More Microsoft Industry Clouds See Daylight at Ignite

Microsoft announced several advances in its industry-specific cloud efforts during the 2021 Ignite virtual conference this week.

Microsoft's industry cloud program packages Azure, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Teams and Power Platform capabilities into cloud-based services directed at specific verticals. They're supported by additional services from Microsoft partners with expertise in particular industries.

Microsoft started with two industry clouds, both generally available for about a year now: Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Microsoft Cloud for Retail. This past February, Microsoft indicated it was planning to add three more industries to the program: finance, manufacturing and nonprofit.

Though not directly under the industry cloud umbrella, Microsoft also has existing cloud offerings for government bodies, as well as a Cloud for Sustainability program (currently in preview).

Generally Available: Finance and Nonprofit
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services and Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit.

Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services comes with features to help banks improve customer and employee experiences, according to Microsoft. More broadly, it's designed to help financial institutions modernize their processes to meet evolving customer needs, according to Satish Thomas, vice president of Industry Clouds + Solutions Engineering at Microsoft.

"Expectations around digital experiences in the financial services industry are increasing at an accelerated pace -- bolstered by the pandemic and an onslaught of disruptive innovation," he wrote in a blog post. "Industry leaders view modern digital experiences as the 'next frontier' to gain insights, collaborate, and sustainably differentiate across customer and employee experiences."

Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit, meanwhile, is adapted for business scenarios unique to nonprofit organizations, such as fundraising and volunteering. "These integrated solutions help address urgent challenges, ranging from constituent/supporter engagement to data management to program design and delivery," Microsoft said.

A virtual Microsoft session scheduled for Dec. 7 called "Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit: New tools to accelerate your mission" will provide more details on the nonprofit cloud product.

In Preview: Manufacturing
Now available as a preview release is Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing, which combines partner solutions and existing technologies in Microsoft's cloud stack to "seamlessly connect people, assets, workflows and business processes." There are also capabilities to help businesses stay compliant with manufacturing-specific standards and regulations.

The preview release of Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is especially timely, with many businesses around the world currently grappling with the global supply chain crisis.

"Supply chain and manufacturing disruptions are here to stay, bringing with them an intensified need for innovation and evolution," Microsoft said. "Manufacturers across industries are asking for help accelerating the transformation of all aspects of their end-to-end business."

With Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing, Microsoft promises to alleviate some of the pain points of supply chain disruptions across business segments, from customer engagement to engineering.

Updated: Healthcare
Microsoft launched Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare a year ago, during the 2020 Ignite event. This week, the company recapped some recent updates to the service, including improvements to patient engagement, health care data modeling and collaboration capabilities.

"Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare continues to produce capabilities built on top of the secure, compliant Microsoft cloud that offers healthcare organizations the scale and performance needed for managing their specific workflows, accelerating access to data insights and unifying data governance that helps their organization manage and govern their data, wherever it resides," wrote Tom McGuinness, Microsoft corporate vice president of Worldwide Health, in a blog post.

Microsoft is working with partners to add capabilities to Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. One such partner is Truveta, which maintains a clinical data repository of de-identified patient information from over a dozen major health care providers. Data on the Truveta platform is meant to help clinicians, researchers and scientists track population health trends and develop new treatments. Microsoft plans to eventually incorporate Truveta's data platform into Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, McGuinness said.

"In the future, the Truveta platform will be integrated into Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, unlocking new insights for precision medicine and clinical analytics from the world's largest de-identified health dataset."

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.