Milan, March 28, 2018 – Italgas, Italy's leading company in the natural gas distribution sector and Europe's third largest operator, officially announces its collaboration with Microsoft on a digital transformation project focused on Cloud Computing. As part of the 2017-2023 Industrial Plan, Italgas has, in fact, developed an innovation program that is unique in the gas sector and focuses on digitalizing assets and processes, on Industrial IoT and on dematerialization and automation.
At the heart of this plan is the cloud strategy and the decision to migrate the data center onto Microsoft Azure, as well as adopting the Office 365 productivity platform. The ambitious plan, now in its start-up phase, will be completed by August 2018, with the aim of managing the entire Italgas system in accordance with innovative criteria designed for achieving the highest levels of efficiency and flexibility.
Together with its subsidiaries, Italgas employs more than 4000 people, manages a network of around 66,000 Km – 7.5 million users served in 1600 municipalities – and has decided to turn to the public Cloud, preparing a new Infrastructure as a Service, migrating its previously on-premises applications and IT assets and setting up a new cloud-connected network. The reason for choosing Microsoft Azure is also because of its widespread availability – 140 countries and 17 languages – and the $14 billion investment that Microsoft dedicates to its global data center infrastructure to make it consistently reliable and state-of-the-art.
Microsoft's public cloud platform offers massive computational and storage capacity that is suitable for managing the needs of a complex network and for supporting the company in a path of flexible growth, responding in a scalable way to the foreseeable peaks in demand associated with tendering for services assignment and optimizing IT costs. All of this comes with an assurance of security in terms of business continuity, a strategic element in a crucial sector such as that of energy, but also from the point of view of privacy, in line with the new European General Data Protection Regulation. Azure's interoperability moreover ensures compatibility with the heterogeneous IT environment within Italgas, safeguarding previous investments in a logic of sustainable innovation. Azure was also chosen because of its capacity to support the company's technological evolution, enabling the development of innovative solutions in the areas of Analytics, IoT and Big Data. In the long term, once the migration process is complete, Italgas could infact benefit from the functionality of remote monitoring and predictive maintenance and will, overall, be capable of further improving the quality of its service thanks to a more effective use of its data heritage.
Again, to increase efficiency and achieve operational excellence, another key element of Italgas digital transformation is the adoption of the cloud productivity platform Office 365, that will involve over 3,000 users by August. An opportunity to empower people and introduce a new way of collaborating keeping with the times. In a sector where working outside the office is common, Office 365 will make it possible to access data and applications securely, anywhere and at any time, contributing, with a greater empowerment of all the organization’s members, on the company’s journey towards growth.
“Moving all our applications to the Cloud - says Francesca Vergara Caffarelli, CIO of Italgas - is a key step in the digitization process that we are undertaking. In addition to the immediate benefits of increasing efficiency and reliability, it allows us to have access to all of Microsoft's new technologies, both now and in the future, and to create the technological base required for transforming the corporate processes through the use of innovative technologies”.
“We are proud to be working with a company like Italgas: innovation is an important component of the company's strategic plan and we are certain that, thanks to the networks and processes’ digitization through the cloud, Italgas will be able to increase its efficiency and competitiveness. We hope that such an advanced digital transformation project in the world of Oil&Gas will inspire other companies, contributing to the socio-economic development of the country. Cloud computing can naturally make a difference in this way, by optimizing the processes, allowing flexible management of networks, facilitating the safe exchange of data and enabling new forms of collaboration and productivity. Opting for the Cloud means looking to the future and being ready to seize the new prospects associated with the Industrial IoT and Artificial Intelligence,” says Vincenzo Esposito, Head of Enterprise Commercial Division, Microsoft Italy.