Microsoft’s complete cloud helps businesses thrive

Today, Microsoft is hosting c-level executives from around the world to talk about how technology is driving business transformation. The CxO Next event brings together CEOs, CMOs and other c-level business leaders with IT leadership to facilitate a conversation about how their businesses are shifting and the impact cloud is having on their organizational IT plans.

I often speak with customers about the ways we are helping companies transform into digital businesses and how that enables greater responsiveness in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. As there becomes less separation between our digital work and digital life, enabling experiences delivered across devices and through the cloud is so important. Recently Satya Nadella, CEO, and Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group, talked about the possibilities enabled by Microsoft’s cloud and the ongoing investments we are making. At the event Satya outlined how Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics deliver the industry’s most complete cloud solution – a fact that is supported by its users. Today, more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using the Microsoft cloud.

Two recent examples that will be highlighted at today’s CxO Next event are Dana Holding Corp and VF Corp. Both of these customers are doing innovative things to transform their businesses via cloud technology.

Moving parts of the business to the cloud, or choosing a platform which enables it in the future, is imperative for any company or organization that wants to grow, create greater efficiencies and differentiate themselves. Despite these benefits, some business leaders may still have concerns about moving to the cloud. I’d like to offer a few insights for those who are grappling with the “what, why, when and where” of cloud adoption.

Why is moving to the cloud a business imperative?

One of the great by-products of a mobile-first, cloud-first world, is its ability to transform businesses and organizations into technology companies. This happens because the cloud is both infrastructure and the platform for applications that will help your business be successful now and in the future. This is true for every industry and in every country. The mobility of the human experience is not limited to developed nations, or technology companies. Mobility touches everyone whether they are consumers, constituents or employees and the cloud is uniquely enabling it. For example, retailers need the cloud to compete in a world where personalization and time to market are imperatives. Financial institutions must compete in highly regulated markets where massive computational needs will only grow. Manufacturers require real time access to their systems and the ability to utilize the data they create to deliver value back to the business. Governments rely on the cloud to find cost-effective ways to improve the lives of its citizens.

Demographic shifts are driving business transformation and the need for the cloud

People don’t do anything like they used to, and technology is a fundamental part of the evolving human experience. Millennials, who are projected to be 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, are starting to have greater influence over buying decisions, and have completely different norms. They are always connected and have instant access to information. Millennials can make, shape or break a brand through cloud-powered experiences like crowdsourcing and social media. The urgency for companies to transform into digital businesses has become more acute due to the growing percentage of millennials who expect similar digital experiences whether as a consumer, employee or citizen. Successful businesses and organizations must move to the cloud to prevent new market entrants from cornering the future by securing the confidence of this important demographic.

Why you should consider Microsoft for your cloud transformation

We’ve invested heavily in our cloud business to establish the operational rigor and security that enterprise organizations require. We also offer the most choice and flexibility in the cloud, enabling our customers to choose the approach that’s right for their business. What makes the Microsoft cloud unique is that it offers three very important things: the option to deploy a hybrid environment, hyper-scale infrastructure and an enterprise grade experience across both our infrastructure and higher level services. I’d like to take a moment to drill into each of these.

Hybrid approach: Taking a “hybrid approach” to the cloud means you can maintain your on premise infrastructure for some things, like personally identifiable information, and move to the cloud for other things. This approach ensures you get the power of the cloud where you want it – in our public cloud, in a service provider’s or in your own datacenter.

Hyper-scale and enterprise grade: Global companies need cloud solutions that have “hyper-scale” and are “enterprise grade.” By the end of 2014, Microsoft Azure will be operational in 19 regions around the world — at least double the number of any other public cloud provider. Hyper-scale allows organizations to reach the maximum number of their customers, realize incredible economic value and run the most challenging workloads. Our cloud services also meet critical security, reliability and availability needs, along with having all the languages, tools and frameworks organizations need and want to run.  These requirements have led Office 365 to be Microsoft’s fastest growing product ever. Companies using the Microsoft cloud (including Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Azure) can feel confident in their decision to adopt these technologies.

We’re incredibly proud of the work we’ve done to enhance our cloud offering over time. As we continue to help companies transform to digital businesses, we’re committed to providing solutions which deliver impact and measurable value.