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Migrate to innovate: How governments are modernizing in advance of AI

To help meet Denmark’s sustainability goal of a 100% green power system by 2030, state-owned energy company Energinet plays the pivotal role of managing a rapidly evolving power grid. When new solar and wind energy sources started to come online, the company realized that their infrastructure and applications needed a new kind of agility. 

They decided to migrate their 10-year-old architecture and technology stack to a cloud-based solution to support their long-term goals and operate more efficiently. The question was how to make the move while also keeping the power on.  

At Microsoft for Government, we work with organizations and agencies around the world to help solve these kinds of challenges. We help each organization navigate their unique requirements and chart a path that works best for them, balancing the promise of AI and cloud native applications with the need to be more cost efficient, secure, and compliant.  

For Energinet, the solution was to build a new digital operating system based on Microsoft Azure, which is improving efficiency in automating energy balancing processes, lowering costs, and resolving issues in 15 minutes that previously took an hour. Modernizing helped them meet their near-term requirements, and it positioned them to remain agile and open to change as opportunities evolve.  

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Migrate to innovate—the benefits of modernization

In many government organizations, the migration to cloud computing has long been mitigated by important concerns, including cost, security, and a need to maximize legacy systems. As cloud technology has matured, however, the barriers to adoption have declined as the price of inaction has risen.  

With the promise of AI to deliver new efficiencies and opportunities for service improvements, cloud migration is now clearly the best path forward, provided it is done in ways that meet an organization’s unique requirements.  

For government organization, the advantages of cloud computing are compelling, and easier to realize than before. Governments that choose to migrate to Azure are realizing important benefits in many areas of their greatest concerns—among them: 

  • Performance and resilience: Azure enables businesses to scale their operations globally with ease, with purpose-built infrastructure, dynamic compute capacity, scalable storage, and real-time disaster-recovery options. Governments such as the State of Alaska are migrating to Azure to achieve their vision of becoming digital public service innovators. To expand access to secure services, Alaska migrated 700 applications and one-third of its infrastructure in just three months. They not only achieved better resilience, cost efficiency, and security, but with the state’s vast geography and often isolated communities, the migration also sparked a cultural shift by bringing agencies together and unlocking unexpected value. 
  • Security: To counter the expanding cybersecurity threat facing governments, Azure is supported by more than 8,500 security experts, more than 100 compliance certifications, and a cloud-native application protection platform that spans the application and infrastructure stack. Microsoft plans to invest USD$20 billion in security in the next five years to continue our commitment to a safe future.1 The importance of ensuring world-class security was a key factor in the decision by Qatar’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to digitize government operations with Azure. The ministry established information assurance measures and security programs that not only enhanced the government’s data security and operational efficiency, but also achieved $7.3 million in cost savings. 
  • Hybrid and multi-cloud management: Azure supports hybrid, multi-cloud, and edge environments with Microsoft Azure Arc, a solution that allows governments to build applications and services with a consistent development, operations, and security model across deployments. This proved essential for the World Bank, which provides lending services in 189 developing countries around the world to help lift people out of poverty. They wanted to build applications and services that could extract insights from their SQL Server estate and multiple cloud infrastructure providers. Using Azure Arc, they streamlined their cloud migration journey, built new solutions, and gained unexpected efficiencies. 
  • Cost savings: By migrating to Azure, customers can optimize costs and resources by consolidating solutions and choosing from a variety of consumption models and flexible migration approaches. For example, the Statistical Office of Republic of Serbia saved time and money by conducting the nation’s first-ever paperless census using a hybrid cloud solution, which reduced the time required to publish official results from 18 months to just six. The solution delivered faster data encoding and more accurate results, and the Statistical Office of Republic of Serbia was able to streamline maintenance while ensuring optimal security, real-time monitoring, and improved data quality.  

A 3-step approach to becoming AI-ready

Modernization, which provides for greater scale, efficiency, and flexibility, also positions an organization to explore the benefits of AI. Governments recognize the potential of AI to generate new cost efficiencies and to power new offerings in service delivery. In the near term, this is motivating many to accelerate their digital transformation journeys. 

Implementing a cloud migration strategy is an absolute prerequisite to adopting and innovating with AI in a government organization. The cloud provides the hyperscale performance required for generative AI functionality, and a modern data strategy not only consolidates disparate data systems but also ensures access control and data security.  

Cloud migration is a long-term process, and the journey is unique to every organization. Whatever the course, governments should remain mindful of the following three steps, which are key to becoming AI-ready in ways that are efficient, effective, and responsible. 

Step 1: Co-locate data and workloads in the cloud

Strategically placing applications, databases, and AI resources into the Microsoft Cloud ecosystem delivers exponential improvements in performance and prepares data and services to take advantage of new AI innovations.  

Step 2: Infuse Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and copilot integrations

Once your data and applications are co-located, you are ready to take advantage of AI services such as Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, which integrates generative AI into everyday productivity applications, and Azure OpenAI, which enables the development of customized copilots, plugins, integrated AI services, and much more.  

Step 3: Ensure secure and responsible AI

From the outset, AI innovation should be delivered with the highest standards for security, assurance, and trust. Beyond taking a leadership role in ensuring safe, secure, and trustworthy AI at a global level, Microsoft provides comprehensive guidance for governments to ensure secure and responsible AI in their efforts, such as the Microsoft Responsible AI Standard, and Microsoft responsible AI practices.   

Continue your modernization journey and become AI ready 

No matter where your government organization stands in its digital transformation, Microsoft and our network of global partners are ready to help you move forward. For more, please explore the following resources: 

  • To learn how Microsoft is helping governments solve society’s biggest challenges, see our Microsoft in Government website.  

1Microsoft commits $20 billion to advance cybersecurity following meeting with President Biden, Windows Central.