MAYOR Ed Koch once said that New York City is the place "where the future comes to audition." And that's something our Administration takes very seriously. In fact, we're bringing the spirit of innovation to every corner of the city. And by thinking creatively — by flipping the conventional wisdom on its head — by having the courage to try new things — we're gaining new ground on some of our most complex, longstanding challenges — like fixing our schools and protecting our environment.


We're also using innovation to change the way government itself does business — making us more efficient and more effective than ever before. A great example of this came to fruition last week when we unveiled a groundbreaking partnership with Microsoft. The technology giant has a long history of working with our schools and our government, but our latest partnership — the first of its kind — elevates our commitment to innovation to a whole new level.

Central to this agreement is a new licensing contract that significantly lowers our technology costs. In the past, the city's numerous agencies would each negotiate their own licenses and purchase their own software individually. But by leveraging city government's tremendous buying power, we've now been able to consolidate these dozens of agreements into one single license covering more than 100,000 city employees.

And instead of us purchasing a bundle of products for every employee, Microsoft has also agreed to charge us based on which applications our city workers actually need and use. Together, these improvements will produce an incredible $50 million in savings for the city over the next five years.

This new agreement also gives us access to Microsoft's latest tools and products — like "cloud computing," which is becoming an increasingly popular way for people to collaborate and access information. By storing some of our information on Microsoft's data servers, our employees are going to be able to work together online — regardless of where they are in the world. This will also take some pressure off the city's own computer servers, which means we won't need as much hardware or use as much energy — which will save us even more money.

And that really goes to the heart of what innovation can do for city government. By harnessing the power of data and technology, we're not just making government leaner, faster and more responsive. We're also making government more cost effective — and that's something that all New Yorkers can appreciate.

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