Microsoft Appoints VP of Federal Business

Microsoft has promoted Curt Kolcun to the position of vice president of its federal government business. In his new role, Kolcun intends to grow the business beyond the desktop to mission-critical government applications.

After four years in the Air Force, Kolcun started with Microsoft Federal 17 years ago as a technical engineer for the company's Department of Defense business. He worked up to various management positions with the technical team, moved to consulting and eventually took on his current role of general manager in 2003.

As vice president, Kolcun will be responsible for all business with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, while continuing to drive growth in all areas of the market.

"I'll push to get our technology into [mission-critical] areas of government, from command and control in DoD, to health care and the various civil agencies," Kolcun says. "Microsoft is typically not known for that."

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He also expects big opportunities for Microsoft and its partners in infrastructure optimization, collaboration and data availability.

Regarding security, Kolcun says the much-anticipated release of Vista will have a big impact on how government locks down its systems and data. As the first release of the operating system to go through the security development life cycle, Vista improves configuration management, patch application and deployment of active directory. He also points to Vista's BitLocker tool, which encrypts the entire Windows volume -- from files to e-mail and data.

What has not changed, Kolcun says, is Microsoft's devotion to the channel. The company doesn't sell direct to the federal government, and is compensated for meeting partner attach goals that bring the channel into new opportunities. More than 60 percent of the time, Microsoft includes named partners as it approaches deals with the federal government.

"As government tries to figure out how to apply technology to be more agile, it's the partners that are using our [commercial off-the-shelf products] to allow them to leverage existing technology while implementing new capabilities," Kolcun says. "That's essential for agencies that have limited budgets. Partners will continue to be critical to how we do business."