Cloud Cultures, Part 2: Global collaboration in Sweden

August 27, 2023

The outcomes of cloud adoption are shaped dramatically by the people and cultures that operate and innovate with the technology. The rapid pace of technological advancements we are seeing on a global scale is exciting, but if there is one thing that I love more than technology, it is the people, the stories, and the life experiences that influence how it’s used. These stories show firsthand how technology and tradition combine to form cloud cultures. In our first episode, we explored how the people in Poland are fearless when it comes time to act. They are a dynamic country embracing change, reinventing themselves, and creating new innovative opportunities. Conversations with our customers and community leaders in Poland gave me an important view of how much of an impact the history of Poland has on the present and future markets. In the second episode, see what I learned about cloud culture in Sweden.

Click to watch Cloud Cultures Sweden episode

Sweden: A global-first mindset

Our first Sweden datacenter region launched in 2021 and will grow to be one of our largest datacenter regions in Europe. My time in Sweden helped me understand why this region is growing so fast.

I learned firsthand how Swedes transform simple ideas into global successes. For Sweden, success knows no borders. This is a place that thinks beyond its own perimeter, because the market demands it, and success depends on it. Despite being one of the largest countries in Europe by landmass, it’s one of the smallest in population—which forces Sweden’s ambitious entrepreneurs to adopt a global-first mindset from day one. Collaborating with people around the world with different mindsets is one of the biggest challenges companies will face as they globally scale. It requires tapping into those diverse perspectives to create a better outcome. This is what drew me to Sweden. Their holistic approach to innovation has created an environment that fosters collaboration when scaling and enables them to thrive.

This focus on collaboration helped me better understand “fika”. While the term “fika” translates to “coffee”, in English, I learned in Sweden, fika is much more than that. Fika is an experience that does involve coffee and cookies but is more about the conversation and connection. It really focuses on the human power of collaboration. This idea of fika is woven into Sweden’s culture of innovation. It becomes clear that when shared beliefs underpin collaboration, the impact can be extraordinary.

Fika, in Sweden

Our conversations with customers and partners helped me see how the powerful winds of innovation that have converged with local customs, values, and ways of living, helped create something unique.

How are Swedish customers using the cloud

These conversations helped uncover the essence of Sweden’s digital transformation while exploring the country’s dynamic technology landscape. Below are just a few of the Swedish customers who are transforming their businesses to adapt to the growing needs of their customers in Sweden, and beyond:

  • Storekey is a Stockholm-based startup that is helping retail businesses flourish and meet the demands of an ever-evolving industry. Storekey is helping retailers by removing friction for the consumers and the retailers through an autonomous technology platform and the benefits of e-commerce to physical stores.
  • Handelsbanken is one of Sweden’s top banks, which provides universal banking services through a nationwide branch of networks in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, and is built on a strong emotional bond with their customers. They realized using cloud services is something that increased their capability for innovation, improved employee experiences, and created better interactions with their customers. This adoption of the latest cloud technology has helped Handelsbanken innovate, in a trusted way, in collaboration with their customers.
  • Swedbank is a multinational bank, based in Stockholm, who saw the flexibility and scalability of the cloud as a way to innovate by using AI and machine learning to enhance security measures to protect against criminal activities such as bank fraud.

Building a sustainable future

On my trip in Sweden, I sat down with Annika Ramsköld, the Chief Sustainability Office at Vattenfall, an energy company who is making waves with their commitment toward a fossil free future. Sustainability is not a trendy buzzword in Sweden, it is fundamental for Swedish organizations and their partners, and Vattenfall is very focused on holding their suppliers and partners, such as Microsoft, to their same sustainability requirements.

“It is our purpose. Everything we do, we want to help the entire society to be fossil free. That means every little piece of the supply chain, whether it is transport, or the way you extract materials, or the way you produce that material, should be fossil free and be done in a responsible way.”— Annika Ramsköld

I couldn’t agree more with Annika, as our own corporate commitments to be carbon negative, water positive, with zero waste, are echoing similar commitments by Vattenfall. Our partnership with Vattenfall has helped us make our Sweden Central datacenter region one of our most sustainable regions globally, and an example of how a partnership with a common vision can help us bring a supply of sustainable services to our customers.

A Microsoft datacenter building in Sweden Central region

The reach of cloud technology

Technology does not define people and culture but instead culture defines technology and how we use it. I learned in Sweden, their approach to collaboration, their approach to the fika, has shaped their usage of technology, bringing Swedish innovation to the entire world. I can’t wait for my next trip to learn even more.

Watch the Cloud Cultures: Sweden episode today.

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