Microsoft Australia scores whole-of-government 365 deal

The volume sourcing agreement with Redmond is expected to see less than 2% of the federal government keep on-premise desktop licenses.

The federal government has inked another deal with Microsoft Australia, this time focused on Microsoft 365.

The three-year, whole-of-government deal makes Microsoft 365 available to all 98 federal government agencies, with the company expecting less than 2% of the Commonwealth to remain on legacy on-premise desktop licenses.

See also: Commonwealth pushes public cloud by default

According to Microsoft, this agreement will help accelerate agencies' ability to develop and deploy new cloud-based digital services.

While the agreement is primarily focused on Microsoft 365, providing access to Office 365, Windows 10, and enhanced secure mobility through the cloud, Microsoft expects it to accelerate adoption of Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365.

"Benefits anticipated include greater cross-government collaboration and agility, lower costs and easier procurement," the local arm of the tech giant said in a statement announcing the deal.

The new volume sourcing agreement was negotiated through the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), which last month announced the signing of a similar deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that allows all federal, state, and territory agencies and departments, as well as public universities and government-controlled corporations, to access AWS Cloud services.

Read more: Australia-wide AWS deal could signal the end for legacy IT procurement

With IBM similarly banking on its long-held relationship with the federal government for the success of its AU$1 billion whole-of-government deal, Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall said he "deeply appreciates" the continued trust that this latest agreement signals.

"It is my strongly held opinion that for Australia to sustain its many years of economic success we need to work together to digitally transform the public and private sectors, injecting efficiencies, infusing intelligence, and ensuring inclusion," Worrall said.

The licensing agreement will be managed by Data#3 with partners including DQA, oobe, and Veritec. Data#3 in March last year was awarded a whole-of-government contract to be the sole provider of Microsoft licensing solutions, while DQA is already a partner of the DTA and Oobe is working with Cenitex to help secure cloud services across Victoria's state government agencies.

See also: Microsoft Azure: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Microsoft will also be working with the government to upskill public sector personnel on Microsoft-specific functions. More than 1,400 subsidised Azure training places will be made available to Australian government IT workers and there is funding to support up to 100 new trainees in the ACT over the next two years.

"Whilst these investments -- and many others like them -- are important, we believe that for Australia to truly prosper in the digital age we need to acknowledge that it is people first, technology second," Worrall continued. "This is why at the heart of this agreement is a commitment to help government and by relation Australian citizens across the country to develop the skills that will be so essential to our continued prosperity."

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