The UK government has renewed its longstanding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft so that public sector organisations can continue to access discounted pricing on the tech giant's cloud infrastructure and software products. The Digital Transformation Arrangement 2021 (DTA21) MoU is set to run for three years from 1 May 2021 until April 2024 and will give all eligible public sector organisations access to preferential pricing and beneficial terms of service on a mix of Microsoft cloud products, as well as related consultancy and support. To this end, the DTA21 MoU will see public sector organisations offered discounts on the use of Microsoft 365, the company's flagship suite of online business productivity services, and its public cloud platform, Microsoft Azure.
For the first time, the company's enterprise resource planning platform Dynamics 365 and its process automation offering, Microsoft Power Platform, will also be covered by the MoU. Chris Perkins, general manager of public sector sales at Microsoft UK, said the DTA21 MoU has been drawn up to support any size of public sector organisation in its move to the cloud. "Microsoft is committed to working with the government to help support modern hybrid working and help drive the move to digital with Microsoft 365 and Azure," he said. "The addition of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform to the DTA21 line-up can now also help with agile, low-cost, low-code application development, which has been so critical in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We look forward to continuing to work with our public sector customers to improve citizen services and provide cost-effective solutions now and in the future." The MoU is the latest in a long line of similar deals that Microsoft has struck with the government's procurement arm, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which in recent years have become increasingly populated by cloud products and services. Philip Orumwense, commercial director and chief technology procurement officer at the CCS, said: "This agreement recognises the significance of cloud computing to the UK public sector as it continues its digital transformation and aims to build back better.
"It is another example of the CCS's commitment to achieving outstanding commercial value for our customers across the public sector." In a blog post announcing the deal, Microsoft said the MoU not only adds further support for the government's longstanding "cloud-first" policy, but also builds on the principles of the One Government Cloud Strategy, which aims to drive adoption of off-premise technologies by public sector organisations by making them more cost-effective to use. On this point, government chief commercial officer Gareth Rhys Williams added: "This new agreement with Microsoft builds on the Government's One Government Cloud Strategy, which supports the key principle of treating government as one single customer.
"It shows the government's determination to drive transformation as well as adopt value-for-money technologies that improve services and ensure government departments and their staff have the digital tools they need, now and in the future."
In a mailout to subscribers, Georgina O'Toole, chief analyst at TechMarketView, said the updated arrangement will provide enhanced support to public sector organisations that want to adopt hybrid and multicloud strategies, while achieving costs savings, particularly as the MoU will allow them to maintain any licensing discounts they already have in place for on-premise Microsoft server products.
"The arrangement recognises the increasing importance of cloud computing as the government seeks to accelerate its transformation post-Covid with a focus on sustainability and social value," she said.