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The first Microsoft cloud data center region in Austria, for Austria: Commitment to promoting innovation and growth

Investments in a new Center of Digital Excellence and in qualification measures for up to 120,000 Austrians by 2024 were also announced.

Vienna (OTS) - Microsoft today announced an extensive commitment to promoting innovation and growth in Austria - above all the planned establishment of the country's first data center region. The new region will offer start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), companies and the public sector in Austria the performance of globally highly available, reliable and trustworthy Microsoft cloud solutions. The company also announced a new Center of Digital Excellence. The goal: the modernization of the IT infrastructure and the public government services as well as the promotion of industrial innovations in Austria. Microsoft will continue to invest in new qualification measures to promote the digital skills of around 120,000 Austrians by 2024. According to a study by IDC *, Microsoft's investment in a new cloud region in Austria will lead to additional macroeconomic added value of up to 2.1 billion US dollars over the next four years. These numbers relate primarily to the ecosystem operated by Microsoft with more than 4,000 local partners and its cloud-using customers.

During today's press conference in the congress hall of the Federal Chancellery, Microsoft President Brad Smith announced this milestone together with Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister for Digitization and Economics, and Dorothee Ritz, General Manager of Microsoft Austria.

"Microsoft's decision to make Austria a cloud region is a great opportunity for the Austrian economy and represents a decisive competitive advantage. Austria should become a European pioneer in the field of digitization, which also requires the expansion of the digital infrastructure. I would like to thank Microsoft for its commitment to our country, especially for the domestic companies and their employees, who will benefit from it"so Sebastian Kurz, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria.

Today marks an important milestone for Microsoft in Austria ", said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. "This announcement means much more than just building data centers. It is an opportunity to bring to Austria the technology that people, companies and government agencies need to rethink and re-design their operations, to fuel and grow their businesses acquire new digital skills. "

"Trust is the core of successful digitization and the relevant cornerstone of all our partnerships. By enabling our customers and partners to build their cloud infrastructure around an Austrian data center region, we underpin our commitment to Austria as a successful business location"said Dorothee Ritz, General Manager, Microsoft Austria.

Microsoft cloud in Austria, for Austria

Today's announcement paves the way for companies, start-ups and institutions in Austria to exploit the full potential of cloud computing. At the same time, the highest standards for cybersecurity, data storage and compliance are adhered to. The Austrian data center region will join Microsoft's global cloud, which now comprises a total of 64 announced regions. As a result, Microsoft Azure is available in over 140 countries and will offer companies on-site access to the entire range of Microsoft cloud services:

  • Microsoft Azure: A constantly growing range of cloud services that offer computing, network, database, analysis, AI and IoT services.
  • Microsoft 365: The global productivity cloud that offers first-class productivity applications that are integrated via cloud services and provided as part of an open platform for business processes.
  • Dynamics 365 and Power Platform: The next generation of intelligent business applications that enable companies to grow, evolve and transform to meet customer demands and seize new opportunities.

Security must be guaranteed at every level of the cloud. To live up to this principle, Microsoft offers more than 90 certifications and spends $ 1 billion on cybersecurity every year. Furthermore, Microsoft's Austrian data center region supports companies in complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union and also helps customers with the storage of data in Austria. In addition, the company will switch to a 100 percent supply of its data centers with renewable energy by 2025, thus fulfilling its global obligation to be CO2-negative by 2030.

Hundreds of corporate customers and partners in Austria are already driving their business transformation with Microsoft's global cloud services - including Austrian Airlines, AVL Racing, Constantia Flexibles Group, Porsche Holding, Raiffeisen Bank International, RHI Magnesita and many more. Customers such as Erste Group and BAWAG Group have already announced their intention to use Microsoft cloud services from the Austria region as soon as they are available. With Microsoft Azure as the preferred cloud platform, digital innovation is to be promoted and operational efficiency increased.

"The development of cloud functions is an important part of IT innovation in Erste Group. It offers us more flexible and faster processes to improve our customer care and banking services. Given the sensitivity of our business, data storage under the highest security and compliance standards is our top priority"said David O'Mahony, COO Erste Group. "We work with Microsoft in several strategic areas to use their cloud services Azure and O365. With the establishment of a Microsoft data center region in Austria, Erste Group will deepen its relationship with Microsoft as a key partner in order to further expand our cloud competencies as part of the digital transformation of the group.“

"Microsoft is a strategic cloud partner for the BAWAG Group. The provision of cloud workloads in Austria will further improve our competence to transform legacy applications in such a way that they fully support transparent, highly optimized and secure modern banking solutions"said Nikita Tschursin, Chief Technology Officer of the BAWAG Group. "With Microsoft Azure, the BAWAG Group is able to integrate innovative technologies into the existing infrastructure and thus better serve the financial markets in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Accelerating the digital transformation of the economy and qualifying the workforce of tomorrow

In cooperation with Microsoft, the Federal Ministry for Digitization and Business Location (BMDW) will set up a Center of Digital Excellence. The common goal: the modernization of the Austrian IT infrastructure and the public service. Strengthening the IT skills of employees to promote digital transformation is also a central element of this new initiative.

An essential part of the Center of Digital Excellence is a cybersecurity association of the technical and scientific universities in Austria. The network is founded by the Federal Ministry for Digitization and Business Location and Microsoft. The Chamber of Commerce, industry representatives and data protection organizations also make a significant contribution here. The task of the network is to define national IT security requirements that modern cloud and hybrid architecture concepts must meet. In addition, the government will set up a two-year training program for IT staff in the public sector and relevant departments of the federal and state governments. The aim of this program is to further strengthen skills in modern IT technologies.

In addition, Microsoft is starting its largest qualification program to date for the Austrian market. Together with educational partners and the Austrian Employment Service (AMS), Microsoft plans to train up to 120,000 people in Austria by the end of 2024. The local qualification plan also includes the further expansion of the “Austrian Skills Campus”. The program was launched by Microsoft Austria in 2019 and offers university graduates and young professionals specific courses to help them enter the job market more quickly.

A new data center region, a Center of Digital Excellence and extensive qualification measures: today's announcements underline the holistic approach to accelerating the digital transformation in Austria.

Further images from the press conference in the Federal Chancellery with Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Digitization Minister Margarete Schramböck, Microsoft President Brad Smith and Dorothee Ritz, General Manager of Microsoft Austria can be found here: fotoservice.bundeskanzleramt.at

* Source: IDC Info Snapshot, sponsored by Microsoft, “The Microsoft Cloud Dividend Snapshot: Austria,” Doc. # US46914020, October 2020

Inquiries & contact:

Microsoft Austria GmbH
Thomas Lutz, MBA
Company spokesman
+43 664 1927 155
[email protected]