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Real World Situations: Desktop Optimization Best Practices Guide State and Local Government

Infrastructure Optimization and Windows Vista® Customer Solution Case Studies
State of Indiana accelerated complex application deployments and upgrades while reducing costs. Read more>

Microsoft® Desktop Optimization Solution Datasheet

Washington State Department of Licensing decreased their application deployment time to help ensure a more reliable and manageable system. Read more> See how Microsoft’s Desktop Optimization solution helps government agencies deliver better services more cost-effectively. Read more>

IT Security and Manageability Customer Case Study
Fulton County created a more stable network by decreasing network disruptions caused by noncompliant computers. Read more>

Infrastructure Optimization Customer Solution Case Study

State of Indiana Streamlines Desktop Management, Saves $14 Million Annually

Country or Region: United States Industry: Government Customer Profile Indiana, with its capital in Indianapolis, has 6.2 million people living on more than 36,000 square miles. Business Situation The state wanted to reduce the expense of managing computers on an agency-byagency basis, increase the effectiveness of state government, and free funds for investment in taxpayer services. Solution The state worked to optimize its core infrastructure, centralize its desktop management, and automate software updates and other administrative functions. Benefits Fast application deployment that boosts IT productivity and reduces user downtime Scalability from 900 desktop computers to 25,000 Savings of U.S.$14 million Smooth upgrade path to Windows Vista®

“We’ve increased the number of desktops we manage by a factor of 25 while increasing staff by only 10 or 15 percent.… That’s an extraordinary increase in IT productivity.”
Gerry Weaver, Chief Information Officer, Indiana Office of Technology

State agencies in Indiana were managing their own desktop computers independently—and depriving the state and taxpayers of optimal return on IT spending. So the state centralized desktop computer management with the help of Microsoft® Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance and its SoftGrid Application Virtualization technology, along with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. The result boosts productivity 2500 percent by enabling the central IT office to go from managing 900 desktop computers to managing 25,000 computers without a significant staff increase. The solution also helps save U.S.$14 million and paves the way for a smooth upgrade to the Windows Vista® operating system.

“We chose the Microsoft desktop optimization solution because it allowed us, in our heterogeneous environment, to provide good service to all users.”
Paul Baltzell, Distributed Services Manager, Indiana Office of Technology

The state of Indiana wasn’t satisfied with the state of its desktop technology management. State agencies were spending large amounts of time and money to manage thousands of desktop computers—taking away from the time and money that they wanted to spend on innovative solutions to improve the services available to citizens. At fault was a highly decentralized desktop infrastructure. Most agencies managed their own desktop computers with their own IT staffs. “Everybody was managing their desktops differently,” says Brian Arrowood, Director of Service Operations, Indiana Office of Technology. “They were running different versions of operating systems. There was no consistency or centralization.” Complicating matters was the enormous range of services that the state provided— from public safety and social welfare to employment services and motor vehicle registration—and the hundreds of line-ofbusiness applications for those services that it had to support across approximately 25,000 desktop computers. Desktop images varied not just among agencies, but also from desktop to desktop. Given the challenges of managing a diverse collection of desktop computers, the state could not afford a decentralized approach that multiplied those challenges. Meanwhile, Governor Mitch Daniels and his administration wanted to tackle issues including childcare, education, public health, and state finances. “The governor asked us to take a look at IT across the state and dramatically improve service levels, and also reduce cost,” says Gerry Weaver, Chief Information Officer, Indiana Office of Technology.

The IT team couldn’t begin to do so effectively without a technology infrastructure that facilitated innovative solutions, rather than one that threw up obstacles to those solutions.

