Committing to India’s Techade

an image with silhouettes of Hyderabad's landmarks

By Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India

Profile photo of Microsoft India President Anant MaheshwariOn March 7th, we announced our intent to establish our latest datacenter region in Hyderabad, Telangana. The announcement is deeply important for us, because through it, we reaffirm our commitment to growing India’s economy. It also reinforces the increasing customer demand for cloud as a platform for digital transformation and as a foundation for India’s future, driving economic growth and societal progress.

The Hyderabad datacenter region will be an addition to the existing network of three regions in India across Pune, Mumbai, and Chennai, and will offer the entire Microsoft portfolio, for enterprises, start-ups, developers, education, and government institutions. Establishing a fourth data center region in the country is not just about investing in technology infrastructure. It’s about empowering every company and every sector in India to innovate, scale and benefit from the power of the trusted cloud. Let me share why this moment means so much to us…

We are making giant strides in ensuring that India is future ready! 

I often underline how deeply Microsoft is committed to empowering India’s growth. This commitment is not new, for three decades we have been proud partners in India’s growth and evolution, investing heavily in skilling, infrastructure, innovation, and ecosystems, to create a truly connected, empowered, digital India. As we move forward, and beyond the shadow of the pandemic, India’s IT industry is poised to accelerate digital capabilities, not just in India… but across the planet. Digital empowerment is at the heart of our mission.

Digital skilling will be one of the most important ways to enhance economic productivity for every individual and make India a digital nation. Digital skills are core to helping our youth and workforce thrive in a digital economy. Bridging the digital divide in India will take collective commitment. No one company or government can address a challenge of this scale alone. We are collaborating with the Ministry of Labour and Employment on DigiSaksham, a program for equipping more than 1 crore youth in rural and semi urban areas with technical skills. Skilling needs to start with our schools and classrooms. We partnered with CBSE early this year to introduce coding and data sciences in school curriculum.

Digital optimism goes beyond business

The digital optimism we see presents a massive opportunity to create new business models, attract global investment, and open job opportunities – spurring the next decade of growth and innovation for India. We are already seeing Startups and SMBs across the breadth of the country solve for India and build for the world. Given the accelerated digital transformation, the demand for hyperscale, reliable, and trusted cloud services has grown exponentially. Cloud infrastructure is now the foundation for India’s sustained growth.

But moving to the cloud is not just an IT infrastructure decision. It is a business-critical decision for every organization, and impacts lives and living in the farthest reaches of India. Microsoft is empowering every organization in India with the platforms and tools they need to be future ready, with the security and data privacy that every single person has the right to. We should aspire for the same access, opportunities, and platform for every Indian. This will be the true achievement of India’s techade.

We want growth to be equitable, inclusive, and sustainable 

The pandemic exposed the digital divide like never before. Three things will be critical to address this — access, inclusion, and skilling (like I mentioned earlier). Access to infrastructure, low-cost devices, and broadband will be fundamental to achieving the Digital India vision. The pandemic showed that without it, people lack access to education, healthcare, economic opportunity, and more. It is important that we build new products and services that are deeply relevant to India’s unique needs.

Next is inclusion. Economic growth needs to be inclusive to drive the nation forward.  The benefits of technology need to reach every part of India… from small and micro businesses, migrant workers, farmers, and vulnerable communities. Inclusion is not just about the digital divide but also the disability divide. As per the Census 2011, there are 26.8 million persons with disabilities in India. It’s important to note that 70% of all disabilities are not visible. True inclusion means designing for enablement and including accessibility, flexibility and overall wellbeing right at the technology inception stage. We need to design for all situations and all kinds of people, so we don’t exclude anybody.

We are not only aligned with India’s digital ambitions but are also working collectively to commit skills, resources, and funding to tackle the challenge our planet faces. We are committed to being carbon negative, water positive & waste negative by 2030. This is what we call ‘Purpose Driven Digital’ — the art of leveraging tech innovation to drive societal outcomes will really be the center of enabling self-reliance and tech inclusion for India.

We want growth to be grounded in Trust 

Finally, trusted, ethical and secure technology will be at the heart of driving innovation for India. As creators, users, and advocates of tech, it is important for us to make careful choices… so that tech ultimately translates into benefits and opportunities for all. It’s important to remember that people will only use tech that they trust. Which is why security is built in by design into all Microsoft products and services… enabling organizations to adopt a Zero Trust architecture. Trusted and secure tech is at the core of accelerating tech innovation in the country. And we are deeply invested in building a trusted tech ecosystem. We think of Trust as comprising 6 elements: Security, Reliability, Privacy, Compliance, Ethics, and Transparency. Microsoft runs on Trust….and our focus continues to be on ‘not just what tech can do, but what it should do.’

Winning with Cloud 

Cloud services are poised to play a critical role in reimagining the future of business and governance and enabling overall inclusion in the country. The new datacenter will augment Microsoft’s cloud capabilities and capacity to support those working across the country to sustain and rebuild businesses. With the expansion of its cloud datacenter footprint in India, Microsoft is strengthening regional investments in cloud services to empower and co-innovate with customers and partners.

I am grateful for the collaboration with the Government of India and the Government of Telangana on this major milestone and appreciate their support. Microsoft is partnering closely to accelerate the adoption of cloud, AI, IoT and cybersecurity solutions for governance and is involved in efforts to upskill government officials in next generation technology.

The last 2 years have proved how India is poised to play a leading role for the next normal of the planet. And, we are committed to India’s Techade to drive growth, accessibility, inclusion, skilling, and innovation for India and for the planet.

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