Digitization is a driving priority for business leaders worldwide, whether in retail, healthcare, manufacturing, financial services—or any other industry. And over the last decade and more, the cloud has proved to be vital in realizing digital transformation agendas.
Today, as the world transitions into our post-pandemic reality, it’s clear that the cloud continues to be instrumental in helping businesses accelerate digital strategies. Many organizations realize the cloud is a critical component within their overall technology portfolio.
The benefits of cloud
It’s the cloud’s inherent properties, such as elasticity, scalability, and high availability, that have made it so attractive for businesses. Organizations looking to bolster their resiliency find the high availability of the cloud very beneficial, as well as the ability to create backup and disaster recovery solutions in simpler and lower-cost ways than is possible on-premises.
In the early days of cloud computing, business leaders may have worried about the security of cloud resources. Today, however, Microsoft Azure offers a path that enables organizations to provide greater protection across both cloud and on-premises environments through robust security and threat detection services.
Resiliency and security are just two of the benefits that the cloud brings. There are others, too, from sustainability to accelerating time to market to modernization and innovation—many more than we have space to cover here.
Paths to migrate or modernize or both
Getting started with the cloud is all about migration and modernization. The two approaches are closely interrelated: migrations provide the foundation for elastic, scalable, and secure infrastructure, while modernization utilizes that foundation to innovate legacy applications to be more agile or offer richer user experiences. The big question for many organizations is, “Where do we start?”
One of the noteworthy advantages of Azure is that it allows you to move to the cloud and execute your migration and modernization initiatives at a pace that makes sense for your business. Azure solutions for hybrid estates enable IT, teams, to manage mixed estates of on-premises and cloud resources more easily, applying consistent management and governance controls across both. That flexibility permits you to maintain some resources on-premises, even as you move other resources to the cloud, without extra complexity.
Simplifying the management of diverse IT environments is more important than ever in today’s digital world. A recent Flexera “State of the Cloud Report” notes that 82 percent of enterprises today have a hybrid cloud strategy and 92 percent have multi-cloud strategies. Azure was built to support the need for flexibility so you can have the agility and innovation of the cloud in your on-premises environments for a holistic, seamless, and secure approach that’s consistent across on-premises and cloud resources.
Expand your cloud value
Once in the cloud, you’ll be able to take advantage of numerous opportunities to increase the value of your initial investment. Just as application modernization can follow (or integrate with) your earliest migration, there are other ways to use the cloud to advance your digital goals.
For example, you might build on your new cloud infrastructure to modernize your data estate. Azure’s data and analytics services help you unify data from multiple sources so that you can get richer and more actionable business insights from your data.
The benefits of using data as a strategic asset are significant. A 2020 Harvard Business Review study found that organizations that embrace data to drive digital transformation experience:
54% increase in revenue performance
62% improvement in customer satisfaction
44% faster time to market
54% increased profit results
You can also choose to explore a number of other opportunities, such as:
Using the cloud to accelerate innovation
Increasing security and compliance
Driving consistency across hybrid IT estates
Cloud is transforming industries
Cloud-enabled digital transformation is happening across industries worldwide. Many organizations are already using the cloud to address their most pressing business challenges. Let’s look at a small sample to see what’s possible.
In Retail, evolving buyer behaviors are prompting retailers to focus on better understanding their customers to serve their needs more effectively, and ultimately, reshape and reimagine the retail experience. At the same time, the cloud can help to bring much-needed resilience to retail supply chains, enabling more robust operations.
For example, Walmart has chosen Microsoft as its preferred and strategic cloud provider, tapping into the full range of Microsoft’s cloud solutions to accelerate digital innovation in retail. Walmart’s family of brands and international businesses have been taking advantage of a broad base of Microsoft cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and internet of things (IoT) solutions to accelerate innovation.
Other large-scale retailers like Albertsons have migrated to Azure to gain agility and scalability at a lower cost so they can confidently support increases in e-commerce and meet buyers’ changing needs during the pandemic.
Within Manufacturing, the cloud is also helping companies become more agile, innovative, and competitive to attract and retain both customers and the next generation of workers.
Finnish-based manufacturer Outokumpu is using Azure to transform the value it gets from data, enabling the company to increase output by 10-15 percent, while also bringing down quality defects by as much as 40 percent.
Cloud is helping Financial Services companies protect against growing threats like cyber and financial crime while increasing agility through the modernization of aging financial systems.
Dutch-based ABN AMRO modernized its approach to data with Azure, helping to unlock better decision-making across the company.
And in the Healthcare industry, the cloud has allowed health organizations to accelerate digitization to support the rise in virtual healthcare, enabling both patients and providers to interact virtually and access vital data while securing sensitive information.
Australian-based New South Wales Health Pathology offers a great example of an organization that’s innovating diagnostics by using Azure to deliver a modern digital health platform.
Another example is German-based Siemens Healthineers, which provides digital health services to cloud-connected customers through an Azure-based digital health platform. By using Azure Arc, the company can efficiently manage remote hospital machines and secure on-premises customer data with confidence.
Get started today
Microsoft offers comprehensive resources and guidance to make planning and executing your cloud migration and modernization strategy easier. Talk to us about your cloud vision and let us help you get started.