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Today, the world finds itself in the midst of a rapid digital transformation. The speed at which technology is altering our day-to-day lives is unprecedented. And advanced technologies such as the cloud, big data, machine learning, and mobile computing are dramatically improving the standard of living for citizens around the globe.

Yet while technologies such as these are generating jobs, improving public services, and creating safer communities for billions of people, they remain out of reach for a large segment of the global population. Indeed, 60 percent of the world’s citizens remain excluded from the benefits of the digital economy. This inequality is a prime focus of the United Nation’s 17 sustainable development goals, which aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

Our mission at Microsoft is to empower “every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.” And we believe that together with our partners’ products and services, a new wave of Microsoft technology will not only help governments, health organizations, and education institutions digitally transform but also meet the needs for many customers who are not being served today. Through digital transformation, governments can better engage citizens, empower healthcare workers to be more productive, optimize public safety operations, transform educational institutions, and improve their effectiveness through data-driven decisions.

Partners play a critical role in our mission, providing customized solutions and the vertical industry expertise that customers want and need. At the 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), we’ll be gathering with partners from around the world, to discuss how to accelerate positive changes for customers everywhere. The upcoming conference from July 10-14 in Toronto will be a time to reflect on partner successes, while creating opportunities for learning and networking—so together we can accelerate future progress.

Celebrating partner successes

One way we celebrate our partners is by recognizing exceptional innovation—and there have been numerous examples of public-sector successes over the past year. A special congratulations to our Public Sector Partners of the Year, each of which has developed solutions and services that exemplify the top-level excellence that’s possible:

  • GovernmentSoftBank Technology, Japan. SoftBank developed the Agricultural Farmland Information System, which provides government leaders, workers, and farmers with an overview of farmland across Japan and how it is being used. The solution supports Japan’s national growth strategy for agriculture, improves social inclusion, and drives environmental sustainability.
  • Education3P Learning, Australia. A global, cloud-based education company, 3P Learning offers e-learning programs in mathematics, literacy, and science that are used by 5.3 million students in more than 100 countries. 3P migrated from a hosted datacenter to the public cloud on Microsoft Azure to support the 2015 World Education Games where 6 million students from 166 countries spent more than 128 million minutes answering 133 million math, literacy, and science questions.
  • HealthInnana S.A.S., Colombia. Innana’s Azure-based Healthicloud Electronic Health Record solution offers healthcare workers rapid access to critical patient information anytime, anywhere, resulting in increased clinician productivity, better patient outcomes, and improved capacity and cash flows. Further, some customers are broadening access using new, innovative offerings such as telemedicine and home care.
  • Public Safety and National SecuritySMS Management & Technology, Australia. To enhance Australia’s security, SMS eBorderForce provides an operational communications and collaboration platform that captures data for high-risk deliveries for analysis and investigation. It offers offline capability and enables officers to use their Surface tablets to intuitively capture and store the inspection details to upload later if out of range of a mobile data signal.
  • Microsoft CityNextCOPA-DATA, Austria. COPA-DATA used its Zenon for Smart Cities solution in combination with Microsoft Azure to help its customers become more energy efficient by automatically collecting and analyzing energy data. Using Zenon to evaluate energy data, cities can reduce energy costs and optimize their equipment, lowering the total cost of ownership of their energy control and monitoring solutions.

Looking ahead

In the coming year, we will continue to work closely with our partners to close the “digital divide” and further transform our mutual public sector customers. Whether it’s delivering world-class cloud services in the classroom, creating solutions that improve healthcare, digitizing services to give police better situational awareness, or utilizing cloud-based analytics to bring about energy-efficient cities, our goal is to help our partners harness Microsoft technology to solve society’s most pressing challenges.

Please see our other WPC blog posts to learn more about what our partners are doing in the areas of governmenteducationhealthpublic safety and national security, and Microsoft CityNext. Also, be sure to join me at WPC on Monday, July 13 from 2:30 PM to 5 PM at our to learn about accelerating opportunities for your business.

I look forward to meeting you!