Microsoft announces its first cloud region in Italy, accelerating innovation and economic opportunity

Microsoft announced the upcoming availability of its first cloud region in Italy, providing Italian organizations access to scalable, available and resilient cloud services and confirming its commitment to promoting digital transformation and sustainable innovation in the country.

The new cloud region, consisting of three datacenters located in the Lombardy region, guarantees the highest levels of security, privacy and performance, and it will contribute to the acceleration of the digital transition of organizations and public entities in the area. This new world-class datacenter region will be available in the coming weeks for businesses using Microsoft Azure or Microsoft 365, with Dynamics 365 and Power Platform soon to follow.

The new datacenter region was announced during the Made in DigItaly event. Hundreds of companies, local innovators, key Microsoft partners, and institutions joined the event online and at Triennale Museum in Milan to discuss the opportunities offered by the cloud region as an enabler of economic and societal development and innovation.

Among them, Poste Italiane, the largest service distribution network in Italy, which is leveraging Microsoft technologies to accelerate its own digital transformation and offering a new set of joint digital solutions to Italian companies and public administrations.

“Digital innovation influences the strategic decisions of major companies and their business models,“ said Matteo Del Fante, CEO Poste Italiane. “Poste Italiane is leading this evolution and it has transformed itself thanks to investments in technology that are playing a systemic role in the digitization of the country. Our collaboration with Microsoft is long-standing, and today it’s focused on the introduction of infrastructure and on the application of big data analysis tools for achieving the transformation of our technological model by aligning it with the best tech companies. Poste Italiane wants to be the bridge between Italy’s big innovation centers and the territory for the development of businesses and digital skills, supporting the ecosystem of Italian startups and SMEs.”

Another company that will move operations to the new datacenter region is illimity, an Italian bank that was founded in 2018 as a cloud-based, digital-only startup. It has grown into a bank with more than 6 billion euros in assets and nearly 900 employees as of March 2023.

“illimity, together with Microsoft, created a few years ago the first Italian cloud-native bank, certainly one of the very first in Europe. Together we have successfully faced the technological, commercial and regulatory challenges typical of an industry, such as banking, where everything has changed in a few years. We chose from the beginning not to have legacies and to fully embrace open architectures,” commented Corrado Passera, CEO of illimity. “The cloud has proven to be the right choice both in terms of efficiency and cost, as well as in terms of effectiveness and commercial flexibility. The cloud is certainly the first prerequisite to be able to ride the digitization whose evolutions are today only to a small extent predictable. Competition in the financial services sector – as in almost all sectors – is less and less a question of size and more and more a question of innovation. And more and more innovation passes through the ability to react quickly, easily integrate external components and develop partnerships in open mode.”

The impact of the Microsoft cloud region in Italy

The datacenter region is part of Ambizione Italia, a five-year, $1.5 billion investment plan that launched in 2020 to create new growth opportunities through cloud technologies for Italian companies, modernize public administration and provide professionals with digital skills.

In recent months, key strategic partners have joined the Ambizione Italia Cloud Region Partner Alliance, developed to sustain local companies and to leverage the new datacenter infrastructure for their digital transformation projects. The alliance now counts 32 partners across the territory.

The new datacenter region will help drive economic growth and contribute to the creation of job opportunities to sustain digital innovation. According to a recent IDC study,* over the next four years Microsoft, its ecosystem, and cloud customers together could generate about $135 billion in new revenue and add more than 237,000 jobs to the Italian economy.* The cloud region accounts for approximately 17.1% of the estimated new revenue total.

“The launch of Microsoft’s cloud region is important for the Lombardy region and Italy. The initiative not only brings quality employment opportunities, but above all it provides tools and technological infrastructure that allow companies and the public sector to accelerate digital transition. The government’s goal is to create an ecosystem that increases the level of competitiveness, protects Made in Italy from counterfeiting phenomena, optimizing production processes, quality control as well as logistics and energy sustainability. Microsoft’s cloud region enables the achievement of these goals,” said Valentino Valentini, deputy minister of enterprises and Made in Italy.

“Italian companies have long been renowned for their creativity, craftmanship and entrepreneurship, solidifying their position as some of the most esteemed and trusted brands in the world,” said Ralph Haupter, Microsoft President EMEA. “We believe that Italy’s vibrant business landscape deserves the best technological infrastructure available. With our new datacenter region in Italy, we are empowering Italian organizations to seize the opportunities of the digital age, more easily scale their operations internationally and leverage new technologies such as AI capabilities – ultimately helping meet and exceed their customers’ expectations.”

