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Yanna Andronopoulou: “Microsoft is embarking on the largest investment by a technology company in our region”

“We are embarking on the largest investment by a technology company in our region, significantly boosting all digital transformation efforts,” Yanna Andronopoulou, General Manager - Greece, Cyprus, Malta at Microsoft recently told CBN.

In an exclusive interview with the portal, Andronopoulou also noted, “Having been integral to Cyprus' digital transformation for the past, we will continue to be a trusted partner in the future, driving advancements and fostering a robust tech ecosystem for widespread societal and economic benefit.”

Among other things, Andronopoulou also delved deeper into the milestone Enterprise Agreement the company has entered into with the government of Cyprus and revealed more about the company’s other activities on the island.

You have been at Microsoft for a decade and General Manager - Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Microsoft for almost a year now. What were some of your main goals when taking on the position, how have they progressed so far and what are your main priorities for the year ahead?

I must say that I feel privileged and honored to assume the position at a pivotal moment for Microsoft and our industry. We are witnessing the dawn of an unprecedented digital revolution driven by AI, offering transformative opportunities for all of humanity. AI can truly apply everywhere, from the more complex problem-solving of businesses and organisations regardless of their size and maturity to some of the greatest challenges we face including climate change, natural disasters, health-related issues - healthcare and drug discovery - and so on. For me, the greatest value of this journey is enabling people to focus where it matters, enabling us all to create value. Microsoft's leadership in this technology opens vast, uncharted avenues for innovation and advancement. Concurrently, we are embarking on the largest investment by a technology company in our region, significantly boosting all digital transformation efforts. As the leader of a dedicated team, I am excited to contribute to Greece’s Cyprus and Malta’s participation in this transformation, ensuring it benefits from the resultant opportunities. Our goals for the coming years include the successful establishment of the Data Center in Greece, fostering entrepreneurship, and enhancing the innovation ecosystem across the three countries. This dual focus will facilitate large enterprises' transition to the Cloud, deliver advanced digital solutions for SMEs, and further digitise public administration processes. Our ultimate challenge remains leveraging technology responsibly, to improve the lives of citizens, customers, workers, entrepreneurs, and professionals alike.

The government of Cyprus recently entered an important Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft to step up the island’s digital transformation and boost the efficiency of the public sector. Can you tell us more about this agreement and the impact you anticipate it having on the daily lives of the people of Cyprus?

This agreement marks a significant milestone in Cyprus' digital advancement, enhancing public sector efficiency and improving citizen services. Our commitment to democratising new technologies aligns with Cyprus' progressive approach, early adoption mindset, and objective of broadening access to technological innovations. This proactive stance supports economic growth and establishes the region as a leading technology hub. Consider Greece, a country with strong ties and many similarities to Cyprus, as a compelling example, where the government—among the first in Europe—integrated Generative AI with Microsoft as part of its strategic plan to make the public sector more accessible, efficient, sustainable, and citizen-focused. Same with the way we act on Greece, our initiative’s goal in Cyprus aims to improve service delivery quality and speed on Public Sector, allowing civil servants to address more complex issues, thereby transforming daily life for all residents in unprecedented ways.

What more do you consider could be done to speed up Cyprus’ technological transformation and what role could Microsoft potentially play in this?

Over the time being present in Cyprus, our impact has been most notable in three key areas: learning, working, and innovating. These remain the focal points of our contribution moving forward. We aim to accelerate innovation within the local community, support our partners and customers in addressing emerging challenges, and lay the groundwork for developing local talent. This will be achieved by leveraging AI technology, which offers transformative solutions to our daily needs. Having been integral to Cyprus' digital transformation for the past, we will continue to be a trusted partner in the future, driving advancements and fostering a robust tech ecosystem for widespread societal and economic benefit.

Further to the above, how are Microsoft’s other activities in Cyprus (such as EUC Startup Programme powered by Microsoft) progressing?

The EUC Startup Programme is making significant progress, currently in the Training and Mentoring stage, which will continue until July, culminating in our graduation ceremony in September. At Microsoft, supporting startups and tech entrepreneurs is a top priority, as startups and small businesses stand to benefit immensely from technological advancements. Our goal is to facilitate their growth and success by providing access to our comprehensive suite of tools and capabilities. Consider, for instance, a small company lacking the resources to maintain a full-fledged cybersecurity team. Microsoft's Security Copilot exemplifies how Generative AI can be leveraged to enhance cybersecurity defense, enabling individuals with limited training and experience to effectively protect their organisations. AI's transformative potential spans multiple dimensions: enhanced efficiency and automation, data-driven insights and decision-making, personalised customer experiences, autonomous systems and robotics, natural language processing, cybersecurity and threat detection, as well as smart city infrastructure. The possibilities are boundless. The startup sector in Cyprus possesses the cultural foundation necessary to adopt and thrive using our tools and services, on par with larger nations. Our objective is to nurture this ecosystem through our ongoing support and activities, ensuring the responsible use of technology. This aligns seamlessly with our overarching mission to empower every person and organisation to achieve more.

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