Go the distance for federal customers

Last Byte | A conversation with Curt Kolcun, vice president of Microsoft Federal.

About a decade ago, Microsoft Corp.'s work with the federal government focused
on desktop PCs. The company emphasized all things Windows and Microsoft
Office, with some Windows Server mixed in for file and print functions. Now the
company has a renewed federal focus that relies on relationships with systems
integrators. Whether forming partnerships with integrators or sharing knowledge
with other technology companies, officials at Microsoft Federal say they
believe working together can benefit the entire information technology community.
Curt Kolcun, vice president of Microsoft Federal, recently spoke with staff
writer Doug Beizer about Microsoft's position in the Washington IT scene.


Q: How has Microsoft's approach to the government
market evolved in the past few
years?


Kolcun: Probably the biggest transformation
for us is our focus and investment on the
delivery of capabilities through our products
rather than just being a product supplier.
That has manifested itself in the growth of
our services business and providing architecture
and, in some cases, doing sole-source
agreements where we deliver on a capability
to a customer. That's where we demonstrate
our belief that our technology can bring about
significant change. And in order to
demonstrate that, we've stepped up
and done that work ourselves.

Q: Do you have an example of how
you've done that?


Kolcun: Our work with the Air Force is one
example that led to a standard desktop configuration.
We partnered with the Air Force
and worked across government. It has manifested
itself in the Federal Desktop Core
Configuration.

Our efforts to put Microsoft resources on
the ground in a war zone is another demonstration
of a commercial company recognizing
that it has to do business differently to
support the mission and customers. In the
area of government health care, we've
demonstrated the value of what technology
can bring to bear relative to the clinical systems
and the welfare of veterans.

Q: What would have been Microsoft's traditional
role on something like the Air Force
project?


Kolcun: Seven or eight years ago, we would
have done a great job in partnering with the
customer and selling the value of the technology,
and then the customer would have taken
responsibility for the deployment and the
implementation.

Q: So what is Microsoft's role today?

Kolcun: We had a large team of Microsoft
consultants on the ground with the Air Force,
partnering with them as we worked through
all these configurations.

We also helped reduce their security vulnerability relative
to the disparate systems they had and
implemented the Microsoft environment in
an enterprise fashion across their 500,000
systems.

Q: What kind of relationship
does Microsoft have with systems
integrators?


Kolcun: Besides selling through
resellers, over the past four years,
we have brought in five key systems
integrators: Lockheed
Martin Corp., Northrop
Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co.,
General Dynamics Corp. and
BAE Systems Inc.

We are making sure they are
satisfied with using Microsoft
technology internally. But also, we're looking
at that business from the perspective of how
we partner and go to market. And through
their input and the input of the broader government
audience, we have started an organization
called the Institute of Advanced
Technology in Government, which reports to
our chief research officer.

The purpose is to look at how we use the
more than $7 billion we spend annually in
research and development to address the
challenges government faces.

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