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IDC MarketScape: Microsoft a leader in IIoT platforms for manufacturing and energy

Workers assembling and constructing gas turbines in a modern industrial factory

Manufacturers, oil and gas companies, and utilities are vertical markets that we’ve seen go all-in on accelerating innovation through IoT. Azure IoT is emerging as a platform of choice for many of these enterprises as they create their own unique Industrial IoT (IIoT) strategies and practices, find new ways to harness their data streams, and unlock their digital potential.

Charts from IDC MarketScape worldwide IIoT platform in energy and vendor assessment

This IDC MarketScape vendor analysis model is designed to provide an overview of the competitive fitness of ICT suppliers in a given market. The research methodology utilizes a rigorous scoring methodology based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria that results in a single graphical illustration of each vendor’s position within a given market. The Capabilities score measures vendor product, go-to-market, and business execution in the short term. The Strategy score measures alignment of vendor strategies with customer requirements in a 3- to 5-year timeframe. Vendor market share is represented by the size of the icons.

This week our efforts in those industries gained some recognition. In two new IDC MarketScape reports reviewing current players in IIoT, Microsoft was named as a leader in a crowded field of global players, all of which have mature, comprehensive offerings of their own.

In both reports, Azure was recognized for the breadth of its current capabilities and was named to the Leaders Category in part for its strategic road map. According to the IDC MarketScape, Microsoft’s broad and flexible edge-computing strategy, its large global install base and partner network, and its continuing momentum in the industrial sector were key strengths of the platform.

The reports also mention the openness and flexibility of Azure offerings, calling out the open-source benefits of Azure IoT Edge, platform-agnostic reference architectures, and global cloud availability.  

This recognition is especially sweet because it maps directly to what we’ve been doing to advance the platform.

The manufacturing and energy sectors operate very differently and deploy IoT for many different reasons. In energy, much of the value derived from IoT comes down to maximizing the performance and lifespan of assets and equipment. IoT adoption in manufacturing focuses on assets as well, but IoT in manufacturing emphasizes the efficiency of processes and supply chains. Companies in both industries use IoT to connect with customers and deliver new and differentiated services.

The fact that we were recognized amongst such tough competition across two very different industries underscores the direction we’ve taken in the past few years. A decade ago, we were extolling IoT in a general sense and offering software to bring intelligence to edge devices and integrate with the broader platform. Today, we’re still doing that while also taking a much more industry-specific approach.

As we’ve continued to progress and learn more about how IoT can help companies achieve new forms of value from their IT, there has been a natural evolution in our ability to support not just general IT, but also the specific needs and circumstances faced by a variety of industries. Everything we’ve learned from partners and customers over the past few years has been poured back into the way we envision and develop the platform, and those efforts are showing up in capabilities that truly map to what companies need from IoT solutions today.

Our partners have been hard at work, too, developing their own expertise and specializations. The result is an ever-expanding portfolio of industry-targeted, end-to-end solutions that support high-value processes and drill down into specific functionality for virtually every industry—with Azure IoT as the canvas.

All these factors played a role in the IDC MarketScape’s assessments. In both of the reports, the IDC MarketScape considered the overall portfolio of offerings, including functionality, integration capabilities, and deployment options. The firm also considered each company’s go-to-market capabilities, including its ecosystem, adoption rates, and pricing structures. Also factored in was each vendor’s investment and expertise in IoT.

We are thrilled to have been recognized as a leader from such a comprehensive evaluation. Recognition like this is always encouraging, and it’s a sign we’re on the right track.

IoT remains an emerging field that is just catching its stride as we head into the 2020s and beyond. Staying in the ranks of leading companies on IIoT will take continued exploration and experimentation for us, for our partners, and for our customers. What is certain is our commitment to continued investment and collaboration to solve the manufacturing and energy industries’ complex technology problems.