How Microsoft’s first datacentre region in Poland can offer new opportunities for the digital economy

“Microsoft’s investment in Poland will accelerate our country’s transformation into a technology hub for the Central and Eastern European region,” says Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Microsoft on April 26 announced the opening of its newest trusted cloud region, the first in Central and Eastern Europe, located in Poland.

Microsoft’s Polish cloud region consists of three independent physical locations around Warsaw, each consisting of one or more datacentres. Offering the highest standards of security, privacy and regulatory-compliant data storage in the country, the launch is a continuation of the company’s more than 30-year engagement with Poland and a commitment to continue to support the country’s technological development of society, business and the economy.

“Microsoft’s investment in Poland will accelerate our country’s transformation into a technology hub for the Central and Eastern European region,” says Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

“Thanks to the development of the Polish Digital Valley, hundreds of engineers and developers will be able to play a key role in the global economy without leaving the country. This is responsible development,” Morawiecki adds, suggesting that in times of economic and geopolitical uncertainty, it is also very important to maintain the highest standards of data storage security.

“Building resilience in this regard is crucial for the Polish economy and society,” says Morawiecki.

Digitisation: Transforming Poland’s organisations

The opening of the Polish cloud region comes as a response to growing demand for high-performance computing (HPC) and fast and reliable access to Microsoft Cloud services.

The cloud is a crucial contributor to accelerating the digitisation and developing digital competence of Polish businesses and the overall economy, as well as strengthening their resilience in times of economic and geopolitical uncertainty.

“The essentials to a successful transformation are trust, security and innovation, which are the foundations for the successful development of the economy. I am glad that Microsoft has been investing in Poland’s development for several decades,” says Mark Brzezinski, US Ambassador to Poland.

According to the 2023 PwC CEO survey, 54 per cent of CEOs in Poland believe that their companies will not be profitable within 10 years if they do not transform. Investing in automation, upskilling, cloud, AI and other advanced digital technologies are key priorities for this year.

The Microsoft Cloud can support these digital transformations with access to technologies, such as Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform services, available in the Polish cloud region.

“Connecting Poland to the largest trusted global cloud infrastructure is significant support for the resilience of the country, society and organisations, and the development of the Polish Digital Valley,” says Ralph Haupter, President, EMEA, Microsoft.

“One of the main elements of strengthening this resilience is raising digital competence in the country. Microsoft has skilled more than 430,000 IT professionals, business representatives, partners and students since this investment was announced in 2020. Everyone will need digital skills to pursue in-demand roles and build livelihoods in the changing economy so it’s an area where we can help more people get better jobs.”

Security: A cloud shield for Poland

Digital security is a key area for building the resilience of Poland and its local organisations. The opening of the local cloud computing region integrates Poland into Microsoft’s global cloud ecosystem with the highest security standards.

“Poland is a pioneer in the Central and Eastern European region when it comes to the level of digitisation of public services,” says Magdalena Rzeczkowska, Poland’s finance minister. “The finance sector is no exception with services, such as e-PIT or e-Tax, showing that the Polish public administration can effectively build digital solutions that gain widespread popularity and user sympathy in a short period of time.

“At the same time, making such services available requires ensuring the highest standards when it comes to the security of processed data, which in the current geopolitical situation is gaining additional importance.”

Service availability and resilience is guaranteed by three Azure availability zones in Poland. These zones are unique physical locations, each consisting of one or more datacentres equipped with independent power, cooling and networks.

Microsoft’s cloud region in Poland will enable companies to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and store their most valuable digital assets in Poland, ensuring compliance with data storage and processing regulations.

Innovation: Cloud-powered to adapt and advance

The Microsoft Cloud is designed to help customers bring new solutions to life – meeting today’s challenges and preparing for the future. Digitisation is a key enabler of societal and economic progress, yet only one in 10 Polish businesses are satisfied with their digital maturity.

Microsoft’s Digital Futures Index (DFI) indicates that the more digitally advanced a country is, the more economic progress and societal benefits it experiences. In other words, it is greener, wealthier, more innovative and competitive.

Technological innovation is a critical success factor, especially for companies operating in rapidly changing market environments, such as retail, banking or streaming platforms. It requires maximum operational speed and reducing overload and latency to an absolute minimum. Microsoft says that its Azure Poland Central cloud region will provide significant competitive advantage in this area. Customers will receive tools and capabilities for better business scalability and global expansion, which will allow them to grow and compete in the global market.

According to IDC Research, over the next four years the new datacentre region will help eliminate some of the barriers to cloud adoption within the region and account for approximately 16.5 per cent of the new revenue total (45.7 billion US dollars) through 2026.

A number of Poland’s most innovative organisations, such as Żabka Group, the Ministry of Finance, mBank, Tauron Group and Polpharma, are already using the Microsoft Cloud.

“Building business resilience based on trusted technologies and innovative solutions provides tangible benefits and advantages, so critical in uncertain, unpredictable times,” says Tomasz Blicharski, vice president of the management board of the Żabka Group and managing director of Żabka Future.

“Digital transformation, which we are pursuing in partnership with Microsoft, among others, is one of the pillars of the Żabka Group’s strategy. For years, we have been investing in the development of cutting-edge digital tools, and more than 15 per cent of the people employed in our organisation are involved in projects in the area of innovation.”

This article is part of Digital Future of CEE, a regional discussion series, powered by Emerging Europe, Microsoft and PwC.

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