For the past few years, public and private enterprises in the Middle East had been waiting for the delivery of regional cloud services by global providers.

Many were stuck in neutral in their digital transformation journeys. They were eager to explore the promise of customer engagement, employee empowerment, operational optimisation and the ability to reinvent products and services, but unable to do so because of issues of scalability and compliance, especially when it came to data privacy and residency requirements.

It was because of these issues that there was a dire need for technology to continue to play a role in supporting economic development and job creation throughout the region. Microsoft launched two new data centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to deliver the complete Microsoft Cloud to governments, organisations and start-ups across the region and accelerate their digital transformation agendas.

Here are a few ways we believe these facilities will be of huge benefit to individuals and organisations and help them achieve more.

Job creation

IDC research has revealed that cloud computing could together generate more than 520,000 jobs across the Middle East and Africa between 2017 and 2022. And last year, the World Bank reported that for each job created in the technology sector, around 4.3 others are created across industries and income groups.

But our role as a job creator in the region long predates the data centres’ launch. In 2018 alone, regionally, the company employed more than 6,500 young people, generated 1,000 internships, was pivotal in the creation of 30,000 job opportunities, and supported more than 730 entrepreneurs as they sought to bring much-needed innovation to their economies.

Every dollar spent

Microsoft’s ecosystem helps to generate more than $9 for every $1 that Microsoft earns. And the downstream-revenue creation is key to widespread economic growth. The partner ecosystem spawned 660,000 jobs in 2017 and Microsoft enabled 50 million young people to create 20 million job opportunities over 10 years across the region.

Microsoft is the first cloud-service provider in the UAE to achieve Dubai Electronic Security Centre certification for its services, allowing us to partner with Dubai government and other public entities on their ambitions for a smart society.

The intelligent cloud connects private and public enterprises to a wealth of artificial intelligence tools that can play prime roles in the creation of “smart” services. The Abu Dhabi Smart Solutions and Services Authority (ADSSSA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft to establish a Cloud Centre of Excellence, to build capacity for the delivery of such services.

We are great believers in lifelong learning. And with an extensive pool of engineers, data scientists and experts on hand to help Middle East customers with their migration to the intelligent cloud, the UAE data centres will also contribute to bridge skills gaps within the IT community in the region.

Sayed Hashish is General Manager at Microsoft UAE.