By Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft
The pace of digital transformation has picked up over the past year, and the impact has been felt by partners and customers across our entire ecosystem. While this increased rate of innovation continues to create opportunities for Microsoft and our partners, it also multiplies the challenges that organizations need to navigate. According to Dave Welch, VP of partner ecosystem solutions at Microsoft partner Adobe, “Digital transformation is a board level conversation that’s happening at every company today.” Our customers are more reliant on us than ever to help provide the solutions and guidance they need to stay ahead of the curve in this fast-paced business environment.
To meet the evolving needs of our customers, we’re doubling down on our long-standing commitment to provide a depth and breadth of specialized support for industries. Microsoft today announced three new industry-focused cloud offerings, including: Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing, and Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit. Additionally, we’re announcing the first wave of updates to the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, and a public preview date for Microsoft Cloud for Retail.
We have been very purposeful in how we engage with partners across industries for these Industry Cloud efforts. Microsoft services partners, systems integrators, ISVs, and advisories all play a critical role in enabling the Microsoft Cloud for our industry customers. Microsoft partner solutions provide critical building blocks to empower and activate a connected set of experiences for customers with data and AI workflows built on Microsoft Azure, human workflow with Microsoft 365, and business process workflow with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform. Having a rich partner ecosystem across the Microsoft Cloud is vital to supporting customer needs across the entire value chain for each industry.
Additionally, each industry cloud delivers a set of interconnected and composable capabilities that can be activated one at a time based on customer interest. They are fully customizable and configurable to each customer’s environment, so partners play a key role in tailoring solutions to each customer’s need. This added layer of partner-led customizability and depth is a key differentiator for us, and it positions our partner network as a vital element of the Industry Cloud experience for customers. Let’s take a look at what these industry-specific offerings mean for the future of cloud and the collective customers we serve in these industries.
Expanded Microsoft industry-focused cloud offerings
The future of the cloud is customized and purpose-built for industry. By designing clouds that meet unique industry needs, we can help amplify business resiliency and performance for entire sectors. While leaning into specialized clouds is a fresh approach, our commitment to helping you and your customers master your industry is anything but new.
“Microsoft has a strong emphasis on the manufacturing space and PTC has been a Microsoft manufacturer partner of the year for several years,” said Kathleen Mitford, chief strategy officer at Microsoft partner PTC. “One of the things I appreciate the most about PTC’s partnership with Microsoft is our joint focus and commitment on the success of our customers.”
Today, Microsoft CVP Alysa Taylor announced three new industry-focused cloud offerings, which include:
Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services: Provides a faster pathway to modernize core banking services, develop deep analytics and enable new ways to reach customers—all while meeting strict compliance requirements. Public preview is scheduled to start on March 31, 2021.
Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing: Enables manufacturers to secure remote work and the safety of frontline workers, build more agile factories, create more resilient supply chains, and enable always-on service. Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing will be available for public preview by the end of June 2021.
Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit: Creates a connected intelligent platform so staff and volunteers can focus on their mission. Launching in public preview by the end of June 2021, Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit uses our nonprofit common data model to connect our trusted cloud capabilities with common nonprofit scenarios including constituent engagement, program design and delivery, volunteer management, and fundraising.
These additional offerings will supplement the industry-centered cloud offerings Microsoft has already announced, which include:
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare: Announced in October 2020, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare provides trusted and integrated capabilities that deliver automation and efficiency on high-value workflows, as well as deep data analysis functionality for both structured and unstructured data that enable healthcare organizations to turn insight into action. Announced today, the first update will be available in April 2021 and will include new features for virtual health, remote patient monitoring, care coordination and patient self-service, and support for eight new languages.
Microsoft Cloud for Retail: Announced during NRF 2021 in January, Microsoft Cloud for Retail enriches and connects the end-to-end shopper journey, using data insights to help employees improve operations, sales, and customer service. Currently in private preview, it will be available for public preview in March 2021.
While these offerings are each intended to meet the specific needs of a particular industry, they’re also designed to work together to bring new capabilities, customizations, and standards to bear for our customers from across our broad range of solutions. This opens additional opportunity for partners to provide customized offerings to help customers capitalize on these new options.
Standing out with the Microsoft Partner Network
As we work together to help our customers embrace the future of cloud, it’s important to keep in mind the unique value our ecosystem brings to the table and how it differentiates us from our competitors. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined today, there are four key principles that guide our approach to working with industries:
1. Our offerings scale and can be customized by our unmatched global ecosystem of partners. Together we number in the hundreds of thousands, including leading ISVs and SIs in every industry. This breadth and depth of experience ensures customers have access to the solutions and experience they need to address their unique business challenges.
2. We recognize each industry is unique. Our aim is to deliver solutions tailored to the specific needs of every industry. While we all aim to unlock sustainable growth and innovation, each organization experiences different needs and challenges.
3. We work to empower customers to be successful as a trusted advisor and co-innovator—a partner. No customer wants to be dependent on a provider that sells them technology on one end and competes with them on the other.
4. We ensure that customer data belongs to our customers. We never use customer data for our own benefit.
Adhering to these principles helps set us apart in the marketplace. As Craig Hayman, CEO of Microsoft partner AVEVA said, “Microsoft has really differentiated itself over the last few years—the commitment to innovation and trust. Not just its own innovation but the power of that innovation when combined with partners like AVEVA and AVEVA’s customers who manufacturer the staples of our lives: food, medicine, power, the coffee you drink, the vaccine you take. Those customers place value on trust, partnership, and innovation.”
In addition to these four principles, our security approach also helps us stand out in the marketplace. Security, compliance, and identity are baked into our cloud offerings—not just bolted on—incorporating industry-recognized standards from edge to cloud. Microsoft recently surpassed USD10 billion in security revenue, which demonstrates the level of demand that exists for this streamlined approach to keeping data safe. Additionally, our approach to empowering people to achieve more can connect entire organizations to the right data, in the language of their industries. This helps them to respond faster and more intelligently, which results in better experiences for the end user.
This shift to industry clouds represents a massive opportunity for us to assist our customers with their digital transformation journey. As tech intensity increases, it’s critical for organizations to maximize every advantage they can find—and by magnifying the capabilities of industry clouds for your customers, you better position them to thrive both now and in the future. I’m confident that as we work together to help our customers realize this potential, we’ll also unlock sustainable growth for our own organizations throughout 2021 and beyond.
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