Microsoft 2023 plans for digital transformation in Malaysia

Microsoft is continuing to expand on ongoing initiatives to support Malaysia’s economic resilience and play a vital role in accelerating the country’s transformation. Microsoft has delivered various products and services that have aided organizations and people in Malaysia in embracing new technologies.

Microsoft and the Malaysian government have collaborated closely to promote literacy and skill development, which has contributed to developing a more digitally savvy workforce. The announcement in June marks the next development in the partnership between the Malaysian government and Microsoft as they work to meet the objectives established in the 12th Malaysia Plan and Malaysia Economy Blueprint. The targets include 100% digital literacy among civil officials by 2022, 80% end-to-end online government services by 2025, and 80% use of cloud storage across the entire government by 2022.

Through these initiatives, Microsoft has contributed to developing a more innovative and advanced digital society in Malaysia. Tech Wire Asia had the pleasure to interview K Raman, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia, to discuss the company’s work in supporting the nation’s vision for inclusive, responsible, and sustainable development, as well as what customers can anticipate from Microsoft in .

Microsoft support for Malaysia’s digital transformation

Microsoft celebrates their 30th year with Malaysia this year. As Malaysia’s trusted technology partner, they are here to support the nation by creating more value and opportunities for growth using data and Cloud-based technologies while delivering digital skills to Malaysians. 

 In April 2021, Microsoft announced their biggest commitment to Malaysia yet – Bersama Malaysia, to empower the nation’s inclusive digital economy, in line with the Government’s MyDIGITAL aspirations.

Microsoft’s commitment under Bersama Malaysia has since evolved and expanded beyond their initial three promises, yet remains true to its core, which is to empower Malaysia’s inclusive digital economy. To this end, they are accelerating support for digital natives and the startup community in Malaysia through their collaboration with Cradle, Digital Penang, and the state government of Sarawak, among others.

They are also aware that, in reality, many still have limited access to internet services. To address this gap and ensure that Malaysians have equal access to technology, earlier this year, they partnered with the Ministry of Higher Education, UiTM Holdings, and AxiCom to launch the first TV White Space technology in Malaysia. Through this, local businesses and communities in rural areas will have access to more opportunities by leveraging enhanced broadband connectivity. 

How has the cloud helped businesses in Malaysia to evolve and “achieve more with less”?

Regardless of industry, business size or geography – organizations across the board are looking at leveraging new digital capabilities to help them do more with less. Digital transformation is often the top-of-mind response when posed with the challenge of doing more with less, but it is a layered process that covers many technologies. 

With the Microsoft Cloud, they strive to power innovation to help their customers advance their business – leveraging an integrated platform that spans security, infrastructure, digital and app innovation, data and AI, business applications, and modern work. These services empower their customers to truly do more with less. 

Some local examples include Sime Darby Property, which became the first property developer in Malaysia to fully migrate its existing core applications and servers to Azure. They also have Celcom, which migrated to Microsoft Azure several years ago. Today, Celcom has not only gained potential cost savings from on-premises infrastructure but also achieved the agility level needed to be future-ready.

Another customer example is PETRONAS, with which Microsoft has expanded their strategic partnership from technology adoption, co-innovation efforts, and skilling. Just recently, PETRONAS also announced the establishment of its AI Centre of Excellence in collaboration with global partners, including Microsoft, to advance the adoption of AI solutions to improve its energy value chain’s efficiency, reliability, and safety. 

On top of their commitments to help advance Malaysia’s digital ambitions, both PETRONAS and Celcom have also committed to using the Microsoft Cloud from the data center region in Malaysia when available.

The state of data center project in Malaysia

Microsoft’s global data center region construction sites are large-scale and complex projects that require careful planning and management to ensure the safety of their employees and contractors. Not only that, it also needs to meet their standards for world-class sustainable design and operations, cloud services reliability, physical security, data security, and privacy when the region is live. Microsoft is overall pleased with the progress in their development for the data center region here in Malaysia.

