534Microsoft Arabia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with New Horizons Saudi Arabia part of -Al-Khaleej Training & Education- to launch the Cloud Academy, which aims to provide a dedicated diploma-training program on Cloud computing technologies to IT companies, students as well as IT customers. Through this initiative, Microsoft & New Horizons aim to increase availability of skilled workers in the Saudi IT market and provide employment opportunities to Saudi citizens. The two companies have agreed to work jointly in developing the Cloud Academy program; Microsoft will support with providing training contents and technology updates while New Horizon will contribute training infrastructure including expert trainers and other resources.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was sealed at a signing ceremony and launch event held on February 25, 2014 at the Four Seasons Hotel in the Kingdom Tower, Riyadh.

“At Microsoft we are committed to helping our customers and partners embrace the cloud with maximum flexibility, and we are delighted to work with New Horizons, one of the premier training organization in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to extend our reach in this effort.,” said Samir Noman, President of Microsoft Arabia.

Mr. Noman went on to say: “For this initiative, the Cloud Academy will provide training tracks for partners, enterprise customers and IT students. The introductory track will focus on Public Cloud, with future tracks planned for Private Cloud as well. We consider the Cloud Academy to be a key initiative by Microsoft and New Horizons to deliver on the government’s priority of nurturing a knowledge-based growth economy in the Kingdom based on a model of sustainable development.”

Phase one of the Cloud Academy diploma program will begin on March 2, 2014 and on conclusion, trainees will sit for exams to achieve certification.

Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, who also attended the MoU signing, said: “The Cloud Academy will help Saudi companies of all sizes to take advantage of powerful cloud-based solutions, creating more productive, profitable businesses. Cloud skills are now an essential part of a modern, competitive workforce and this is a training program that underlines Microsoft’s long-term commitment to the cloud and to Saudi Arabia. Through our innovative solutions such as Office 365, we offer a seamless integration of Cloud Computing. Uniquely, Microsoft is the only company to offer customers private, hybrid and public cloud, along with a rich ecosystem of Microsoft partners to deliver the cloud to users on their terms. We continues to design and deliver cloud solutions that allow our customers to move to the cloud when they are ready and on their terms.”

Speaking behalf of New Horizons, Alwaleed Aldryaan, CEO of Al-Khaleej Training & Education, said: “It is a pleasure working with Microsoft Arabia to develop and implement the Cloud Academy, a ground-breaking initiative that will greatly accelerate the availability of Cloud Services skill-sets, resulting in greater employability for students and a broader, more trained resource pool for partners to expand their Cloud Services business.”

Microsoft recognizes that the availability of skilled technical and sales resources is critical for partners to develop their cloud practices, thus increasing employment opportunities for young Saudis. Organizations are often challenged for resource allocation, which restricts their ability to take advantage of the latest technology trends. To overcome these issues, Microsoft partners can now take advantage of Cloud Academy to get the skills required to offer their customers the latest software that provides a scalable, flexible and cost-effective Cloud model.

Microsoft has already launched Office 365, its public cloud, in Saudi Arabia, offering the perfect vehicle for Saudi partners to provide small and medium-sized businesses with the latest software advantages such as the pay-as-you-go model and the ability to quickly scale at minimal capital expense. In addition, Microsoft is offering a host of programs as well as incentives to partners to help them develop their Office 365 business, including Fast Track Online partner support.

Microsoft is the only company offering customers a combination of private, hybrid and/or public cloud, delivered together with a rich ecosystem of partners, to enable them to take advantage of the many benefits of the cloud on their own terms and in accordance with their specific business needs.

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