Microsoft SA, SITA lock down Azure MOU

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Microsoft SA MD Lillian Barnard and SITA acting CEO Ntutule Tshenye participate in a panel discussion at GovTech 2019.
Microsoft SA MD Lillian Barnard and SITA acting CEO Ntutule Tshenye participate in a panel discussion at GovTech 2019.

The State IT Agency (SITA) and software giant Microsoft SA have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which aims to bolster public cloud adoption within government.

The organisations made the announcement on the sidelines of the 13 annual government technology conference, GovTech 2019, which is taking place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

Speaking at a media briefing, Microsoft SA MD Lillian Barnard said the MOU paves the way for government to move towards adoption of public cloud services.

“Microsoft has made significant investments in the country and we have built a local data centre which provides government with a trusted intelligent cloud and it will help accelerate the pace for digital transformation.

“What we aim to do is make sure that with our partner SITA, we spur economic growth, drive innovation with SMMEs, and at the same time also make sure we deliver better services to our citizens and look at broader social inclusion.”

SITA acting CEO Ntutule Tshenye described the MOU as an exciting collaboration, highlighting that his agency is very clear about the digital transformation of the state. “We believe that cloud is going to play an absolutely crucial role in facilitating that move from traditional service provision and more into a digital transformation.

“Last year, we launched the government private cloud ecosystem, and it as the word says – it allows partnering with other cloud providers. We are very excited that Microsoft is one of the first entities with whom we are able to do this.”

The move comes after Microsoft in March opened two data centre regions in SA, becoming the first global provider to deliver cloud services from data centres on the continent.

Rival Amazon Web Services is also looking to open data centres in SA next year.

Since the opening of the data centres, the adoption of Microsoft Azure in the country has gained momentum, with the software giant signing up customers such as Nedbank, EXXARO and Altron.

“When we decided to invest in public cloud in South Africa we did so believing that it would have a dramatic impact on the country. Cloud technology will not only help the public sector to transform and optimise service delivery, and create more engaged citizens and empowered employees, but will also empower the private sector to innovate in ways that help to drive economic growth and job creation,” stated Barnard.

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