The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and Microsoft South Africa have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which paves the way for government adoption of public cloud services.

The MOU, announced at Govtech in Durban, allows for government departments, through SITA, to move their services to Microsoft’s Azure Cloud and endorses Microsoft as a key partner for the South African government to enable digital transformation.

Ntutule Tshenye, acting-CEO of SITA, comments: “The inclusion of Microsoft in the government digital ecosystem is the first of many valued players that will collaborate with SITA to modernize and digitally transform government, enable new business outcomes and improve citizen experiences.”

The MOU will empower Microsoft to engage with the National, Provincial and Local government through SITA to:

* Unlock value from the existing government investment in the Microsoft ecosystem by ensuring the appropriate distribution and usage of procured software;

* Build solutions utilising Microsoft’s cloud platform and capabilities as part of the Government Private Cloud Ecosystem (GPCE);

* Assist government with the responsible adoption of cloud services; and

* Contribute to the development of SMMEs and skills in the country so as to ensure a thriving digital economy.

Lillian Barnard, MD of Microsoft South Africa, says: “Microsoft welcomes this move by SITA. It is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for South Africa to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the opportunities it presents.  At Microsoft it is important for us to partner with government departments to empower their digital transformation and help them to maximise their ability to build economic growth, broaden social inclusion, drive good governance, and achieve better outcomes for South African citizens.”

Microsoft opened its local data centres six months ago and, since then, has announced that Nedbank, Standard, Exxaro and Altron would be migrating their services to the cloud.

“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 to 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,” Barnard says.