USDA moves to the Cloud with Microsoft

From MS....

The past few months have marked a transformative time in government IT, with the State of California, the State of Minnesota and New York City embracing cloud computing.  And now that momentum is carrying into the federal sector, as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it will become the first cabinet-level agency to move its e-mail and productivity applications to the cloud.  USDA will transition 120,000 federal workers from on-premise messaging and collaboration to Microsoft’s BPOS-Federal cloud computing solution over the next four weeks.  The migration to the cloud is part of USDA CIO Chris Smith’s vision to consolidate disparate messaging environments onto a single, unified platform, which will reduce costs, boost workforce productivity and improve communications and collaboration across the agency.
USDA is an incredibly complex enterprise, with a distributed workforce, 27 sub agencies, and a broad mission that touches everything from homeland security to food safety.  Organizations like USDA require enterprise-grade collaborative capabilities like global address lists, full calendar synchronization, presence and video conferencing.  Through the power of the cloud, USDA personnel will have better access to information and improved data sharing capabilities, all while reducing computing costs and building on existing investments.