Microsoft announces $1.5 billion investment plan to accelerate digital transformation in Italy, including its first cloud datacenter region

Five-year investment plan includes technology investments in cloud services, digital skilling and re-skilling programs, local partnerships for business innovation, and a new Sustainability Alliance

MILAN May 8, 2020 – Microsoft Corp. today announced a $1.5 billion, five-year investment plan in Italy, marking a significant commitment to support local innovation and growth, including the intent to bring Microsoft’s first datacenter region to the country. The plan “Ambizione Italia #DigitalRestart” builds on the strategic initiative “Ambizione Italia“ launched in 2018 and will create new opportunities by empowering people and organizations and supporting economic growth. Microsoft will deliver access to local cloud services, expand its partnership with Poste Italiane, launch digital skilling and smart-working programs, accelerate business’ restart by providing access to AI Hubs and programs for SMBs, as well as support the country by launching a Sustainability Alliance.

Microsoft’s investments in Italy span a 35-plus-year history with more than 10,000 partners and 350,000 professionals. The plan marks a major milestone toward delivering its enterprise-grade cloud services globally, totalling 61 regions announced, with Microsoft Azure available in over 140 countries.

“I am proud to announce our $1.5 billion investment plan for Italy. This plan will support those working across the country to sustain and rebuild businesses, to explore new entrepreneurial opportunities and help solve some of the country’s most difficult challenges, all while meeting critical security and compliance needs. We see enormous potential to accelerate innovation within the national ecosystem through cloud services, AI and digital skilling. Our mission is to empower the people and organizations of Italy to achieve more,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president and president, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations.

“Once again, Italy is confirmed to be a hub for attracting investment, innovation and development. The ‘Ambizione Italia #DigitalRestart’ plan will help accelerate the digital transformation of our country. Microsoft’s initiative, with cloud services and digital smart-working programs dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises, will certainly help Italy move even faster in this direction. The new Sustainability Alliance that Microsoft aims to bring is also of utmost importance to the national Green New Deal,” said Giuseppe Conte, prime minister of Italy.

“We need to orient the country toward digital and technological transformation by addressing three challenges: digitalization, innovation and ethical and sustainable development,” stated Paola Pisano, minister, Technological Innovation and Digitalization. “Artificial Intelligence presents a real and tangible opportunity to revolutionize our country, and we have a duty to invest and play a leading role in its development, to ensure we don’t fall behind. This means designing, developing and experimenting with artificial intelligence solutions and applying them to administrative processes and production processes, to assess and correctly address their potential impact on society.”

Expanding technology partnership with Poste Italiane and bringing Microsoft’s cloud to Italy

Microsoft and Poste Italiane, the largest service distribution network in Italy, are extending their partnership to foster innovation among developers, startups, enterprises and public administration. The two companies will launch a joint plan to develop a new digital skilling project for the Poste Italiane workforce and a joint initiative for skilling in the country. Poste Italiane will also accelerate its own digital transformation with the latest Microsoft solutions.

“We’re going to play an important role in Italy’s digital transformation and future development. The strengthened collaboration with Microsoft is aligned with our Deliver 2022 strategic plan. By leveraging advanced cloud services, we can empower public and private companies to innovate, providing greater opportunity for the country’s growth,” said Matteo Del Fante, CEO and GM, Poste Italiane.

The new datacenter region in Milan will provide companies with access to Microsoft’s enterprise-grade cloud services. Microsoft Azure is an ever-expanding set of cloud services that offers computing, networking, databases, analytics, AI and Internet of Things (IoT) services. Microsoft 365 is the world’s productivity cloud that delivers best-of-breed productivity apps integrated through cloud services, delivered as part of an open platform for business processes. Dynamics 365 and Power Platform are the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable organizations to grow, evolve and transform to meet the needs of customers.

Hundreds of customers and partners in Italy are already driving business transformation with Microsoft’s cloud services, including Barilla, CNH Industrial, Eni, Generali, Invitalia, Luxottica and Snam. According to joint research conducted by Politecnico di Milano School of Management and Microsoft Italia, establishing a datacenter region of this size in Italy may generate more than 10,000 job-related opportunities and an estimated $9 billion in direct and indirect business impact by the end of 2024. This forecast encompasses datacenter construction and operations as well as opportunities for businesses and the technology ecosystem.

Microsoft offers more than 90 certifications and spends $1 billion every year on cybersecurity to address security at every layer of the cloud. Microsoft’s Italy datacenter region will continue to help companies comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and will also help customers store data at rest in Italy.

“In this time of change, it is important to create private and public collaboration and join forces among companies. This plan creates a platform for growth for millions of Italians. The new datacenter region will provide intelligent and secure services, and we will continue to partner with our customers to reimagine their business models creating more innovative companies,” said Silvia Candiani, general manager, Microsoft Italy.

Skilling, business support and education programs to grow Italian job opportunities

“Ambizione Italia #DigitalRestart” also includes an important focus on skilling an estimated 1.5 million students, professionals and unemployed citizens over the next three years with our partner Fondazione Mondo Digitale and the Partner Academy Program. Microsoft is also forming an Advisory Board comprising CEOs of leading companies to identify priorities for empowering people development, as well as sharing their expertise and best practices for new skilling and employability initiatives. To enable SMBs’ productivity and innovation for all Italian businesses, Microsoft and selected partners, including Borsa Italiana, Cariplo Factory, Confindustria, EY, OGR Tech, Politecnico di Milano, Poste Italiane, Sace, UniCredit, and Vodafone Italia, will also create digital programs for local businesses with a specific focus on SMBs, offering Microsoft’s cloud services to an estimated 500,000 companies and startups in Italy. Finally, Microsoft announced new “AI Hubs” in Italy to help companies in key strategic sectors get started in AI with dedicated local resources from Microsoft, its partners, and researchers from top universities, innovation centers and startups.

Supporting Italy’s Sustainability Alliance

Microsoft and local stakeholders will launch a Sustainability Alliance committed to delivering technology solutions that help public and private sectors create solutions to improve sustainability in Italy. The Sustainability Alliance will support the national New Green Deal Plan and will contribute to an open innovation ecosystem on sustainable topics. This alliance will help address the most urgent climate and environmental needs to support Italy’s sustainable future.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

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