Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, sent an email to all Microsoft employees on Saturday congratulating them on their efforts to support the company and the global resistance to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis,media reported. and help rescuers around the world improve their work efficiency and productivity.
Surprisingly, Microsoft is helping in a number of different ways, from the mundane blocking of COVID-19 spam to the free donation team to the NHS, to working with biology companies to study the human immune system’s response to the new coronavirus.
Here’s the full email:
Together against COVID-19
COVID-19 is affecting everyone around the world and every aspect of our daily lives: our social interactions, our family life, our communities, and, of course, the way we all work at Microsoft. As I shared at thursday’s plenary meeting, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you for the innovative and collaborative approach you have strengthened during this crisis to support our companies and customers. It is this moment that reminds us of the importance of doing something for each of us and for uniting as a community. Please know that I and the senior leadership team are considering you and putting the health and safety of you and your family first. We meet every day and discuss how to best support you during this time. It’s nice to see you actively working to help.
In times of turmoil and uncertainty, it is vital that we have the ability to build on a sense of purpose and be faithful to who we are. I’ve reflected on that because I’ve seen the best work we’ve done in the last few weeks for our company and around the world.
Earlier this year (somewhat early in the year), I wrote on LinkedIn about the purpose of a company, using the definition of “profitable solutions to human and earth problems” by Colin Mayer, a professor at Oxford University, and the way our company’s approach was consistent with the concept. Now, as we work to address the impact of COVID-19, this is more correct than ever.
We are steadfast in our mission to empower everyone and every organization on Earth. No company alone will solve such a challenge, and it will require a joint effort by the private and public sectors to reverse the COVID-19 outbreak. Our unique role as a platform and tool provider enables us to connect, build a partner ecosystem, and enable organizations of all sizes to build the digital capabilities needed to meet these challenges. At this extraordinary time, it is clear that software, as the most malleable tool ever, plays a huge role in every industry in the world. Our responsibility is to ensure that the tools we provide are able to accomplish our tasks.
I am proud of how we adopt the first responder mindset across the company, working with many front-line customers, including governments, healthcare providers, schools, food suppliers and other business customers who are critical to the continuity and stability of our services in every country. There is no doubt that our workflow is changing rapidly, and many of you are doing a lot of work remotely for the first time, and some are still taking care of your children at home. I’m studying myself because I’m sharing a home office with my two teenage daughters. There is no script for this, and more than ever, there is a need for deep empathy and understanding of each other’s situation.
We are providing critical infrastructure to the communities in which we operate, and those communities are counting on us. There are many examples of this: in healthcare, our technology is used for telemedicine, enabling users to share data and access critical information with intuitive solutions. The St. Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania is using the group to video chat with patients most at risk of COVID-19. Last week, we released a new Power Platform template that helps customers share and collaborate in a crisis, which has been installed by more than 2,000 customers worldwide. Hospitals in Sweden and elsewhere in Seattle are using Power Apps and Power BI to manage the inventory of beds and essential supplies and share this information with others in the region. Johns Hopkins University has created an interactive dashboard to visualize and track COVID-19 cases in real time. All data collected is available through the GitHub repository, which is hosted on Azure by our partner Esri’s ArcGIS mapping and analysis software. Another of our partners, Blue Yonder, is taking data from public health sources such as the CDC and combining it with customer data to gain important insights into the potential impact on customers’ supply chains during this pandemic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) itself has released an assessment tool based on our Healthcare Robotics service that quickly assesses the symptoms and risk factors associated with an infected person. The robot uses AI to recommend next steps, such as contacting a provider, or safely managing the disease at home for people who don’t need medical attention in person. Other healthcare providers in the United States and Europe are also using the service, sending more than a million messages a day. Most importantly, the solution frees up doctors, nurses, managers, and other healthcare professionals to provide intensive care to those who need it most.
Across the public sector, we are working with governments to help them interact with citizens, share guidance, and enable employees to work remotely. Governments in Italy, Kuwait, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and many other countries are using Microsoft 365 to coordinate their responses and our services to keep citizens informed. Dealers in Canada, Ireland, and the U.S. are using Power Apps and Power Platform to streamline processes and help employees in each dealer communicate effectively.
In education, schools and universities around the world are turning to distance learning teams: a professor at the University of Bologna in Italy shared how the school moved 90 per cent of its 80,000 students online in three days, the first move by the 900-year-old university. A japanese elementary school has a graduation ceremony at Minecraft, setting up its own virtual auditorium and seating to maintain a sense of community and belonging, which is so important in times like this.
In terms of security, we are using our AI and human intelligence features to prevent attacks designed to exploit virus-induced anxiety. As part of a recent spear phishing campaign, the attacker created an e-mail message that appeared to be a legitimate supply chain report related to COVID-19. Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection protects all customers by identifying and blocking in-transit attacks and shared signals through the Microsoft Defender service.
And we’re seeing organizations of all sizes in all areas adopt Teams and Microsoft 365 to enable their employees to work remotely while maintaining productivity, collaboration, and community awareness. Accenture estimates that the average time spent on weekly team meetings is an astonishing 150 million minutes, while companies like Icertis rely on our cloud services to ensure that employees who demand high network bandwidth stay productive at home.
We also know that technology can play a role in accelerating the process of addressing pandemics. We are working with research institutions to create an open, machine-readable data set for all scientific literature on COVID-19. We hope that this content will help researchers gain a better understanding of and methods of addressing the epidemic. We are expanding our existing partnership with Adaptive Biotechnologies to map the immune system’s response to COVID-19 and will provide free data sets to accelerate the development of treatments. Scientists are using tools such as GitHub to advance distributed computing projects that use volunteers’ personal computers to help researchers develop potential therapies.
Finally, we are mobilizing across the company to address the broader social and economic impact of the virus. To address the enormous difficulties that losing jobs can cause employees and families, we pay their regular wages to employees at retail stores and hourly service providers at affected sites around the world, regardless of the length of their working hours. We are providing relief funds to local communities and financial support to people on the front lines and affected small businesses. Our Social Impact Technology team is working with non-profit organizations and international organizations such as the United Nations to facilitate remote work and assist in their crisis response. Last week, we released solutions from other non-profit organizations and international organizations that will offer six months of service free of charge.
More broadly, we are trying to make people aware of the development of COVID-19. We bring trusted news and facts to LinkedIn members, and Bing has introduced a COVID-19 tracker that displays the latest confirmed case statistics worldwide. We are working with Facebook, Google, Twitter and others to provide authoritative content on the new virus on all of our platforms to combat fraud and misdirection.
These are just a few examples of corporate heroism, and they are by no means comprehensive, and I want to thank you for your hard work and effort in these difficult times. We are in uncharted territory. Many things are unknown, and I know it’s unsettling and uncertain. Like many of you, I’ve felt a lot of pressure and frustration over the last few weeks. I am concerned about the health and safety of my family, colleagues and friends. My wife and I are worried about her elderly parents, who are far away from us in India. I’ve seen the struggles of our local community and the world, empty streets and restaurants, and I want to know when we can restore our social fabric.
One of the comforting things is the fact that the virus knows no borders and its cure knows no borders. As a global community, we are together. For me, I find that the best way to get rid of anxiety is to focus on what I can do every day to make a difference. No matter where we are, each of us has the opportunity to do the same thing – take hope-driven action, which is a small step to make things better. If everyone does something to make the world a better place, then our collective efforts will actually make our world a better place, for the people we love, for our communities, for our societies.
I am proud to work at Microsoft every day and rely on all of you.