Empowering Thailand: We Make 70 Million Lives Better

 |   Pornravee Suramool

Today, technology is an integral part of our daily lives, impossible to live without. From the very moment we wake up until we go to bed, we are empowered by technology that is designed to help us do more and do better.

Asia is home to world’s fastest growing Internet population, and Thailand stands as one of the continent’s most dynamic territories. With one of the world’s highest mobile and social network penetration rates, the Kingdom stands on the brink of a technological transformation led by mobile and cloud innovations.

Even so, it is evident that too many of technology’s benefits have yet to reach the people who need them.

As the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Under this commitment, Microsoft Thailand has strived to turn technology into an empowering force that makes 70 million lives better.

Microsoft growing in and with Thailand

“Innovating and helping people get things done in a mobile-first, cloud-first world is core to Microsoft’s purpose in Thailand.”

One of the cornerstones of Microsoft’s operations everywhere is the dedication to growth and empowerment, not just for ourselves but also those around us. Throughout our 22 years in Thailand, we have always strived to act as a long-term partner for the country.

Today, Microsoft Thailand’s 200 employees are actively working with more than 1,800 local partners to bring this vision to life. Together, their efforts have resulted in significant contribution to local economic growth. For every $1 Microsoft earns in Thailand, partners can generate $12 or more for themselves.


From driving SMEs to new heights of competitiveness to supporting young individuals in pursuit of their dreams, Microsoft is dedicated to the task of driving Thailand to new heights.

Youth & Education: Empowering students and educators to build a better future with technology

“Helping students and educators realize their full potential and enable anytime, anywhere learning for all”

All great things begin with a sound foundation, and this is exactly where our mission begins. Through a series of connected education initiatives, Microsoft Thailand’s efforts have reached out to more than 10 million students and teachers in the Kingdom.

In 2015, Microsoft’s YouthSpark program entered its third year in Thailand with the aim of equipping 580 youths and 100 trainers nationwide with ICT skills. To accomplish this, Microsoft brought together more than 120 Thai youths aged 17 to 25 to its very first YouthSpark LIVE event in May. Organized in collaboration with the National Council for Child and Youth Development (NCYD), the event helped local youths plan their career goals and future by helping them to identifying key skills, understand relevant technologies, and be connected to programs that will help them attain their goals.


Microsoft also partnered with the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) and Thailand Research Center of Communication and Development Knowledge Management (CCDKM) for the third year of the ‘YouthSpark – Enhancing ICT for Youth SMEs in Thailand’ initiative. The initiative entailed a grant of more than 2 million baht dedicated towards implementing ICT skills training sessions them on e-commerce and e-business skills for young Thai entrepreneurs.

Since its inception in 2013, this initiative has reached over 48,000 youths and saw more than 120 business weblogs created for startup businesses.


“New ways of teaching help equip students with job and life skills of the future”

 In the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, science teacher Mr. Chao Suwanchon of Kanlayanee Si Thammarat School provided yet another proof of technology’s positive impact on classroom efficiency and productivity. Armed with PowerPoint, OneNote, and Sway, a multi-platform digital storytelling app and a fresh addition to the Office suite, students in his classes learned to develop infographics that reflect on their studies and take advantage of social media for educational purposes. This led them to develop a foundational understanding of technology along with critical thinking, presentation skills, and teamwork.

For his innovative spirit, Mr. Chao was chosen to represent Thailand as one of 300 international Innovative Teachers at the Microsoft Global Educator Exchange (E2) in Redmond, Washington, USA in April.

Mr. Chao’s story underlines the key role that technology plays in empowering educators and enhancing the learning process. However, many educators in Thailand still face challenges in this regard. To address this problem, Microsoft has established the Partners in Learning (PiL) initiative to provide teachers with a community for exchanging knowledge and best practices involving technology in education.

In addition to these initiatives, Microsoft is also equipping students with the tools they will require in their future careers. Through the Student Advantage program, participating schools and universities can supply students and staff alike with access to Office 365 – the world’s preferred productivity suite – at no extra cost.

