The plan foresees in the next five years an important commitment of Microsoft in offering Cloud services, in the creation of digital training and reskilling programs, in the promotion of local partnerships for the innovation of Italian companies and in a new Alliance for sustainability.
Milan, May 8, 2020 – Microsoft Corp. today presented a five-year investment plan for Italy worth $1.5 billion, confirming its commitment to support the country’s innovation and growth, and announcing its intention to launch the first Microsoft Data Center Region in Italy, in Milan. Capitalizing and extending the “Ambizione Italia” ecosystem project launched in 2018, the new “Ambizione Italia #DigitalRestart” investment plan will create new opportunities to grow people and organizations and support economic development. Microsoft will allow companies to access local Cloud services, thanks also to the renewed partnership with Poste Italiane, will offer digital training programs and smart working support, will help companies in the restart phase by offering them access to “AI Hub” laboratories and programs specifically designed for SMEs. It will also support the country by launching a Sustainability Alliance to create an ecosystem of open innovation on green issues.
Today’s announcement confirms Microsoft’s commitment in Italy, with more than 35 years of history in the country and a network of over 10,000 partners and 350,000 professionals. The plan marks an important step towards the deployment of enterprise-level cloud services on a global scale, for a total of 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 help professionals innovate and grow their business, explore new business opportunities and address some of the country’s biggest challenges, while offering the highest guarantees of security and compliance. Focusing on Cloud Computing, AI and digital training programs is a great opportunity to accelerate innovation in the national ecosystem. Our mission is to help Italian people and organizations realize their potential,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president and president, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations.
“Italy once again proves to be an attractive location for investment, innovation and development. The announcement of Microsoft’s Digital Restart project, with an investment of 1.4 billion euros for the creation of an important data center in Italy, is a further boost to the digital transformation of our country. Microsoft’s project takes up the challenges of digital innovation and “green” development, priority objectives of our action to relaunch the country’s economy. In recent weeks, businesses and public administrations have made massive use of smart-working, also managing to accelerate its diffusion. Microsoft’s plan, with cloud services and digital programs for smart-working dedicated to small and medium enterprises, will certainly help Italy to move even faster in this direction. Of absolute importance is also the new Sustainability Alliance that Microsoft intends to sign on the territory. It will help to support the national Green New Deal, encouraging the development of a sustainable innovation ecosystem,” commented Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister.
“We must direct the country towards digital and technological transformation through three challenges, which concern digitization, innovation and ethical and sustainable development,” said Paola Pisano, Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitization. “The technologies linked to Artificial Intelligence are a real revolution that we have at our fingertips and on which, as a country, not only do we not have to stay behind, but we have the duty to invest and play a leading role. It means designing, developing and testing Artificial Intelligence solutions, applying them to administrative procedures and production processes, in order to assess their impact and spin-offs”.
The strategic partnership with Poste Italiane and the new Data Center Region in Italy
To further support the adoption of Cloud technologies, Poste Italiane and Microsoft renew their partnership to promote innovation among developers, startups, large companies and public administration. The two companies will launch a joint plan to develop a new set of cloud services to meet the emerging digital needs of Italian companies and the public sector, including a digital skilling project for Poste Italiane employees and a joint initiative for training in the country. By leveraging Microsoft technologies, Poste Italiane will also accelerate the digital transformation process to support its sustainable growth.
“With this new agreement we intend to play a very important role in the digital transformation of Italy and the future development of the country. The renewed collaboration with Microsoft is part of our Deliver 2022 strategic plan. By leveraging advanced cloud services we can help public and private organizations to innovate, creating new opportunities for the country’s growth,” commented Matteo Del Fante, CEO of Poste Italiane.
The new Milan Data Center Region will allow companies of all sizes and sectors to access local enterprise level cloud services with the highest security guarantees. Microsoft Azure, a continuously expanding set of cloud services offering computing, networking, database, analysis, AI and Internet of Things (IoT) tools. Microsoft 365, the Cloud ecosystem for productivity that offers innovative, highly integrated features provided as part of an open business process platform. Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable organizations to grow, evolve and transform to meet customer needs.
Hundreds of customers and partners in Italy are already using Microsoft Cloud services to support their digital transformation. According to a research conducted by Politecnico di Milano School of Management in collaboration with Microsoft Italy, the creation of a Data Center Region of this size in Italy can generate more than 10,000 job opportunities and about $9 billion of direct and indirect induced activities by the end of 2024, considering the construction of the data center and the benefits for businesses and the technological ecosystem further enabled by the Data Center Region.
Microsoft has over 90 certifications and invests $1 billion annually in cybersecurity to protect Cloud services at every level. The new Italian Data Center Region will further help companies comply with the European Union’s general data protection regulation (GDPR) and will allow companies to have their data reside in Italy.
