The US federal government is a big deal when it comes to IT spending, with massive multi-billion dollar deals out for bid, seemingly on a regular basis. But Canada's tech industry, centered in cities like Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Waterloo, and Vancouver, also includes a thriving public sector.

MSCloudNews reached out to Microsoft channel professionals working with Canadian public sector organizations to learn about Azure, Dynamics, and Power Platform use cases, opportunities, and challenges. As they explain, Microsoft partners and ISVs are engaged with agencies on a broad range of work from migration to the cloud to leveraging AI and IoT for smart cities and supporting students.

Microsoft MVP Deepak Kaushik, based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan has worked with schools and government agencies on projects ranging from cloud migration to smart cities. Like many countries, Canada has shifted toward requiring that government data be retained within its borders. As recently as 2019, Canada was underserved by Microsoft datacenters, creating latency issues. Now, however, there are two Azure datacenters which are generally well resourced with services.

When I work with the Ministry of Education, or Crown Court organization, the biggest challenge we have is the requirement to retain data within Canadian geography, keeping redundancy and disaster recovery in Canada. Basically, the requirement is to keep data safe. We know that security is one of the five pillars of Azure architecture. [This often involves a lot of Network Security Group setup and thinking about the Azure backbone].

Especially among regional government agencies, awareness of cost is high and they often seek detailed statements of work from their partners, he explained.

We always suggest that if [a customer has] relatively good infrastructure why not use it to archive data. For development or testing, we could leverage that. We have some clients using [local] DevTest and then Azure for production. Some want to leverage on-prem, and others want hybrid infrastructure. Depends on the client.

Like public sector organizations the world over, public budgets are usually tight. That has been the case with school systems in Saskatchewan where Kaushik does much of his work.

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