The benefits of a local cloud region: Innovation, security, and digital sovereignty

Italy joins the more than 60 Microsoft Cloud regions distributed all over the world and will grow to become one of the largest of our 17 announced or launched datacenter regions in Europe. The local cloud region will both serve Italian companies that need to run the services on Italian soil and global organizations that want to leverage the Italian region for accelerating their own digital transformation.

Microsoft will also provide cloud services to the Italian Public Administration as part of the National Strategic Hub (“Polo Strategico Nazionale,” PSN) by leveraging Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, a new solution announced in July of last year that will meet the national government’s data classification standards and supports the country’s digital transformation goals with public cloud-based solutions, controls and policy governance.

“With our first cloud region, we want to reinforce our commitment as the trusted partner for Italy’s growth through digital innovation. Together with our ecosystem, we will support Italian companies with access to innovative and secure cloud services, improving competitiveness and sustainable development. This is the largest investment Microsoft has made in Italy in 40 years of presence in the country, with technologies and programs enabling a rich ecosystem of innovation in the country,” said Vincenzo Esposito, Microsoft Italy Country Manager.

Innovation to accelerate Italy’s economic growth

Thousands of customers and partners in Italy are already driving business transformation with Microsoft Cloud services. They include schools, universities, organizations and companies from all industries.

BasicNet is another Microsoft client that is supportive of Microsoft’s investment in the new cloud region in Italy. The company, which was created in 1994, has a portfolio of iconic casual fashion brands, including K-Way, Kappa, Robe di Kappa, Jesus Jeans, Superga, Briko and Sebago. The brands’ products are distributed in more than 130 countries worldwide, with 1.27 billion euros of aggregate sales in 2022.

“Since 1995, we have identified Microsoft as an ideal partner to build our fully web-based business model, which has allowed us to quickly scale globally. We migrated to cloud in 2015-2016 and we chose Microsoft. Today, the first cloud region in Italy is a strong and positive message for anyone with a business in our country,” commented Alessandro Boglione, Executive Vice President BasicNet SpA.

Other Italian companies also see advantages to embracing cloud technology.

“In the context of the confectionery industry, as in many other sectors, Italian companies must adapt to change and stay up to date on the latest trends to remain competitive on the global market. This is why I strongly believe in the importance of cloud and digital technologies as enabler for business development,” says Bernadette Bevacqua, Chief Executive Officer of Sperlari. “Through the adoption of Microsoft Cloud technologies, we can improve operational efficiency, optimize production processes, reach new markets, and increase internal collaboration and knowledge sharing. Data and applications are available securely and in real time, allowing us to make more informed decisions and respond promptly to our customers’ needs. We need to embrace change, invest in digital skills, and take full advantage of cloud and digital technologies to support growth.”

“Innovation has always been a pillar of ELITE, launched in 2012 as an innovative project of Borsa Italiana and today part of the Euronext Group. The digital transition and sustainability are great challenges as well as a huge opportunity that companies in our country must seize,” remarked Marta Sesti, CEO Elite. “We are happy to be able to bring our testimony on the announcement of Microsoft’s first cloud region in Italy, which will have a positive and profound impact on the Italian economy. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the country’s economy. Today it is essential to enable these organizations to understand, and therefore to take full advantage of, the potential that digitization and innovation offer them to rethink their business model, also leveraging what the world of finance can offer them.  The fundamental mission of ELITE is helping companies rethink growth strategy and how to access capital to finance it. In this way, we connect businesses and capital to create a positive impact on businesses, employment and territories,”

Italy’s ambition: The crucial role of people

According to research developed by IDC* Microsoft, and its partners and customers will add more than 237,000 jobs to the economy, including jobs directly in their own organizations and jobs generated indirectly in other organizations. What’s more, Microsoft, its ecosystem and IT departments in customer companies will add 40,700 new skilled IT jobs into the economy over the same period.

In the last three years Microsoft has trained and reskilled more than 3 million Italians with different training opportunities developed by local partners and nongovernmental organizations.  At the Made in DigItaly event, Microsoft announced new skilling initiatives in collaboration with local partners to help professionals and students develop new skills in key areas such as data science, cybersecurity and AI.

A new generation of datacenters to help organizations achieve sustainability goals

The new cloud region will also help businesses achieve their sustainability goals in line with current priorities, as Microsoft datacenters are designed according to sustainability and circular economy principles.

By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975, inclusive of our datacenter operations.

By 2025, we will shift to 100% supply of renewable energy, meaning that we will have power purchase agreements for green energy contracted for 100% of carbon-emitting electricity consumed by all our datacenters.

Through modern and innovative techniques, we are reducing the use of cooling water in our datacenters. We estimate that we will use water to cool our Italian datacenter less than 5% of the year.

* IDC Info Snapshot, sponsored by Microsoft, The Microsoft Cloud Dividend Snapshot: Italy, Doc. #US50728123, June 2023

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