Sayed Hashish, General Manager, Microsoft UAE Image Credit: Supplied

This month, Microsoft celebrates two years of operations for its Dubai and Abu Dhabi datacentres, that were a major force in driving economic continuity during the crisis.

“The launch of our UAE cloud regions was a major milestone in our commitment to deliver the trusted Microsoft Cloud to organisations and accelerate their digital transformation agendas,” said Sayed Hashish, General Manager, Microsoft UAE. “Last year, these datacenters enabled us to become first responders in the digital world: for driving business continuity, while empowering organizations to adapt and survive – and now, to thrive and reimagine industries.”

Microsoft’s data centre investments have also accelerated adoption of technologies such as AI and IoT while creating a lasting economic impact. IDC forecasts that the Microsoft Cloud ecosystem will generate new revenues of US$27 billion in the UAE by 2024 while adding 69,000 new jobs to the UAE economy.

Hashish says that these cloud regions have been key to the compliance capabilities of customers in heavily regulated industries such as government, financial services, and healthcare.

“Our datacenters adhere to Microsoft’s principles of security, privacy, compliance, and transparency,” He noted. “Microsoft is the first cloud provider in the UAE to achieve Dubai Electronic Security Centre certification. We have also been working with Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and others to ensure our services are compliant with local certifications and global standards such as ISO 27001/27018, SSAE 18 SOC, and GDPR.”

Organisations such as Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, Dubai Tourism, Mashreq Bank, and CBD are already benefiting from the regulatory compliance of Microsoft’s cloud services. Also in 2020, industries like retail used the cloud to meet the growing needs of customers on digital channels and reimagine their experiences.

“Al Futtaim Group built an intelligent customer platform powered by Microsoft Azure that unites data from multiple touch points to deepen knowledge and decision-making through advanced analytics,” said Hashish.

During the pandemic, the UAE’s education sector was also a great example of swift digital transformation to many. Hashish sheds light on cases such as the Ministry of Education that moved more than 600,000 students to platforms like Microsoft Teams in just a week, as well as Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO) to ensure that no remote learners were left behind.

Microsoft’s UAE data centres have also become home to several SMEs and start-ups. “Our cloud regions are enabling budding entrepreneurs to develop, scale and build their businesses with innovative technology, which will form the bedrock of economic innovation and expansion in the years to come.” Said Hashish.