In 2015, ten leading academic institutes in Thailand became the first group to benefit from the Student Advantage program, which provides students and faculty staff with Office 365 ProPlus, the same set of world-class productivity tools and services used by Fortune 500 companies.


“Coding is the language of the future”

To further plant the seeds of technological innovation, Microsoft organized several key activities to drive the notion that code is the universal language of the future. In March, the #WeSpeakCode campaign brought together nearly 200 Thai youths and industry professionals for a live coding event. More than 300 children and teenagers aged 6-20 visited Microsoft Thailand in December to take part in the annual “Hour of Code” activity – featuring coding tutorials inspired by Minecraft, the revolutionary creative video game developed by Mojang AB, with puzzles and free-play sessions designed to introduce various coding concepts.

Innovation: Advancing Thailand with technology

“Delivering products and platforms that turn bright ideas into impactful innovations”

Microsoft believes that youth is the driving force behind innovation and progress. The Imagine Cup competition brings this belief to life in the form of the world’s premier student technology competition, providing aspiring young technologists worldwide with opportunities to pitch their innovative ideas to industry professionals and acquire essential technical and entrepreneurial skills that will turn their vision to reality.

Seeking to build upon Thailand’s exceptional record of three global victories, Microsoft Thailand introduced the Dare to Imagine for Thailand (#daretoimagineTH) initiative as part of the 2015 competition to seek out creative ideas for software application development. Over 40 app concepts were submitted from across the country through popular social media platforms.


Microsoft also continued to drive Thailand’s digital development, in partnership with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) under the Ministry of Science and Technology, by establishing the Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) at the NSTDA’s central Bangkok facility.

One of 113 MICs in 37 countries globally, the Microsoft Innovation Center @NSTDA provides world-class resources and support for IT students, entrepreneurs and startups through practical training courses, employment and internship programs as well as mentoring experiences. To date, more than 50 Thai startups have been founded through the MIC, while many young developers have found employment opportunities across the Center’s network.

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Furthermore, Thai startups looking to harness the power of the cloud can take advantage of the Microsoft BizSpark initiative. In 2015, Microsoft Thailand expanded its BizSpark Plus program to provide qualified startups with $120,000 worth of free Azure cloud capacity along with development tools and technical support.

Trust & Security: Better protection for a more connected world



“Delivering the most trustworthy cloud services that help customers feel confident in their computing experience”

Microsoft firmly believes that delivering on the trust customers expect is paramount to the nations, businesses and individuals in an age where computing devices and services is at the front and center of our lives. After all, people won’t use technology they don’t trust. And in the cloud era today, trust is now more important than ever.

The prevalence of malicious software and recent cyberattacks has brought much attention to the online security and privacy of individuals and organizations. Recent international incidents have demonstrated the vulnerability of even the most developed nations in the world towards the rising sophistication of cyber threats, and Thailand is no exception. This was reiterated by a panel of regional and local cybersecurity experts at the Microsoft Thailand Cyber Trust Experience, held in conjunction with the Cyber Defense Initiative Conference 2015 taking place at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre in October 2015.

Microsoft is now taking a more proactive stance in Asia, including Thailand, as part of its global fight against cybercrime. With one of the largest IT footprints in the world, Microsoft has been protecting and securing its platform, products and services for several decades, but what is unique about Microsoft is its ability to play ‘offence’ against cybercriminals. Microsoft is also committed to delivering a trustworthy computing platform and invests deeply in security expertise.

Diversity & Inclusion: Equal opportunities for all

To fulfill our company mission and truly empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, we, ourselves, need to do more. Empowerment begins with inclusion.

In over 20 years of committed diversity and inclusion efforts, we’ve learned that diversity is not a finite goal; it is a journey that requires constant self-assessment and recommitment. In Thailand, Microsoft is committed to providing equal opportunities for all to gain the necessary knowledge to become successful professionals and entrepreneurs.

