Office 365 users in South Africa can now access and use the cloud productivity suite from datacenters hosted in the country. Microsoft has announced Office 365 services from local servers are now generally available to customers.

The company says the expansion is part of its goal to bring locally held data services to more people Availability in South Africa has been expected as Microsoft opened its first datacenters in the country back in March. The company has facilities in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.

“The launch of these regions marks a major milestone for Microsoft as we open our first enterprise-grade datacenters in Africa, becoming the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacenters on the continent,” the company said at the time. “The new regions provide the latest example of our ongoing investment to help enable digital transformation and advance technologies such as AI, cloud, and edge computing across Africa.”

Through access to Office 365 from local datacenters, more customers can be compliant with data policies within South Africa.

“In-country data residency for core customer data helps Office 365 customers meet regulatory requirements, which is particularly important and relevant in industries such as healthcare, financial services, and government—where organizations need to keep specific data in-country to comply with local requirements.”

Expansion

Microsoft has been offering Azure from its datacenters in the country since they opened. Expansion to Office 365 brings more of the company’s cloud offerings to local facilities. Microsoft says it expects to start offering Dynamics 365 and Power Platform from the datacenters during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Redmond sees Africa as a fertile place for expansion. Microsoft has previously pointed to an IDC study that shows demand for cloud in South Africa is increasing. Indeed, the study found demand for public cloud services in the country will triple over the next five years.