Microsoft's Middle East data centres in Abu Dhabi, Dubai now online

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Microsofts Middle East data centres in Abu Dhabi, Dubai now online
Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, addressing an event launching Microsoft's cloud data centres in the UAE in Dubai on Wednesday.

Dubai - Cloud, digital transformation seen to generate half-a-million jobs across Middle East

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Wed 19 Jun 2019, 2:55 PM

Last updated: Wed 19 Jun 2019, 6:17 PM

Microsoft on Wednesday officially announced the online operations of its much-anticipated cloud data centres in the UAE, as it pushes further in its quest to make digital transformation more available to businesses. 
Dubbed 'cloud regions', the centres are the first for the US tech giant in the Middle East and are pegged to support organisations' adoption of the tech-rich Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, graced the event and gave a keynote.
"We call this tech intensity," Sayed Hashish, regional general manager of Microsoft Gulf, said in his speech at the event.
In an interview with Khaleej Times prior to Wednesday's launch, Hashish stressed that the new cloud regions will provide entities access to the cloud, which is scaleable, always available and resilient, while maintaining data residency, security and compliance needs - some of the most critical issues in the world of tech today.
"We are committed to empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more," he said.
"Customers in the Middle East can move with confidence. they will be more competitive as they start their digital transformation journeys - engaging customers, empowering employees, optimising operations and reinventing products and services."
Microsoft - which has been serving the UAE for over 25 years now - has some of the biggest names in the industry as its clients, including, among several others, government entities Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Dubai Airports, aviation giants Emirates and Etihad Airways, telecom pioneer etisalat, and sector heavyweights such as Emaar Properties, Majid Al Futtaim and Mashreq.
Redmond, Washington-headquartered Microsoft says its aim is to transform one million businesses in the Gulf region within the next three years.
"To help meet the compliance needs of our customers, we have engaged very closely with local authorities to ensure that our cloud services are compliant with relevant local standards and certifications, as well as the global and industry standards with which our services already comply," Hashish said.
And not only is this new milestone all about digital transformation: It's also about creating jobs. Hashish stressed that the number of jobs that would be created the UAE by cloud services and the Microsoft ecosystem has the potential to hit 55,000 by 2022. And every Dh1 of Microsoft revenue will generate Dh10.16 in downstream revenue. 
"The cloud will play a pivotal role in accelerating digital transformation and job creation is definitely a part of it," Hashish pointed out.
Citing International Data Corporation forecasts, he added that the cloud and the Microsoft ecosystem is set to bring more than half-a-million jobs to the region, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE, between 2017-22. The World Bank, meanwhile, has reported that for every job created in technology more than four jobs are created across all occupation and income groups.
"Hence," Hashish added, "the impact is broad across all sectors in terms of job creation."
Upskilling - or, in simplest terms, training employees to adapt newer, more advanced abilities - is also a key issue. While seemingly daunting, nothing is impossible especially when the the right tools are there.
"The growing skill gap is indeed a concern for Middle East governments and organisations," Hashish said. "IT professionals will further benefit from the increased availability and performance of cloud services delivered from the UAE to help realise the business benefits of cloud, and upskill in migrating and managing their cloud infrastructure."
- alvin@khaleejtimes.com

Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, addressing an event launching Microsoft's cloud data centres in the UAE in Dubai on Wednesday.
Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, addressing an event launching Microsoft's cloud data centres in the UAE in Dubai on Wednesday.
Sayed Hashish, regional general manager of Microsoft Gulf, addressing an event launching Microsoft's cloud data centres in the UAE in Dubai on Wednesday.
Sayed Hashish, regional general manager of Microsoft Gulf, addressing an event launching Microsoft's cloud data centres in the UAE in Dubai on Wednesday.


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