One of the key areas for Microsoft in Thailand is helping people with disabilities to live a better life. Through the power of technology, Prawat Thammathong, a native of Srisaket province in northeastern Thailand, was able to overcome his disability and pursue his own dreams. Having lost both his legs and his livelihood as a farmer in an accident, Prawat travelled more than 600 kilometers to enroll himself in the Redemptorist Foundation for People with Disabilities (RFPD), a nonprofit providing ICT training under Microsoft’s support.

The program taught him new IT skills to help generate additional income for his family. He also learned how to launch and manage an online store, and handle all documentation using Microsoft technologies. What’s more, Prawat is now exploring new ways to further develop himself through online learning resources.

In Bangkok, graduate students turned to Microsoft technology to develop Wheel-Go-Round, an app that provides information about accessibility and wheelchair facilities in the city, including at government agency offices and attractions.


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Another focus area for Microsoft Thailand was fighting against human trafficking. In June 2015, Microsoft and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced the launch of 6Degree.org, the first crowdfunding portal that enables the public to directly support the voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of individual human trafficking victims.


Backed by the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform, 6Degree was developed by IOM’s human trafficking awareness campaign, IOM X, which is carried out with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and working in collaboration with independent software vendor AvePoint.


Lastly, Microsoft believes in equal career opportunities for everyone, regardless their gender or race.

According to a survey conducted in 2014, women account for just 29.1% of the IT industry workforce – a statistic that may potentially hint at the industry’s lack of perspective and understanding in consumers as well as technology products’ inability to fully satisfy customer needs.

In September, Microsoft organized the TechFemme Thailand 2015 event to encourage and inspire greater female participation in information technology (IT). The event itself provided a platform for women to share experiences and perspectives on IT careers in Thailand with female students who aspire career opportunities in IT. The event also facilitated the formation of female student networks centered on a shared interest in IT careers and promoted long-term gender diversity in the industry.

TechFemme Thailand 2015 marked the initiative’s debut in Thailand and was organized alongside parallel events in five ASEAN nations – namely Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

People & Culture: Learning with the world

Microsoft has brought together a diverse set of people with unique experiences, skills and passions, bound together by a common passion for technology and a belief in its tremendous impact on the world. Our work culture recognizes and respects people with diverse perspectives and skillsets.

Building great products requires us to understand the needs and perspectives of our customers and partners. At Microsoft, we have a range of programs that enable our employees to connect with actual and potential users of our products – from IT professionals all the way to students and local community ventures – to gain newfound insight and contribute to society through technology.

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“Working at Microsoft has allowed me to participate in many volunteer activities. I remember my first time joining fellow employee volunteers to paint a library in 2005. I was inspired by that experience. By working together, we were able to provide young children with a more conducive place for reading and learning”

Sumol Anantathanasarn (right), SMB Lead at Microsoft Thailand.

In Thailand, Microsoft employees can serve as volunteers at various activities two days per year. One such activity involves a Village Development Partnership that supports the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation in various projects aimed at helping rural villagers build up their business capabilities.

Under this Partnership, Microsoft volunteers worked with farmers in Buriram province last year to develop online advertising materials for their dried banana products.  Microsoft employees helped the farmers create their own email and social media accounts to market their products to a broader customer base.  After this initiative, product sales increased by 10 percent.

Later in 2015, Microsoft volunteers utilized technology to help underprivileged students fulfil their potential by participating in an online English classroom programme conducted at the non-profit Mechai Bamboo School. The volunteers used Microsoft applications like Skype to demonstrate how students can learn English easily through technology.

Microsoft has the unique ability to harmonize the world’s devices, apps, documents, data and social networks in digital work and life experiences so that people are at the center and are empowered to do more and achieve more. That’s why our three main ambitions are to reinvent productivity and business processes, create more personal computing, and build the intelligent cloud.

Microsoft will continue working towards providing Thailand and the rest of the world with solutions to drive growth and inspire change. We envision a future that is competitive, innovative, and inclusive, and we are committed to work alongside Thailand to make this vision a reality.