Iceland is no stranger to proving that small countries have big ambitions – a point solidified by the country’s recent decision to sign a contract which will make Microsoft the sole IT supplier for its entire public sector.
Based on one common cloud platform – Microsoft 365 – the decision marks the very first time that a country has teamed up with a single IT partner when entering such an extensive agreement.
The introduction of Microsoft 365 will provide numerous benefits, such as consolidating all services into a single license. In addition, Microsoft’s cloud services will also offer the advantages of increased communication and collaboration between institutions, with the benefit of its security offerings being built directly into the state’s IT solution.
Overall, the agreement will enable a large number of strengthened public services for the entire country, while providing major savings to the Icelandic government.
“The contract with Microsoft marks a paradigm shift in the way we understand the public sector and public services. As more countries digitize their public services, they experience an increase in demand from other institutions and employees as well as from citizens. This increases the need to streamline and strengthen services, products and processes, not to mention the level of security. Iceland is not afraid of being a front-runner, and that is quite admirable,” says Peter Quarfordts Skov, Director, Public Sector at Microsoft Denmark & Iceland.
Signed on June 1st 2018, the agreement means that in practice, all employees in the central administration, health sector and educational institutions will use one common IT system going forward. This involves more than 20,000 users over the course of two years.
An increase in growth requires a more efficient public sector
The government’s key objective is to transform the IT infrastructure, creating clear benefits for its employees and Icelandic citizens. The main purpose is to secure and modernise its workplaces in order to increase productivity and efficiency, while consolidating IT solutions used for data and access management.
Iceland’s Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson states that “The contract with Microsoft has been underway since December 2015, where the Icelandic government reviewed their existing digital infrastructure. At the time, they had more than 100 different suppliers, who were managed by more than 100 IT managers in each public institution. With the new contract, the entire public sector will run on Microsoft 365, and one of the key objectives in the contract is to streamline operations while simplifying government IT operations.”