Microsoft appoints new UK public service chief

Microsoft has appointed a government 'tsar' for the UK to help develop and promote the software giant's software in the public sector

Jerry Fishenden started this month as National Technology Officer (NTO) in the UK – a strategic, Microsoft-wide position that has now been implemented in 15 countries to focus on security, privacy, interoperability and standards, technical/high-performance computing and innovation in the government sector.

Fishenden told ZDNet UK sister site silicon.com the NTO's are important in shaping Microsoft's technical roadmap for the public sector.

"We go to Redmond fairly regularly and talk to product groups about public sector requirements."

He said particular issues he will be focusing on include identity management and collaboration across government to support the Gershon Efficiency Review.

Fishenden admitted the creation of the role partly recognises that Microsoft may not have paid as much attention to government users in the past as it should have.

But when asked if it was also a response to the increased threat from open source in the public sector Fishenden said the issue is not as "black and white" as Microsoft versus Linux.

"A lot of open source is being built on Microsoft platforms," he said.

Fishenden has been with Microsoft since 1997 where he worked closely with the old Office of the e-Envoy at the Cabinet Office and the big Government Gateway online platform project. Prior to that he was head of networking at the Houses of Parliament where his claim to fame is installing the first computerised accounting system for the House of Lords.

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