To provide hundreds of line-of-business desktop applications to relatively limited numbers of users, and to create a more optimized desktop experience for them, the state of Indiana adopted Microsoft® Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance, a set of technologies that help reduce application deployment costs, enable delivery of applications as services, and allow for better management and control of enterprise desktop environments. “We chose the Microsoft desktop optimization solution because it allowed us, in our heterogeneous environment, to provide good service to all users across the board,” says Paul Baltzell, Distributed Services Manager, Indiana Office of Technology. In particular, the state took advantage of Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization, which it uses to deploy virtual versions of applications. The state can virtualize an application, create a protected “sandbox” space on a target computer running SoftGrid, and then download the virtual software without having to grant users administrative rights and without changing the underlying configuration settings of the computer. The state controls authorization to the virtual software through its updated Active Directory® service. With SoftGrid, the state does not have to put applications through costly compatibility testing, maintain them on desktop computers, or troubleshoot configuration issues or other problems arising from unique collections of applications on user desktops. “SoftGrid and application virtualization give us the capability to essentially manage all the

“SoftGrid and application virtualization give us the capability to essentially manage all the desktops as if they’re exactly the same.”
Brian Arrowood, Director of Service Operations, Indiana Office of Technology

desktops as if they’re exactly the same,” says Arrowood. The virtualization technology eliminates incompatibilities between older applications and the 2007 Microsoft Office system software that the state uses. Further, SoftGrid is helping reduce the number—and expense—of software licenses; the state deploys software only when and to whom it is needed, rather than maintaining hundreds of unused applications on user desktops. The state government is in the midst of its adoption of SoftGrid. The state refreshes desktop computers on a four-year cycle, replacing 6,000 computers each year. The new computers receive the SoftGrid software as part of the imaging process, eliminating the need for any action on the part of technicians to install SoftGrid on the desktops. The state also adopted Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, which has enabled the state to not only manage its desktops more easily and with better security, but also scale to support its 25,000 users. “System Center Configuration Manager gives us the capability to manage updates and the security of the desktops and servers in a way that we would never be able to do with other products,” Arrowood says.

Boosts IT Productivity
With the new desktop optimization solution, many of the tasks that formerly consumed the time of IT professionals are automated or unnecessary. The technologies help the IT team deploy desktop applications more quickly, while reducing downtime for the users waiting for those applications. The ability to virtualize all key components of a Windows®-based application allows administrators to accelerate each step of the application management process by compressing the time necessary for packaging and preparing applications, deployment, update management, support, and termination. A single, consistent desktop image across the state has made it possible for the Indiana Office of Technology, the central IT organization, to go from managing just 900 desktops to managing all 25,000 desktops without significantly increasing staff—an increase of more than 2,500 percent. “One of the best things we see now is that we have a common desktop that can be managed not only remotely but also securely,” says Weaver. “We’ve increased the number of desktops we manage by a factor of 25 while increasing staff by only 10 or 15 percent. We were able to consolidate what was done by about 400 people into something that’s now done by about 200 people much more effectively. That’s an extraordinary increase in IT productivity, and Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack was essential to that.”

The moves to Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack and its SoftGrid Application Virtualization component, along with System Center Configuration Manager, have been a key part of Indiana’s desktop optimization and a key contributor to several benefits of that optimization: boosting the productivity of IT professionals, paving the way for a smooth upgrade to the Windows Vista® operating system, reducing the cost of managing computers by U.S.$14 million.

Enables Smooth Upgrade to New Operating System
By creating a streamlined, consistent desktop environment, the state is well positioned for a smooth upgrade to the Windows Vista operating system. Application virtualization eliminates the dependency between the operating system

For More Information
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and applications, thereby eliminating application incompatibilities experienced while moving to a new operating system like Windows Vista. The IT team can minimize application compatibility testing, reduce resource demands, and accelerate the operating system upgrade and application deployments. The use of System Center software combined with a common image format with Windows Vista Enterprise will help streamline deployments.

