Australia Post renews partnership with Microsoft to boost security and foster successful AI adoption

By Steven Worrall, Managing Director of Microsoft Australia and New Zealand

I am delighted to share the news that Australia Post has announced that it is extending its partnership with Microsoft for a further three years, demonstrating its commitment to digital transformation and embracing generative AI technologies safely and securely.

As one of Australia’s most essential services, Australia Post connects millions of people nationwide, delivering millions of letters and parcels every day. Our partnership extension will play an important role in Australia Post’s delivery of its Post26 Strategy, enabling it to continue delivering on its purpose of creating connections and opportunities that resonate with every Australian.

Our extended agreement is focused on introducing new cloud capabilities using Microsoft Azure and uplifting security across the business to enable Australia Post to explore generative AI’s potential with greater confidence around data privacy and security. To date, our partnership has included early access to Copilot for Microsoft 365 for an initial cohort of Australia Post employees to explore AI in a safe and secure way, alongside AI skilling programs.

Strengthening security in an AI-enabled world  

As a critical infrastructure organisation, Australia Post deals with an increasing number of sophisticated security threats. Protecting sensitive customer and business information is a top priority.

Microsoft’s partnership with Australia Post is helping the organisation respond to evolving security challenges and uplift its data security and privacy capabilities to support secure information flow. This will enhance secure remote access for all its people, starting with team members working from home and key technology service providers, ensuring they can access essential systems and data securely.

Australia Post’s consolidation to a single platform has enabled secure management of endpoints and enhanced protection of email accounts – two areas often targeted by cyber threat actors. By bringing these technologies into a cohesive ecosystem, the company can maintain an end-to-end view of cyber activity, ensuring a more secure business environment and greater collaboration across its technical and cybersecurity teams.

These enhanced security measures have also been vital in preparing Australia Post to adopt generative AI technologies like Copilot for Microsoft 365 with confidence.

Exploring the benefits of generative AI 

Australia Post was one of the first organisations in Australia to trial Copilot for Microsoft 365 with an initial cohort of employees as part of Microsoft’s Early Access Program. Kicking off in October 2023, this program has enabled the organisation to explore the potential of an AI-powered productivity tool that not only sits across the productivity apps they use every day – like Word, Outlook and Teams – but also inherits their existing Microsoft 365 data privacy and security policies. We had an incredible uptake for the Early Access Program from Australian customers who saw the opportunity to explore generative AI in their business in an enterprise-ready, safe and secure way.

Early indicators of Copilot’s impact on productivity are promising. Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index report found that 68 percent of global Early Access Program users felt Copilot helped improve the quality of their work. Australia Post has used the Early Access Program to explore meaningful use cases for Copilot and advance AI skills among their team members. Enabling greater inclusivity has also been a priority for Australia Post, with Copilot’s accessibility features being a key focus of the trial.

Skilling for an AI-ready workforce 

To unlock generative AI’s full potential, Australia Post recognises the importance of a culture of learning, experimentation and knowledge-sharing in new technologies. Driving a shared understanding of AI among its leaders will allow the organisation to navigate the opportunities that AI brings.

As part of this, the company is one of the first in Australia to participate in the AI4Org Academy, an initiative by Microsoft and Akkodis aimed at driving AI thought leadership and skilling.

Approximately 4,000 Australia Post employees are participating in the academy, which provides scaled AI skilling for all role types and functions. It also offers deep, workshop-style training for leaders, functional leads, developers and tech teams. This ensures that all employees, not just specific teams, are equipped to leverage AI effectively and foster a community of champions across the organisation.

The academy is designed to empower Australia Post’s people to do new things faster, better and smarter, ultimately transforming the way it operates. It’s clear that the business is ready to embrace this journey – a journey that Microsoft will support every step of the way.

A shared vision for the future 

Through its partnership with Microsoft, Australia Post is bolstering its defences against security threats and empowering its people to embrace the AI-driven future of work. This collaboration is an important part of transforming how the company manages and protects customer data, ensuring that every interaction is safe, secure and efficient.

Australia Post’s commitment to innovation, security and workforce development ensures it remains at the forefront of digital transformation, delivering services that matter to every Australian.