Technology is the Catalyst for Change in the Public Sector

This morning at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, DC, we had the privilege of welcoming former President Bill Clinton, who spoke about the need for sustainable systems and how IT can be a key catalyst in building a virtuous cycle of sustained social and economic development. He pointed out how the IT revolution has led the dramatic improvements in productivity, access to information, and prosperity for those at the top of the pyramid, but noted that for more than 5 billion people, the opportunity to learn, connect, create, and succeed remains elusive. He noted that the job of the 21st Century is to build up this inequality and said the most important question we need to answer in the next 20-40 years is “How?”.

During the Worldwide Public Sector keynote this afternoon, we had the opportunity to expand on those some of the themes highlighting the opportunity for technology innovation. My team at Microsoft is working to spur discussions with educators, governments and a host of local and global partners about expanding access to relevant and affordable technology so that all communities can experience the benefits of social and economic opportunity. We want to help people answer the “how”; how to help governments become more efficient, engage citizens and create opportunities and jobs.

Governments around the world are looking for game-changing answers in providing quality healthcare, keeping their people safe and secure, and educating their young people. They are looking for the best ways to spur local economic growth, create jobs and lay the foundation for long-term economic competitiveness.

Technology can also play an essential role in helping to address some of the globes toughest challenges.
Partnerships between the public and private sector are critical to making this a reality.  By bringing together the combined expertise and resources of industry, governments and international organizations we can magnify the impact of our respective efforts.

For example the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is working with our partner Infusion Development  to develop the Haiti Integrated Government Platform (HIGP). This solution will support the efforts of the government of Haiti, get back up and running in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck the country earlier this year.

With funding and program support from the IDB, Infusion is building the HIGP based on Microsoft’s Citizen Services Platform (CSP), and combines cloud-based Microsoft Azure technology and localized desktop technologies such as SharePoint and CRM.  It also draws upon Bing Maps, Silverlight and Pivot to ultimately establish a communication and delivery infrastructure that will empower the government of Haiti to improve governance, transparency and donor coordination as well as project management nationwide.

Another example is the work of Microsoft partner Twisted Pair, who worked with the World Food Programme on a ground-breaking telecommunications solution that will help the agency deliver and monitor aid to some of the most remote parts of the world.

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At the national, regional and even local levels, technology plays a key role in addressing the challenges of the public sector. It is up to all of us – governments, school leaders, teachers, the private sector, and parents — working together as partners, to ensure each seed, each citizen, is nurtured in a way that sparks their imagination, encourages their understanding and helps them fully realize their potential.

For more information on what we’re doing in the public sector, visit www.microsoft.com/publicsector and check out Frank McCosker’s related blog post on Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential blog.

Posted by Linda Zecher
Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector