I understand that there is a lot of competition when you consider all the cloud platform players out there. When I looked at what makes Microsoft unique in this space, is the fact that no other company has the complete and flexible suite of capabilities like Microsoft, and the experience to back it up. Some companies have great productivity capabilities, but doesn’t have business apps or platform experience. Some companies have great platform expertise but no productivity or apps.
Azure give us options, choice, flexibility, and back it up with rock-solid performance and security. That’s what Microsoft has been all about since the beginning.
Let’s take a moment to look at the five things that make the Microsoft Cloud different—the things we should be considering when you’re selecting a cloud vendor.
Global scale: Azure provide the worldwide reach and hyperscale needed to break cloud entry barrier giving you better economics, business agility, and availability. This is all Microsoft experience running some of the largest cloud services in the world. You get to benefit from all that knowledge, and our global platform. When you’re ready to scale—They’re ready.
Enterprise-grade: Azure have proven enterprise experience coupled with security and compliance investments giving you the confidence your business demands. Microsoft have been working very hard for decades to become enterprise-grade.
Comprehensive: Azure provide unmatched breadth of capabilities that provide IT simplification and the consistency essential for your business transformation. Azure make it easy to connect things, say a unified identity and access management system enabling single-sign on to employees.
Private, public, and hybrid cloud: This is the big one and in my opinion the biggest differentiator from the other players. Azure believe it’s critical that they provide flexible cloud services, scalability and capacity that increase the value of existing technology investments to best fit your business needs. Microsoft get that we can’t start over in the cloud overnight. You need flexibility when it comes to managing and making best use of existing on-premises investments, providing a path to the cloud, and for all your cloud needs.
People-centered experiences: Azure is committed to providing the experiences end users want, with the control the IT needs—designed to produce higher productivity and extend skillsets to cloud for innovation with minimal training costs. With Office, Dynamics, and Azure all working together, your people will be productive and delighted by the integrated experiences that just work.
There are key steps to taking advantage of these Microsoft Cloud Platform values:
The first is transforming the datacenter. There is so much complexity in how datacenters run today. IT is largely managing it as infrastructure and trying to consolidate servers and do virtualization to save money. Really what we need to do is transform the datacenter by bringing in automation. Helping IT Managers think about not just managing servers, but managing the pooled resource of compute, networking, and storage sitting in that datacenter as a shared delivery service for the business.
The second area is unlocking insights on any data. This is about helping IT bring together structured relational data inside the enterprise with unstructured non-relational data from the Web. Big Data from the Web, small data in terms of ERP and CRM, and other apps inside the firewalls really mean all data for us—and being able to bring these different data sets together to unlock insights for end users. Microsoft deliver the plumbing through SQL and our great capabilities and now they are bringing new capabilities into SQL to connect that plumbing. But Microsoft also deliver it in partnership with the Microsoft Office Division and Excel and SharePoint, where they will democratize the frontend of BI, allowing people to uniquely combine data sets and get insights they’ve never been able to get before—doing so in a way that is easy. One of the biggest issues in data today is actually end-user training and adoption. Excel and SharePoint simply disintermediate that cost entirely.
The third area is empowering enterprise mobility. This is about all the different devices that are coming into the environment today and helping IT manage the needs of the end users in their environments with the governance and support around policies for devices, data, and users as those devices come into the enterprise. Being able to do that in a consistent platform, through one pane of glass is a very powerful value proposition and it’s what we provide with Intune.
The fourth is enabling application innovation. Through the power of our application platform, our vision is to allow customers to code once and deploy to any device. We need modern capabilities that allow you to stand up apps quickly, with fast failure and repeatable iterations vis-à-vis hybrid IT and cloud services, and to bring new types of form factors and new technologies like BI and social into the app itself.
So, Azure whole strategy for the Microsoft Cloud Platform is to deliver on these four pillars for IT. What makes Azure truly unique is that Microsoft will deliver this across a consistent platform, across development, management, identity, virtualization, and the data platform itself. Microsoft ambition with the Microsoft Cloud Platform is to allow a customer in their private cloud on premises to flex their environment out to a partner cloud or to Azure public cloud. So that this notion of the Microsoft Cloud Platform delivers consistency and the ability to manage the apps’ environment and the infrastructure of commercial IT in a way that they’re not just managing in their four walls, but they’re able to take advantage of other types of clouds in a seamless way. This capability will give IT agility that they’ve never had before.