Infrastructure Optimization
With infrastructure optimization, you can build a secure, well-managed, and dynamic core IT infrastructure that can reduce overall IT costs, make better use of resources, and become a strategic asset for the business. The Infrastructure Optimization Model—with basic, standardized, rationalized, and dynamic levels—was developed by Microsoft using industry best practices and Microsoft’s own experiences with enterprise customers. The Infrastructure Optimization Model provides a maturity framework that is flexible and easily used as a benchmark for technical capability and business value. For more information about infrastructure optimization, go to:

Cuts Costs $14 Million
That productivity increase, in turn, has helped significantly reduce the per-computer cost of desktop computer management. “The idea of application incompatibility is virtually nonexistent,” explains Dewand Wilson, Senior Systems Administrator, Indiana Office of Technology. That reduces the computer failures that come from such incompatibility, likewise reducing the time and expense of troubleshooting to get computers back up and running. The state estimates that it has saved $6 million in reduced support costs. All told, the desktop optimization effort has saved the state $14 million in taxpayer funds. That’s time and money that have been invested in new services from the unemployment benefits program and motor vehicles bureau.

Field Code Changed

Software and Services
Microsoft System Center − Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007

Technologies − Active Directory − Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance − Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published March 2008

Windows Vista Customer Solution Case Study

State Agency Upgrades Operating System for More Reliable Customer Service
“We want to do all that we can to make the public’s experience a positive one. Upgrading to Windows Vista helps us maximize our ability to provide excellent customer service to the citizens of Washington.”
Jim Henly, Chief Technology Officer, Washington Department of Licensing

Customer: Washington Department of Licensing Web Site: Customer Size: 2,200 employees and contractors Country or Region: United States Industry: Government—Regional/state Customer Profile The Washington Department of Licensing licenses drivers, registers vehicles, issues professional certifications, and provides other licensing-related information to citizens of Washington State. Software and Services Windows Vista®

The Washington Department of Licensing is upgrading to the Windows Vista® operating system on all its Automated Testing System (ATS) computers. These computers are used by citizens taking driver knowledge tests. The ATS, administrative computers, and automated lobby management system computers have enhanced reliability and security, making it possible for the department to deliver better customer service. Business Needs
The Washington Department of Licensing strives to deliver the best possible service to the citizens of Washington State while making smart use of taxpayer dollars. There are two primary functions of the department. One is to test and authorize drivers at 63 field offices. The other is to provide new vehicle registration tags and plates at 185 field offices. To qualify for new driver licenses, citizens must take knowledge tests using Automated Testing System (ATS) computers. Other computers are responsible for the automated lobby management system, which helps personnel serve citizens in order of arrival. Until recently, both the ATS and automated lobby management system computers ran the Microsoft® Windows® 2000 operating system. Unfortunately, lack of reliability was a persistent problem. “It wasn’t uncommon for our computers to stop responding or close the application during a test,” says Michael Childs, Data Center Facilities Manager for the Washington Department of Licensing. “A citizen who was trying to get a license to drive a commercial vehicle could have invested 45 minutes in taking a test and have to start over because of a computer

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crash. That’s a frustrating experience. We needed to do something about it.” The department has approximately 2,200 employees and contractors, spread across more than 250 sites. Most of those workers used computers that ran the Windows 2000 operating system. “Upgrading our desktop and portable computers is significant because of our small IT staff and distributed environment,” says Jim Henly, Chief Technology Officer for the Washington Department of Licensing. “Therefore, we wanted to make sure that our next operating system could bring us enough benefit to make an upgrade worthwhile.”

deployment process when we upgrade our internal administrative computers. These are mostly at sites with high-speed network connections.” Even without the advantage of an automated deployment, the department has found the Windows Vista upgrade process to be smooth. “Our IT personnel are flying through it,” says Kennedy. “They upgrade all the ATS computers at a location in less than two hours—it takes just eight minutes to load the image and restart the computers.” As of May 2007, the department had upgraded 150 ATS and 30 automated lobby management system computers, and it adds approximately 20 computers each day. The department also is planning the operating system upgrade of 2,500 desktop and portable computers. As part of planning, the department is using the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit as a repository for information about necessary steps to take before the upgrade is deployed to a group of computers.

