Microsoft has opened a new technology centre in Sydney, with the idea to work with Australian organisations to accelerate digital transformation, focusing specifically on the impact that cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) can make in both the public and private sectors. The multimillion-dollar'state-of-the-art' Microsoft Technology Centre (MTC), officially launched on Tuesday, offers visitors access to explore digital opportunities through an envisioning theatre, an exploration showcase where Microsoft and partner solutions are demonstrated, an innovation factory, a social hub, and a cybersecurity room, as well as workshop and boardroom areas. The MTC will be staffed by seven of the company's staff members, comprised of a director, five technical architects, and a technology manager. "This is a significant and important investment by Microsoft in the Australian market," Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall said. "The Microsoft Technology Centre will help our customers accelerate their digital journeys by bringing together the right resources -- people and technology -- in one location to demonstrate what can be achieved in their organisation and then to work with them to bring that to life."
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is embarking on an organisation-wide technology transformation, turning to the market for help with the first stage which it said would see the building blocks be put in place. ASIO is looking for one or more service providers to develop and provision a handful of integrated core technology platforms for the agency, with a request for expression of interest (EOI) detailing six separate work packages. "ASIO is undergoing a large scale transformation in order to continue to succeed in a complex environment. The transformation affects all aspects of ASIO's business including technology, data, people, capabilities, processes, and culture," the EOI documents said. "ASIO is pursuing technology platforms that are seamlessly connected, agile, sustainable, and scalable to support enterprise-wide capabilities."
Microsoft has announced the go-live of two new regions in Australia targeted towards government, financial services, and critical national infrastructure clients in Australia and New Zealand that are making the move to multi-cloud. The new offering, Azure Australia Central, has been designed for mission-critical workloads, and comes after Microsoft achieved official accreditation from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) in June, allowing the company to offer 50 services on the ASD Certified Cloud Services List across Azure and Office 365. Offered out of Canberra Data Centres (CDC), the two new Azure cloud regions will allow for the storing of unclassified and protected-level data. CDC built its facilities in advance as top secret, which allows Microsoft to offer services from within CDC, inheriting the characteristics already in place and thus complying with Australian government requirements. Speaking with ZDNet ahead of the launch, Azure engineering lead for Microsoft Australia James Kavanagh said that although multi-cloud is the model many Australian organisations are moving to, it comes with challenges around how disparate and segregated data becomes, as well as security-related concerns that this presents to national critical infrastructure.
Microsoft is working with the Australian government to change the way technology-related services are procured by Commonwealth entities, specifically on where the budget is allocated and how it is measured. The company's Australian national director of government Keith Downs told Microsoft Future Now in Sydney on Thursday that it is working with Treasury to shift its mindset from a traditional capital expense (capex) model to an operating expense (opex) model. "Microsoft and our financial team are working with Treasury, helping them reshape in-line with how do they shift, because it's an asset-based infrastructure that actually reduces opex cost and Cabinet and Treasury like to see physical assets of ownership," he said. "So we're trying to work with them to try and shift that legacy mindset." The comments followed a presentation from Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) CTO Jonathan Cassar, who detailed how his government has single budget for IT.