Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Microsoft carries the day with technology committee

The Legislature's Select Committee on Legislative Technology and Process voted Wednesday morning to adopt Microsoft's Exchange to handle its email system.

The executive branch recently chose Google but Legislative Service Office staffers believe the Microsoft platform provides more security and better integration with other technology plans, including the use of SharePoint.

In a memo to the committee, the LSO staffer Jamie Schaub made this assessment:

"After the 2011 General Session, we analyzed the extent to which Google could be integrated with SharePoint, because seamless integration with email is critical to provide automated workflows for many legislative processes as part of the new system. We determined that there are many features within SharePoint that we will not be able to fully utilize if we choose Google. We also believe we would add risk and uncertainty to our SharePoint project by trying to integrate a non-Microsoft solution for our email environment. Finally, there are several executive branch policies in place that could limit the use of legislators’ mobile devices if we use the executive branch’s system.

"Based on this analysis, we recommend selecting Microsoft Exchange as the legislative branch’s new email platform. Please let me know if you have any questions. We are very excited about the potential to create more efficient and effective technology support for the legislative branch through these initiatives. "

Sen. Leland Christensen, R-SD17, Alta, questioned the security of Microsoft's Hotmail versus Google. But LSO staffers said several states, including California, decided against using Google because of security problems.

The select committee set its next meeting June 29 to discuss its interim topics, which include
reviewing and recommending rule and process changes to improve the "open and transparent operations of the Legislature."