Why LA County is moving 100,000 employees to the Microsoft cloud

Wed, 2014-07-02 06:00 -- Jesse Berst

In the Smart Cities Readiness Guide, we encourage cities to consider cloud computing and the advantages it offers to governments large and small. One of those advantages, of course, is cost savings. As you'll read in this story, there are multiple ways that moving to cloud services can result in cost savings.


Los Angeles County's 100,000 employees will transition to Microsoft Office 365 cloud services, including approximately 20,000 law enforcement personnel. Microsoft is a Council Lead Partner.

“The county is constantly looking at opportunities to manage cost and improve service,” said Richard Sanchez, chief information officer for Los Angeles County. “Office 365 enables us to best manage our licenses, provide greater services to all 30-plus departments and control cost."

Each department is unique in its needs and requirements, Sanchez added, but he said departmental CIOs saw that with Office 365, they would be able to better serve the needs of department employees and constituents. The county views Office 365 as a means to increase collaboration, provide a unified platform and help realize cost savings.

Those cost savings come in multiple forms. Among them:

    • Consolidating 15 department enterprise agreements into one countywide agreement that ensures each department has access to the same Microsoft cloud services. This consistency improves performance in an environment that previously had multiple agency systems, hampering collaboration and increasing cost.
    • The agreement ensures the county pays for only those services in use by existing employees. This represents a savings since staffing levels across various departments fluctuate from year to year or through seasonal workers.
    • Moving to a cloud-based service means the county was able to avoid the type of large upfront capital expense traditionally required to modernize and consolidate systems.

Meets security and mobility requirements
Like governments everywhere, security and privacy requirements were top-of-mind for LA County officials as they looked at moving to the cloud.  “Office 365 provides the level of security and built-in compliance for HIPAA and CJIS that we require,” said Dr. Robert Pittman, chief information security officer for Los Angeles County.

Mobility was also a factor, according to CIO Sanchez.

“The county sees a strong movement toward mobility by its staff and in its services offerings to the public through Web services and smart apps,” he said. Using mobile devices offer many advantages, he said. For instance:

    • Sheriff deputies can access information from their patrol cars
    • Case workers can access files during a foster home visit
    • Food inspectors can file reports directly from a remote location

"This move will help make county employees’ jobs easier by enabling them to exchange information and focus on delivery of services to citizens," Sanchez added.

Microsoft’s work with Los Angeles County is part of the company’s CityNext program to help governments, citizens and/or businesses transform their cities.

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Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to learn about the benefits you receive when you join the Council for free. Follow @Jesse_Berst and connect on LinkedIn.