Accelerating the Partner-led Digital Transformation of Australian Government with new Microsoft Azure Regions

Last month at Microsoft Inspire, we saw examples of the power of our partner ecosystem in driving the digital transformation of healthcare, government and education. In Australia, thousands of Microsoft partners develop technology solutions for the public sector, they support the operations of government, they employ tens of thousands of staff and they contribute to the quality and prosperity of our country. With their help, Australian federal, state and local governments are accelerating their pace of innovation, increasingly within the cloud. Security, privacy and transparency remain of fundamental importance, but the Microsoft trusted cloud platform is providing the foundation on which are partners are leading in digital transformation.

Today, I’m delighted to share some important news about how Microsoft is investing even more deeply in delivering the trusted cloud platform to government through a strategic partnership forged with Canberra Data Centres. In the first half of 2018, we will be expanding Microsoft Azure to two new regions in Canberra, specifically to serve the needs of Australian Government, complementing our existing locally hosted Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 services.

These two new Microsoft Azure hyperscale regions will be appropriate for the handling of both Unclassified and Protected government data within Australian-owned data centres. Existing and future agencies of government that leverage the secure Intra-Government Communications Network (ICON) will be able to directly access Microsoft Azure.

We like to think of data having gravity, and by bringing the hyperscale benefits of Microsoft Azure close to the home of most Australian government data, we hope our partners will be able to innovate in serving the needs of government customers with machine learning, big data, cybersecurity, internet-of-things and business applications. Customers can have the highest confidence in the security and privacy protections of Microsoft Azure and our partner Canberra Data Centres, enabling the innovation possibilities of our open ecosystem.

Keiran Mott, CEO of Veritec described the impact of the news for his 120-strong Canberra based organisation: “We’ve built our business on applying Microsoft cloud solutions to the needs of Australian government customers. There’s a tremendous desire all across government to get on with delivering real innovation and taking advantage of all the cloud has to offer. Perception of security has in the past been a blocker. With this news, it’s not any more.”

Intelledox is a Canberra based global success story, having created an innovative and proven workflow and automation solution that is used across Australian government, and increasingly around the world. Michelle Melbourne, CEO of Intelledox commented: “We’ve been a Microsoft partner for over two decades and we have proven the value of innovating on a trusted cloud like Microsoft Azure. We can confidently deliver our Infiniti solution to enable the transformation of digitally focused government agencies as well as insurance, banking, financial services, education and healthcare companies globally. This investment by Microsoft in Canberra opens new possibilities, but even more importantly it highlights their commitment to supporting the ecosystem we are building with government and enterprise to evolve and grow. And that’s going to make a big difference to all Australians.”

And as founder of a Canberra based start-up, Kailash Krishnamurthi of Gravity Consulting, creator of the innovative StrategyDotZero solution for executive business management and visualisation remarked: “This is hugely important for us. We’re helping government agencies across Australia to manage some of the largest, most complex programs of work with tools that cut through the clutter. And we’re building that all on Azure, applying artificial intelligence and data visualisation to enable better executive decision making. Our customers demand the highest levels of security and this announcement really helps us to confidently deliver to their needs”.

Earlier this year we announced that the Australian Signals Directorate had certified 40 core Azure services to process and store Unclassified information featuring Australian government Dissemination Limiting Markers (DLM). A further 10 Office 365 services have also been certified, and we expect the certification of Microsoft services and solutions to grow in scope and depth. Partners can already use all of those services today to develop and innovate for public sector clients with the peace-of-mind that certification delivers.

In July, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Azure Stack, which enables for the first time a consistent hybrid architecture for customers. For applications needing even higher levels of protection, or applications that may need to be local or disconnected, partners can leverage the Azure Stack to create rich hybrid cloud solutions for every conceivable situation.

And so this announcement represents just another step in Microsoft’s journey to deliver the most complete and most trusted cloud, one that enables an open ecosystem for the partner-led digital transformation of Australia.

I encourage you to read more on this announcement here