tremendous,” says Childs. “For instance, we had nine ATS computers in one field office freeze three or four times per week. In the months since the upgrade, that office has had only one incident with one computer—that’s a 95 percent change for the better.” Enhanced security management. The department looks forward to the added protection of a local firewall as part of its Windows Vista upgrade. It also plans to make the most of Windows User Account Control to prevent users from unintentionally introducing malicious software into the environment. “Several users have ‘local administrator’ status,” says Kennedy. “With Windows User Account Control, they’ll be prompted when there’s suspicious activity, which helps them to better avoid malware.” Improved customer service. Windows Vista already is having a positive effect on the department’s ability to provide faster, better service to the public. “With these more reliable systems, citizens are less likely to encounter interruptions and can complete the testing process more quickly,” says Childs. “Thanks to things like Windows Vista Instant Search capabilities, our employees will be able to do their jobs more efficiently, which ultimately means better service throughout the Department of Licensing.”

The Washington Department of Licensing chose to move to the Windows Vista® operating system to increase the reliability and manageability of its environment. The department elected to start by upgrading its 239 publicly available ATS testing computers and 34 computers running the automated lobby management queuing system because they run a limited number of applications and thus require less compatibility testing. Before conducting the upgrade, IT staff considered using deployment and management tools, such as Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 and the Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment 2007. In the end, the department decided to use its disk-imaging methodology to deploy the operating system upgrade. “We were worried that using deployment tools would adversely affect the network bandwidth of some remote sites and would cause the upgrade process delays,” explains Mark Kennedy, Windows Vista Project Technical Lead for the Washington Department of Licensing. “However, we plan to use those tools to streamline the

The operating system upgrade at the Washington Department of Licensing has yielded significant reliability, security, and manageability improvements. “We want to do all we can to make the public’s experience a positive one,” says Henly. “Upgrading to Windows Vista helps us maximize our ability to provide excellent customer service to the citizens of Washington.” Increased uptime. The department found that its computers running the Windows Vista operating system are far more reliable than those on earlier operating systems. “The stability improvements we’ve already experienced are

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published June 2007

Forward-Thinking County Government Enhances IT Security and Manageability

Company: Fulton County, State of Georgia Web Site: Customer Size: 5,000 employees Country or Region: United States Industry: Government Company Profile Through a workforce of 5,000 people in agencies, airports, fire stations, police stations, courts, and libraries, Fulton County serves nearly one million people in northwest Georgia. Software and Services Windows Server® 2008 Windows Vista® Windows® XP Professional SP3 Microsoft® System Center Operations Manager 2007 Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Hardware HP ProLiant DL340 servers Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors

“We have reduced help-desk calls from an average of 20 per day for a user group of similar size down to just 5 per day—a 75 percent improvement.”
Robert E. Taylor, CIO/Director of Information Technology, Fulton County

The Fulton County IT department is responsible for thousands of computers across dozens of government departments. Having faced network disruptions in the past due to noncompliant computers, the county needed a new security solution. In response, it is deploying Windows Server® 2008 to take advantage of Network Access Protection (NAP). After an initial deployment, help-desk call volume decreased by 75 percent, for a projected annual savings of more than U.S.$150,000 in maintenance costs.
Business Needs
The government of Fulton County serves a population of nearly one million in northwest Georgia. Its IT department supports 5,000 employees in 400 buildings, dozens of agencies, airports, fire stations, police stations, courts, public-health clinics, and libraries. Its mixed IT infrastructure includes mainframes, clustered servers, workstations, desktop computers, multiple operating systems, dozens of vertical applications, and a sophisticated network encompassing multiple topologies and protocols. For Fulton County IT executives, such an infrastructure poses major challenges in terms of security and standards compliance. IT security was complicated by the sensitive nature of public-health and court documents, and was especially difficult within the libraries, whose 600plus Internet-facing computers were vulnerable to outside attack. Even with a desktop firewall enabled, the county needed greater protection, as evidenced by virus attacks in 2003 spread via countyowned mobile computers. “The Blaster virus brought the network to its knees,” according to Robert E. Taylor, CIO/Director of Information Technology,

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Fulton County. “For four days nobody could get any work done, including jail administrators, who were unable to book or release prisoners. This led to a serious PR situation and the threat of a major lawsuit.” Standards compliance was also a problem because Fulton County relied on a paper policy. “Standards enforcement and policy compliance were practically impossible without tying them into the larger administration of systems,” Taylor explains.


