- Microsoft announced a $1 billion digital transformation plan for Poland.
- The 7-year plan implies the opening of the first data center in Central and Eastern Europe on the Vistula.
On May 5, 2020, some high-level guests from Poland and abroad, including Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, EVP and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing & Operations Jean-Phillippe Courtois, President of PKO Bank Polski Zbigniew Jagiello, President of the Polish Development Fund (PFR) Pawel Borys attended the virtual conference to announce the strategic partnership between Microsoft and Chmura Krajowa (National Cloud).
|Chmura Krajowa was launched in 2018 by Poland’s largest bank, PKO Bank Polski, and the Polish Development Fund. It aims to speed up the digitalization of businesses and public administration.|
Jean-Phillippe Courtois from Microsoft marked that the goal is to bust the development of the Polish Digital Valley and digital transformation in Poland in general. He distinguished that Microsoft’s global-scale cloud in Poland will allow an ever-wider use, faster implementation and other benefits to public institutions and businesses along with Poland’s thriving startup community.
The partnership between Microsoft and Chmura Krajowa implies two key points:
- A global-scale cloud to provide the country’s broad ecosystem of startups, entrepreneurs, enterprises, and government access to secure, enterprise-grade cloud services.
- A talent development program that creates critical skilling and learning opportunities for an estimated 150,000 employees, partners, and students in Poland. The program includes training, workshops, and hackathons on topics related to cloud data processing, AI, machine learning, big data, and the Internet of Things.
As reported during the conference, the initiatives will support Polish public institutions and businesses in critical sectors such as government, health, education, manufacturing, retail, energy, finance, insurance, etc.
The highest standards
US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher told, ‘The data center will consist of the latest cloud technology, which will certainly meet the highest cybersecurity standards and be ready for 5G. It’s all good for business and good for Poland! Microsoft is a proven and trusted Polish partner for almost 30 years. And the company’s further involvement will definitely contribute to the development of the Polish digital market.’
An opportunity for SMEs
This is primarily an opportunity for small and medium-sized companies that still benefit from the cloud computing capabilities to a relatively small extent. ‘It is the opportunity to increase their competitiveness, to accelerate growth and development in new markets more easily. Microsoft’s investment in Poland is also a chance for significant acceleration when the Polish economy will come out of the coronavirus crisis,’ President of the Polish Development Fund Paweł Borys said.
The new data center that is being created in Poland will join the global Microsoft infrastructure. It currently includes 59 regions with access to the Azure cloud in over 140 countries. It provides local access to the Azure cloud itself, Microsoft 365 along with Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.
‘IT industry should be the locomotive of the modern economy’
The report of the Sobieski Institute shows that in recent years the Polish economy has grown on average by 4.5 percent. per year, and the IT industry only 1.5 percent. Slawomir Szmytkowski, Vice President of the Management Board of Asseco Poland told during the “How to build the Digital Valley?” debate early in February 2020, that it’s symptomatic because the IT industry should be the locomotive of the modern economy.
In the further discussion Jan Grabiec, chairman of the parliamentary Committee for Digitization, Innovation and Modern Technologies mentioned that the state is not able to create innovation. However, it can create conditions so that innovation can develop. ‘And we should move in this direction.’
It seems that now Poland is actually translating those words into action. And, the partnership can indeed become a huge step forward in the Polish digitalization transformation.
‘I deeply believe that Microsoft’s investment in Poland will be important for enterprises, public institutions and the education system and will enable them to digitally transform and implement new work standards,’ Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki pointed out.
The partnership is another strategic agreement established by Chmura Krajowa within a year and a half since its launch. In September 2019, the organization signed a strategic partnership agreement with Google, and the so-called Google Cloud region is going to be established in Poland. It’s a hub of technical infrastructure and software for Polish clients and the region of Central and Eastern Europe.
ITkeyMedia reached out to Google in Poland and asked their opinion, ‘We’re happy to see more companies join the effort of helping the Polish economy grow thanks to Cloud. We’ve already seen a great amount of interest in our services since we announced our cloud plans in Poland last year.’ The Google Communication team added, ‘Google Cloud has been present in Warsaw for many years already, including through our R&D center that employs over 300 highly-skilled engineers working on our Cloud solutions. Our announcement last year that we will be opening a Google Cloud region in Warsaw, the first datacenter region of a major public cloud provider, represents our continued commitment to Poland as a technology hub in the region.