Principal IT Architect Robert Venable and his team oversee MS Sales, the beating heart of financial tracking and billing at Microsoft. When the app was built 20 years ago, Microsoft released new versions of software for purchase only every few years. Now, Microsoft releases products faster, and handles billions of microtransactions from selling software as a service (SaaS)—billing pennies here and there for a Skype call, a few minutes of Microsoft Azure server time, or an Xbox avatar's new shoes. Robert and his team realized the outdated app faced imminent collapse and got to work imagining the new, scalable, cloud-based solution.

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