Then they evaluated NAP with IPsec enforcement, a solution that is built into the Windows Server® 2008 operating system. They liked the support of IPsec for isolation of problematic clients and for encryption that is compliant with HIPAA regulations. Fulton County decided to deploy NAP to all clients on its IT infrastructure. To support NAP, the County is deploying Windows Server 2008 on its servers, and the Windows Vista® or Windows® XP SP3 operating systems on desktop and notebook computers. As part of the project, Taylor and his team developed and deployed a Domain Isolation solution that put all clients into a single logical network domain. Next, they deployed Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista to a test bed of three servers and 300 client systems, respectively. Taylor and his colleagues intend to deploy Windows Server 2008 to all the county’s 200 servers by the second quarter of fiscal year 2009. They also will deploy Windows XP SP3, to the 90 percent of clients that run Windows XP SP3. To help enforce security updates on the Windows XP SP3 clients, they will use Microsoft® System Center Operations Manager 2007 management packs and System Center Configuration Manager 2007 reporting tools. As Taylor says, “We anticipate that System Center Configuration Manager will help us implement NAP very smoothly.”

in system uptime that helps to maintain their focus on business deliverables. Stability up, help-desk calls down. Among client users, stability is noticeably higher, with fewer problems caused by malware attacks. “We have reduced helpdesk calls from an average of 20 per day for a user group of similar size down to just 5 per day—a 75 percent improvement,” says Taylor. Automated compliance. Instead of the cumbersome, paper-based policy of the past, Fulton County is using NAP to enforce standards, policy, and systemhealth compliance. As a result, the county has been able to reassign two full-time maintenance staff members to new technology initiatives, resulting in IT maintenance cost avoidance of U.S.$157,000 annually. Real-time reporting. The county will further automate compliance with the reporting tools in System Center Operations Manager 2007, which will be built on top of the NAP platform. “Using System Center Operations Manager 2007 reporting tools, we will know immediately whether a client is in compliance,” Taylor says. “This will help us save money and improve the level of service we can offer to users and citizens.” A powerful and agile platform. For Taylor and his team, the impressive gains of the NAP test deployment mark the start of something much, much bigger. “With Windows Server 2008 and the integrated System Center technologies, we will achieve a more integrated, manageable, and available infrastructure,” Taylor says. “This will bring us not only cost-control and productivity advantages, but also the agility necessary for building innovative

Fulton County IT executives researched a more effective way to enforce client security and compliance policies, and found the Network Access Protection (NAP) solution. They saw that with NAP, administrators could tackle three vital challenges: One, they could customize health policies to validate computers’ health before allowing them to access the network. Two, they could automatically update policy-compliant computers. Three, they could confine noncompliant computers to a restricted network until they become compliant. Once they decided to investigate a NAP solution, Fulton County IT executives needed to evaluate the technologies that can be used to enforce NAP. They started by evaluating NAP with Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)–based enforcement, because they were using a DHCP server to manage their IP addresses. But DHCP enforcement did not meet the security requirements of the network because of the possible use of static IP addressing, which can bypass a DHCP deployment. They also evaluated 802.1Xbased enforcement, but decided against it as well.


