Put simply, Microsoft’s mission is to empower every organisation and every person to achieve more. We live and breathe that mantra.
We are now in a position to take that mission to the next level for Government and national critical infrastructure in Australia with our now online Canberra Azure regions and Protected level services certification.
It’s perfect timing.
Innovation and Science Australia’s recent landmark report, Australia 2030, Prosperity Through Innovation, can be read as a roadmap to the future. It’s an important piece of work that builds on the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda and provides guidance about what enterprise, educators and Government need to tackle to ensure the nation’s enduring success.
As part of that, Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) calls for Government to role model innovation in service delivery, through process redesign and digital technology – making it a beacon for all innovating enterprises.
Australia already ranks second in the world in the United Nations’ E-Government online index and e-participation index according to ISA. But Government cannot rest on its laurels.
The good must get better, in order to meet the shifting expectations and needs of citizens and businesses and also to reap a digital dividend. ISA maintains that by digitalising interactions between government and citizens, total departmental expenditure can be reduced by up to 12 per cent by 2026.
Our investment in Microsoft Azure Australia Central, which is now operational thanks to our unique partnership with Canberra Data Centres, has been expressly tailored to support Government and national critical infrastructure as these organisations transform and innovate.
We have also secured Protected level certification for 35 Azure and Office 365 services from the Australian Signals Directorate. This means that almost all government data and applications can be located in Azure.
Government is a strong supporter of cloud computing as an innovation accelerator. The Digital Transformation Agency’s recently released Secure Cloud Strategy notes that cloud “can generate a faster pace of delivery, continuous improvement cycles and broad access to services. It can reduce the amount of maintenance effort required to ‘keep the lights on’ and refocus that effort into improving service delivery.”
Azure Australia Central has been designed expressly to support Government transformation. But Microsoft is acutely aware that technology alone won’t deliver the degree of innovation that the nation needs. People perform an irreplaceable function.
To ensure Government has access to the talent and skills it needs to support its transformation, we have designed and are subsidising an education program that will deliver critical cloud computing skills to 5,000 public sector staff and suppliers by 2020. That builds on the impact we expect from our investment in the National Skills Program which works with today’s employees to prepare them to play a constructive and impactful role in Australia’s digital future.
The other critical strand in the development of a strong national digital fabric is the broader innovation ecosystem, composed of our partners, who help bring this vision of a streamlined and digital future to life.
Working with our partners we can unleash the power of our truly global, trusted, high performance Azure cloud to create world leading services that are cost effective, flexible and highly secure. The opportunity to collocate alongside Azure Australia Central creates unprecedented innovation opportunities while the fact that we operate Azure from three Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra) – more than any other global cloud provider- promotes resilience and in-country scalability.
Reflecting the new business opportunities Azure Australia Central provide, we also announced 47 partners , both local and international, are leveraging the unique characteristics of the platform. These include SAP, Telstra Health, AXON, DXC, Accenture, Dimension Data, Veritas, Citrix, and Leidos. Australian software companies including Intelledox, Gravity, GIS People and Ralleo also build on Azure to serve local customers and enter new markets globally. Open source partners such as RedHat, Cloudera and MapR will also be delivering open source solutions on the Azure Australia Central regions.
In doing so, that’s approximately 290,000 Australians and their organisations who can play a more direct role in creating our future and creating jobs for the next generation workforce coming through school and universities
One important example of the sorts of ground breaking and transformative solutions this permits comes from our partner, Citadel Group.
Citadel is developing a world-first national security platform intended to mobilise citizens’ smartphones as critical incident data sources allowing real time video and audio uploads into Azure where the information is collected, analysed and interpreted.
With profound national security implications already, it’s also a foundation that might ultimately allow the digitisation of the 000 service, keeping Australians and Australia safe.
It’s that sort of vision, that sort of partnership that signals what Australia can achieve. We are proud to play our part.