also wrote that Microsoft is consolidating the number of versions of Yammer from four to two -- the no-cost Yammer Basic and the paid Yammer Enterprise -- and that it is cutting the price for the Enterprise version from $15 per user per month to $3 per user per month.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the Senior Site Producer for RCPmag.com.

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