Microsoft has announced the upcoming launch of its first cloud region in Italy, aimed at providing Italian organisations with access to reliable and scalable cloud services. This move showcases Microsoft’s dedication to driving digital transformation and sustainable innovation within the country.
The new cloud region, comprising three datacenters located in Lombardy, ensures top-level security, privacy, and performance. It will play a pivotal role in accelerating the digital transition of local organisations and public entities. Initially available for businesses utilising Microsoft Azure or Microsoft 365, the region will soon expand its services to include Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.
The announcement took place during the Made in DigItaly event, where numerous companies, local innovators, Microsoft partners, and institutions congregated virtually and at the Triennale Museum in Milan. The event fostered discussions on the potential of the cloud region in facilitating economic and societal development through innovation.
Poste Italiane, the largest service distribution network in Italy, has been leveraging Microsoft technologies to expedite its own digital transformation. They are now collaborating with Microsoft to offer joint digital solutions to Italian companies and public administrations.
Another company set to benefit from the new datacenter region is illimity, an Italian bank that started as a cloud-based, digital-only startup in 2018. With over 6 billion euros in assets and nearly 900 employees as of March 2023, illimity plans to migrate its operations to the new datacenter region.
The introduction of the cloud region aligns with Ambizione Italia, a five-year, $1.5 billion investment plan launched in 2020. This initiative aims to create growth opportunities through cloud technologies, modernise public administration, and enhance digital skills among professionals in Italy.
The datacenter region will contribute to economic growth and job creation, predicted to generate approximately $135 billion in new revenue and over 237,000 jobs for the Italian economy in the next four years, according to an IDC study. Microsoft’s cloud region alone accounts for around 17.1% of the projected revenue.
Ralph Haupter, Microsoft President EMEA, emphasised Italy’s vibrant business landscape and the necessity of providing it with top-notch technological infrastructure. The new datacenter region will empower Italian organisations to embrace the digital age, expand internationally, and leverage advanced technologies like AI to exceed customer expectations.
The local cloud region in Italy joins Microsoft’s extensive network of over 60 global cloud regions and will be one of the largest among the 17 datacenter regions already established in Europe. It will cater to both Italian companies requiring services within the country and global organisations seeking to accelerate their own digital transformations by leveraging the Italian region.
Microsoft will also extend cloud services to the Italian Public Administration through the National Strategic Hub (“Polo Strategico Nazionale,” PSN) using Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, a solution designed to comply with the government’s data classification standards and support the country’s digital transformation goals.
The launch of the cloud region in Italy represents Microsoft’s commitment to being a trusted partner for the country’s growth through digital innovation. Microsoft, along with its ecosystem, will support Italian companies by providing access to secure and innovative cloud services, fostering competitiveness and sustainable development. This investment marks Microsoft’s largest commitment in Italy during its 40 years of presence in the country.
The new cloud region will facilitate business transformation and enable Italian organisations to capitalise on cloud services for operational efficiency, production optimisation, market expansion, and enhanced collaboration. It allows for real-time access to data and applications, empowering informed decision-making and swift response to customer needs.
Microsoft is also emphasising the importance of people in Italy’s ambition for digital growth. Research by IDC suggests that Microsoft, its partners, and customers will contribute over 237,000 jobs directly and indirectly to the economy. Moreover, within the same timeframe, 40,700 new skilled IT jobs will be added by Microsoft, its ecosystem, and IT departments in customer companies.
Over the past three years, Microsoft has trained and reskilled more than 3 million individuals in Italy through various programs developed in collaboration with local partners and non-governmental organisations. At the Made in DigItaly event, Microsoft announced new skilling initiatives in collaboration with local partners to equip professionals and students with essential skills in data science, cybersecurity, and AI.
Additionally, the new datacenters will help organisations achieve their sustainability goals. Microsoft is committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030 and removing all the carbon emitted since its inception in 1975 from the environment by 2050. By 2025, Microsoft aims to source 100% of its energy from renewable sources. The company is also implementing innovative techniques to minimise water consumption in its datacenters, estimating less than 5% usage for cooling the Italian datacenter throughout the year.