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We are at the threshold of unprecedented value creation for industry and society, driven by the accelerating pace of change enabled through digital technology. Whether it is about bringing together patient records so they can be shared quickly for better patient outcomes, or reimagining connectivity and predictive maintenance for cars to meet the expectations of road safety, digital transformation is changing how we work and live.

Called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this significant disruption of traditional industries is fueled by speed, the falling cost of technology and how quickly companies are growing. There is broad agreement that the economic opportunity from digital transformation could be as high as $100 trillion across all industries over the next decade. But this impact is broader than economics alone. For instance, Governments must also consider the unique role they play in communities – literally holding the keys to the city, powering the grids, administering the most critical public systems. And it’s not just about implementing this or that technology to improve services, but building digital resilience to minimize interruption. Estonia is a great example of a government reinventing its systems. Microsoft is a proud partner.

Long considered a member of the Public Sector “Digital Masters,” Estonia continuously demonstrates a transformative vision. From embracing incubation and innovation, to trying out new ideas in a thoughtful, bold and measured way, stuff happens first in Estonia.

After exploring the broad concept of a digital “data embassy” (the focus of a joint Phase I research project), Estonia and Microsoft were interested in advancing strategic Information and Communications Technology (ICT) principles around “digital continuity.” In the face of natural or man-made interference, could cloud capabilities enhance digital resilience of government services? The Estonian Chief Information Officer and Microsoft Services set the course to find out.

In the process of this joint research project, we chose to evaluate the technical and policy aspects of “failing over” a critical government service in Microsoft Azure in the event of a disruption – part of a core element of meeting the needs of an advanced digital society and innovative government. Microsoft and the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications assessed the Estonia Land Register, the official digital record of land ownership in Estonia. Could the records be migrated to, and hosted on, the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform? What technical and policy questions needed to be considered? Today, we published a video and our Proof of Concept findings in a Summary Report.

The Summary Report concludes with six recommendations for any government considering cloud computing. We continue to evaluate some of the harder questions about the operational requirements needed to support effective migration to and how to build trust in the public cloud.

Microsoft is delighted to participate in, learn from, and co-lead research projects such as this one, with the Estonia CIO and team. Public-private partnerships can advance digital transformation for governments, in turn, helping them better serve their citizens, empower their employees, optimize operations and transform their societies.