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Microsoft Azure Central Regions


Stealing a march on the cloud competition


The challenge

With the government looking to transform how it delivers public services, Microsoft knew there was an opportunity to capture more of the public sector cloud market from Amazon Web Services. To support the push to host protected-level government datasets in the cloud, Microsoft worked to secure Protected certification from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). It also partnered with Canberra Data Centres to launch Azure cloud regions in the nation’s capital, aimed at servicing critical government workloads and critical infrastructure. We needed to ensure this technical news would land with the most impact, while managing a complex network of stakeholders.

The insight

Not many technology vendors could draw a group of tier-one business journalists to Canberra – but we were able to build anticipation effectively by playing on the secrecy surrounding an announcement about critical government data.

The strategy

Our objective was to position Microsoft as the most secure and trusted cloud partner for hosting public sector and critical national infrastructure. Timing was everything. With the AWS Public Sector Summit on the horizon, Operation AWS Disrupt went into top gear. Highly detailed planning was involved in picking the right stories, moments and targets to strengthen this perception and gain the most mileage from the news. Using our strong media relationships, we persuaded eight top-tier media to fly to Canberra for a top-secret briefing. We complemented this with pre-briefings for other journalists who were not in the room. We also planned a separate news conference where Angus Taylor, Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity, announced that Microsoft had achieved Protected unclassified certification. We added credibility by showcasing the power of Azure for customers and partners, using the Victorian Supreme Court of Justice and ASX-listed software and services company, Citadel, as case studies.

The impact

The campaign achieved 74 unique stories and a further 73 syndications, achieving our objective of positioning Microsoft as the most secure and trusted cloud platform for the public sector. We secured our goal of stealing AWS’ thunder, with our marquee headline in The Australian reading: “Microsoft beats Amazon to federal government cloud certification.” The campaign also generated new business opportunities within government departments.