“At this time of strong change, it is more important than ever to foster virtuous public-private collaboration and join forces between companies to foster competitiveness. This plan aims to create a growth platform for millions of Italians. The new Data Center Region will provide intelligent and secure services and we will continue to work with our customers to rethink their business models by creating more competitive and innovative companies,” said Silvia Candiani, CEO of Microsoft Italia.
Training programs to improve job opportunities
“Ambizione Italia #DigitalRestart” also foresees an important focus on the training of about 1.5 million people among students, professionals and unemployed people over the next three years. This plan capitalizes on Microsoft Italia’s commitment over the past year to train more than half a million people in digital skills. The training programs will leverage Microsoft Learn and the LinkedIn platform to develop the digital skills required by the labour market.
In addition, Microsoft is committed to expand training activities on digital skills and artificial intelligence for schools of all levels, in collaboration with Fondazione Mondo Digitale, and will continue to offer training initiatives and specific certification activities through the Partner Academy Program, thanks to the support of the Microsoft Partner ecosystem.
Supporting companies with Artificial Intelligence and smart working solutions
To support the growth of Italian companies, Microsoft will create an Advisory Board for Ambizione Italia #DigitalRestart, together with the CEOs of leading companies in the market. The board will work to identify national priorities, share best practices and vertical expertise, and contribute to the development of new training activities. In addition, with the aim of promoting the productivity and innovation of SMEs, Microsoft and selected partners – including Borsa Italiana, Cariplo Factory, Confindustria, EY, OGR Tech, Politecnico di Milano, Poste Italiane, Sace, UniCredit and Vodafone Italia – will create an Alliance for Smartworking with programs and digital solutions dedicated to all Italian companies for a new culture of flexible and innovative work. In particular, specific initiatives aimed at small and medium enterprises will be launched to reach about 500,000 SMEs and startups in Italy with Cloud services over the next three years, also thanks to the network of Microsoft Partners.
Microsoft also announced today the new creation of “AI Hub”, experiential centers to help companies use artificial intelligence. The aim is to promote digital transformation in five key sectors – Made in Italy (retail, fashion and design), manufacturing, financial services, healthcare and infrastructure – with dedicated resources from Microsoft, its partners and a wider network of researchers such as top universities, Innovation Centers and startups.
The Alliance for Sustainability for Green Growth
Microsoft and local players will soon launch a Sustainability Alliance, with the aim of offering technologies to help public and private organizations to create new solutions to support Italian sustainability. This initiative will contribute to the national New Green Deal, creating an ecosystem of open innovation to meet the most urgent climate and environmental challenges, guiding Italy towards a sustainable future.
Microsoft is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of its products and operations by investing in new technologies and working with partners around the world to develop innovative models to support the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future. This commitment is part of Microsoft’s goal to become carbon negative by 2030 and to remove from the environment by 2050 all carbon emitted by the company directly or through its own power consumption since its founding in 1975.
Microsoft customers and partners
Hundreds of Italian companies have already chosen Microsoft cloud solutions for their digital transformation projects, such as: Amplifon, Banca Mediolanum, Banca Sella, Barilla, Bonfiglioli, BPM, Bulgari, Cedacri, CNH Industrial, Comune di Milano, Conad, Coop, Corte dei Conti, CREA Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria, CRUI, Dolce & Gabbana, Eni, Enel, ERG, Fincantieri, Generali, Gruppo Camozzi, Illimity, INAIL, INPS, Invitalia, Italgas, Lavazza, Luxottica, Maire Tecnimont, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Justice, MIP Politecnico di Milano, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, pagoPa, Reale Mutua, Saipem, Salvagnini, Snam, Sogei Piattaforma digitale e Polo Strategico Nazionale del Sistema Italia, Sorgenia, Teamsystem, Università degli Studi di Milano – Bicocca, Università degli Studi di Roma – Tor Vergata, Vetrya.
Hundreds of partners have already chosen Microsoft cloud solutions to help companies in Italy, including: Accenture, Altea Federation, BT, Capgemini, Cluster Reply, Computer Gross, DXC, Engineering, EOS Solutions, Esprinet, EY, Fastweb, Ingram Micro, Insight, Hevolus, Jakala, NTT Data, SoftwareOne, Tech Data, Techedge, ToolsGroup, Var Group and Vodafone.
More information and materials about the new Ambizione Italia #DigitalRestart plan and the renewed partnership between Microsoft and Poste Italiane are available in the virtual press kit.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is a world leader in Internet software, services and technologies for managing information for people and businesses. It offers a full range of products and services to enable everyone to improve the results of their business – at any time, in any place and with any device. All information about Microsoft is available at https://www.microsoft.com/it-it/.