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8 benefits of the Microsoft Cloud for retailers and brands

This is the last of a two-part series highlighting the Microsoft Cloud’s top benefits for retailers and brands. Read the first post: Rewrite the business of retail with the power of the cloud.

As I talked about in my first article, cloud computing’s current capabilities are powerful and far-reaching, with the potential to transform every aspect of a retail or consumer goods organization.

As more of our industry looks to what the cloud can offer, I wanted to share 8 benefits of Microsoft’s Cloud for retailers and brands. I highlighted eight capabilities in my last post here and will continue below.

  1. Get IT flexibility with a truly consistent hybrid cloud
  2. Protect your business with the most trusted cloud
  3. Easily implement ready-to-use IoT
  4. Power decisions and apps with unmatched intelligence
  5. Expand globally with more regions than any other cloud provider
  6. Build and extend on the leading cloud platform
  7. Power your business apps with Azure
  8. Move to the cloud with confidence

5. Expand globally with more regions than any other cloud provider

Microsoft has 40 announced Azure regions across the globe, more than any major cloud provider. Our priority on geographic expansion means you can choose the datacenter and region that’s right for you and your customers, with the performance and support you need, where you need it.

For example, our Azure datacenter expansions in India and Korea are enabling company’s like Flipkart, India’s leading marketplace, to continue its growth and to scale quickly and stay resilient, especially during peak seasons—all helping provide 100 million customers with the best online shopping experience.

In Korea, Samsung Electronics is using the global scale of the Microsoft Cloud to power an IoT solution for remote energy reduction, and LG Electronics is sending real-time data and using the scalability of virtual machines to gain insights and better serve thousands of customers. Here’s what Callaway Golf has to say about its move to the Microsoft Cloud and local datacenters in Asia, where it completely eliminated performance lags.

“By using Microsoft global datacenters, we’re able to move infrastructure for key applications and websites closer to the people who use them. It would have been extremely difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to set up this infrastructure on the other side of the world using Callaway-owned servers.” — Dan Cowles, Manager of Solution Development, Callaway Golf

6. Build and extend on the leading cloud platform

Microsoft is the only cloud provider recognized in the industry as having leading solutions in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).

Businesses can get even more value out of their investment in Azure by using one of our industry-leading SaaS services including Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security.

Azure shares many foundational capabilities with these services such as identity management through Azure Active Directory I mentioned in my last post, and mobile device management through Intune—both incredibly valuable for retailers and brands as they increase productivity through mobility and strike the right balance between access for all and security.

These Microsoft Cloud services also offer retailers and brands additional compliance benefits including accessibility, for example in Office 365 and Windows. And StaffHub, an app that makes it easy for retailers to manage shift schedules and share information with their deskless workers, helps manage complex scheduling laws that are on the rise. The Azure PaaS platform services can also help you be more productive and increase your ROI according to this Forrester Total Economic Impact study.

Here’s perspective from The Hershey Company who uses a combination of Azure solutions.

“Digital transformation is not an end, it’s a means for continual improvement. We use Azure cloud analytics to gather operational and customer insights, and we use Office 365 to share that information to drive business value. The future for Hershey is very exciting—with Microsoft cloud solutions, we are in control of our digital journey, connecting everyone to work better together and share the goodness.” — Carlos Amesquita, Chief Information Officer, The Hershey Company

7. Power your business apps with Azure

We also understand that retailers and brands have many existing mission-critical business applications helping drive their business, and the Microsoft Cloud can support them.

Azure is not just about Microsoft software. It is an open and flexible cloud that supports multiple operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, tools, databases, and devices—it’s about your business needs. We continuously work with industry-leading software vendors to certify their applications on Azure and to give you peace of mind. We have unique relationships with SAP, IBM, Oracle, and Red Hat so that you get a first-class support experience. In addition, Azure Marketplace provides more than 3,400 certified applications that are ready to be deployed.

Read why The Mosaic Company, one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients, choose Azure to support its SAP system and mission of helping the world grow the food it needs.

“Our plan to move SAP to Azure has allowed us to be more cost competitive while at the same time has improved our ability to be more responsive to new business requirements.” — Doug Mills: Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Mosaic

8. Move to the cloud with confidence

With Azure, you can move to the cloud with confidence. Azure is built on the same technologies that you (and millions of others) already trust: Windows Server, SQL Server, Active Directory, Hyper-V, and more. This means a consistent, familiar and stable environment. We provide flexible and powerful tools that help ensure a successful workload migration and validation of all cloud applications and dependencies. And you can move your virtual machines between on-premises and the cloud as often as your business needs dictate—no conversion needed.

We are also committed to giving you the best pricing and flexible options. For many apps, you can bring your existing licenses to Azure or enjoy a pay-as-you go model. You can also take advantage of various pricing plans that fit your unique needs. To learn more about how to get started, go here.

You can also watch this video of our technologies in action delivering a seamless and connected customer journey. We look forward to helping retailers and consumer brands take advantage of all that the Microsoft Cloud can offer, and helping you rewrite the business of retail and reinvent the shopping experience.

LinkedIn: Tracy Issel