In an effort to attract more customers to its cloud services in the UK, Microsoft has announced that its new data centres in the region are now up and running.
Last November, the company revealed its plan to build local data centres throughout the UK and now the company currently has facilities in operation in London, Durham and Cardiff. This will hopefully make it easier for Microsoft to sell its online services, such as Azure and Office 365, to businesses, the public sector and to any number of organisations working with sensitive data.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and an NHS trust will be among the first in the public sector to use the company's online services. Chief information officer at the Ministry of Defence, Mike Stone proposed that Microsoft should consider creating local facilities two years ago.
Stone was concerned with how the MoD had been relying on outdated software and explained its state in 2014, saying: “We were still on Windows XP, for instance, and all of the applications were from 2003 or prior to that.”
The upgrade to Microsft's latest online services will affect how the MoD operates on a day to day basis according to Stone who described how it will benefit productivity, saying: “We can now work on documents collaboratively and understand more about the ways we are working – we will be able to see how much time teams are spending in meetings, on email and on the phone.”
Microsoft is breaking into the UK's public sector through its other new clients as well, which include the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust that aims to improve how mental health specialists handle work outside of hospitals; Capita, which will utilise Azure to run online tools for social workers and Careflow Connect, which will allow healthcare professionals to chat with one another without their patient-related messages leaving the UK.
Microsoft UK's marketing executive Nicola Hodson offered further insight into the company's expectations regarding the use of its cloud services in the UK: “We're expecting that legal services, banking utilities and some of those more regulated sectors as well as the public sectors will now find ways to benefit from the cloud.”
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