After six months of the test deployment of NAP, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Vista, Taylor and his colleagues have observed an improvement in security standards compliance, an easier approach to standards enforcement, and an increase

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published January 2008

solutions, such as a countywide migration to VoIP that is already underway.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published January 2008


Enhancing State & Local Government through Desktop Optimization
State and local governments are under constant pressure to improve service to citizens while at the same time maximizing efficiencies within budget constraints. IT departments, in particular, feel the squeeze between being asked to do more with the same or fewer resources. With PCs now the primary tool for a host of citizen-facing applications and services, the efficient use and management of desktops and laptops can make a major contribution to the quality of an agency’s constituent services and to its overall cost-effectiveness. Microsoft’s Desktop Optimization strategy can help government agencies meet their objectives of improved services and greater cost-efficiency by simplifying PC management, improving access to information, supporting greater collaboration, increasing the reliability and usability of devices such as desktop PCs, laptops and mobile devices, and expanding the use of productivity-enhancing applications.
Benefits of Desktop Optimization for state & local government can include: Streamlined document handling Enhanced communication within and between agencies Improved constituent services Greater data security Lower costs for PC management Better use of IT staff

The goal of Desktop Optimization is to help agencies realize the value of their investments in IT infrastructure by making that infrastructure a strategic asset that increases agility and enables workers to achieve more. The Desktop Optimization strategy is built upon five practices that have been identified as critical to moving IT infrastructure toward the goal of optimization. These best practices – which help drive down total cost of ownership (TCO), improve service levels and increase agility – are: Standardize desktop strategy and minimize images Implement comprehensive security and compliance tools Automate software distribution Centrally manage PC configurations and settings Virtualize applications and deliver as streaming on-demand services Government agencies that adopt these practices may be able to reduce complexity in their IT infrastructure, and free up IT staff to perform higher-value activities. Microsoft offers a comprehensive set of solutions for Desktop Optimization to help enterprises implement these five best practices. These solutions are:
Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) Microsoft System Center Microsoft Office 2007 Microsoft Forefront Client Security


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The various elements of a Desktop Optimization strategy can benefit state and local governments in several ways. Among them are these: Working More Efficiently Windows Vista® and Microsoft® Office 2007 can help achieve several important benefits in the document-management process, such as time saved in searching for documents, coordinating and organizing group work, categorizing documents by security level, and managing documents with both structured and unstructured information. With the increased capabilities in Microsoft Office 2007, employees spend less time looking for the right data and more time creating value-added information. Employees are able to store requests for information through InfoPath forms and easily reuse the responses when needed. Office Groove® 2007, Windows Meeting Space, and the enhanced filesharing capabilities in Windows Vista streamline the sharing of information between government, business and the public through effective collaboration. Office InfoPath® 2007 helps control government spending and reduce the cost of doing business with the government by the use of electronic forms offered through websites or information kiosks. Improved Inter-Agency Communication Windows Meeting Space improves collaboration among small groups of Windows Vista users virtually anytime, anywhere. Office Communicator 2007 provides easy access to rich presence, IM, and other real-time communications capabilities to enable workers to communicate more easily. Improving Document Security Microsoft Office 2007 improves document security by enabling access controls, a classification system, and Information Rights Management. Users can increase document security based on the sensitivity of the information contained and provide access to a selected set of reviewers or readers depending on the group or management level to which they belong. Microsoft Office 2007 also offers the Document Inspector functionality to detect and remove unwanted comments, hidden text, or personally identifiable. Office SharePoint® Server 2007 helps improve document security with features that help define document management and compliance policies through access rights at a peritem level. Simplified Software Management Windows Vista Enterprise, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and Microsoft System Center can make it easier for central IT staffs to deploy and manage software, enabling employees to use them more easily and effectively. Strengthened Data Security Agencies must closely protect citizen privacy and government data, and be constantly on guard against outside threats. Windows Vista Enterprise has numerous security enhancements, including BitLocker Drive Encryption and Windows Security Center. Data security is also strengthened through features in Microsoft Forefront™ Client Security, Microsoft Office 2007 and MDOP. Centrally Managed PC Settings Centralized management of desktop PCs and other devices leads to greater stability, faster problem resolution and fewer issues with software deployments. Features such as User Account Control in Windows Vista and Advanced Group Policy Management in MDOP support consistent policy enforcement throughout an agency.

The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Strategy

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Microsoft Solutions for State and Local Government

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