Companies are adapting to the coronavirus by shifting their work “online”, ushering in a new and rather forced digital era in the industry. This “Industrial Revolution 2”, if you will, has created a new opportunity for cloud computing companies to expand their growth, as their need continues to grow. In light of this, Microsoft announced today, its plans to build its first cloud datacenter region in Italy.

Italy has seemed to take on the role for the next big market for the cloud industry. Industry giants like Amazon Web Services and Google had already expanded their reach in the region, with AWS having opened a datacenter last week in Milan and Google partnering up with former phone monopoly Telecom Italia. Thus, Microsoft became the last of the “big ones” to enter the region. The Redmond software giant will establish its datacenter in Milan, where it’ll compete against AWS directly, for dominance over the region.

The company has laid out a $1.5 billion five year plan, for developing this datacenter, and expand its cloud computing services in the region. The plan, dubbed “Ambizione Italia #DigitalRestart” will “create new opportunities by empowering people and organizations and supporting economic growth,” according to Microsoft’s blog post.

Microsoft has partnered up with state-controlled postal operator Poste Italiane, to accelerate its growth in the region. With the operator backing Microsoft up, the company seeks to provide intelligent solution to industry problems for small and medium enterprises.

“The two companies will launch a joint plan to develop a new digital skilling project for the Poste Italiane workforce and a joint initiative for skilling in the country. Poste Italiane will also accelerate its own digital transformation with the latest Microsoft solutions,” Microsoft said, referring to its partnership with Poste Italiane.

Microsoft’s entry in the region will empower companies with access to Microsoft’s enterprise-grade cloud services. This includes Microsoft Azure, the company’s main cloud platform, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.

Microsoft predicts that its presence in the region will cultivate a humongous business opportunity, and will create “10,000 job-related opportunities and an estimated $9 billion in direct and indirect business impact by the end of 2024.”

Microsoft has also partnered up with Fondazione Mondo Digitale and the Partner Academy Program, for focusing on “skilling an estimated 1.5 million students, professionals and unemployed citizens over the next three years.”

Lastly, the company announced that, “Microsoft and local stakeholders will launch a Sustainability Alliance committed to delivering technology solutions that help public and private sectors create solutions to improve sustainability in Italy. The Sustainability Alliance will support the national New Green Deal Plan and will contribute to an open innovation ecosystem on sustainable topics. This alliance will help address the most urgent climate and environmental needs to support Italy’s sustainable future.”

Microsoft also announced plans to open up a datacenter in Spain, this February. Moreover, it also promised to invest $1 billion in Poland, to build a similar datacenter region as it is doing in Italy.

The company has 100 datacenters, spanning across 54 regions across the world.