Photo: Minnesota State CIO Gopal Khanna 

The Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology (OET) today announced that the state has signed an agreement with Microsoft for a single e-mail and calendaring system for the Executive Branch. The agreement calls for a phased migration of 25 individual agency-based e-mail systems and three different platforms to a single enterprise system that will eventually replace all existing e-mail contracts. Upon completion in 2010, 32,000 state employees will be on the new system.

In announcing the agreement, State CIO Gopal Khanna emphasized both its historic nature, and the benefits of an enterprisewide system. "It has long been the goal of Governor Pawlenty," Khanna said, "to move to a more enterprise approach to IT services and to streamline overlapping functions. This is the first major consolidation project to reach implementation stage and is important both as a directional milestone and as a practical improvement to the state's IT environment. I am grateful for the hard work of many agency personnel in bringing this historic project to this stage. I look forward to working with our Microsoft partners in building a system that meets our needs."

By consolidating all e-mail systems to a single system, inter-agency communications and calendaring are improved and simplified through the use of a statewide directory and a single, highly secure and redundant e-mail system with 7/24/365 support, said OET in a release. Users will be able to view and schedule meetings across agencies, and to send e-mail to anyone in the system with simple drop-down menus.

OET says the new system represents a significant security benefit, offering state of the art encryption technology and single sign-on capabilities.