Microsoft has a long-term vision that they refer to as 100/100/0. By 2030, Microsoft commits to have 100% of its electricity consumption, 100% of the time, matched by zero-carbon energy purchases. Like other users, their data centers and offices worldwide plug into the local grid, consuming energy from a vast pool of electrons generated near and far from various sources. So, while Microsoft can’t control how their energy is made, it can influence how they purchase their energy.

Microsoft’s investment in data center R&D also helps address important challenges:

  • To reduce carbon emissions across their construction and operations
  • To reduce and eliminate water use for cooling
  • To reduce e-waste by giving server parts new life
  • To sustain local ecosystems where our data centers reside

The importance of security from Microsoft’s perspective

Microsoft constantly looks for ways to bring more value and simplicity. Innovation and enhanced productivity can only be achieved by introducing security measures that make organizations as resilient as possible against modern attacks.

Microsoft’s security approach extends to all clouds and platforms, and they are investing in protecting their customers. As a company that places trust at the core of everything they do, having a secure digital landscape is critical to any future endeavor.

Most recently, Microsoft announced new products to provide organizations with a deeper context into threat actor activity and help them lock down their infrastructure and reduce their overall attack surface. They are the Microsoft Defender Threat Intelligence and Microsoft Defender External Attack Surface Management.

Today in Malaysia, Microsoft is also collaborating with key government agencies in areas related to capacity building, sharing private sector insights and capabilities, along with best practices on policy and regulations. A good example is their support for the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA), whom they are working with to help transform Malaysia into the destination of choice for digital investments.

And it does not stop there – they are also committed to enhancing cybersecurity literacy, which includes providing access to cybersecurity skilling through Microsoft Learn and conducting cybersecurity training programs for female students and professionals.

For instance, earlier this year, Microsoft launched the ASEAN Cybersecurity Skilling Programme (ASEANCSP) in collaboration with ASEAN Foundation, to help build awareness and enhance cybersecurity literacy among Malaysians and beyond.

Picking the right technology

Over the years, Microsoft has built a strong partner ecosystem in Malaysia – tapping into the invaluable skills and expertise of local organizations to support customers and partners to drive home success for every person and organization as they venture into the digital economy – and this is an ambition that they will continue upholding regardless of potential competition.

This means supporting their government’s digitalization, empowering businesses, upskilling communities, and not forgetting their productivity suite, such as Microsoft 365 and Surface devices.

For instance, Tourism Malaysia, has various offices and Tourist Information Centers worldwide, so consistency in operational performance and delivery are crucial. With the integration of Microsoft 365 across all its domestic and overseas offices, Tourism Malaysia’s global workforce can better coordinate and optimize inter-departmental collaboration whilst ensuring all data is secure and protected by Microsoft’s security capabilities.

It all boils down to understanding the needs of their customers and how Microsoft can tailor their offerings to meet their digital transformation needs.

What customers in Malaysia can expect from Microsoft in 2023

Microsoft has learned from their customers that they don’t talk about the products they want – instead, they want the experiences. They tell Microsoft about the challenges they need to overcome, what they want to accomplish, and how they want to build their future. So, Microsoft has shifted their focus from building products to designing solutions that help shape the experiences for organizations and individuals to work smarter and be more productive.

To help achieve this goal and deliver digital skills, Microsoft partners with organizations from government agencies, non-profit organizations, corporates, as well as education institutions, to name a few.

These initiatives include:

  • Working with MyDIGITAL Corporation and MAMPU through the MyDIGITAL GovTech Innovation partnership
  • Collaborating with PETRONAS to nurture a sustainable pipeline of an inclusive, future-ready digital workforce through the PETRONAS Digital Academy
  • Partnering with Biji-biji Enterprise spans several programs, but all for a singular goal – to help enhance employability.

Moving forward, Microsoft will continue pursuing their Bersama Malaysia commitment. Fortunately, they are not alone in this journey and were able to form various partnerships to help them move towards this goal and provide equal opportunities for Malaysians.

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