Harnessing technology to adapt across industries: Customers embrace remote everything and purpose-driven digital for a better future

Sri Lankan woman in tea field

In Sri Lanka, a cloud-based auction system keeps buyers and sellers socially distanced during COVID-19, safeguards a 150-year old tea industry, and protects the livelihoods of almost 2 million people.

Microsoft Inspire, our annual partner conference, kicks off tomorrow and we have transitioned the event to an all-digital format to maintain social distancing amid the global pandemic. This new format requires an evolution in how we engage with our partners to share content and ideas while providing an opportunity to connect with each other, consider the influential tech trends that lay ahead, and work together to bring innovation to life for our mutual customers. This change in approach exemplifies the many ways customers across industries are adapting in a COVID-19 world. By using digital technologies, they are becoming more resilient, accelerating their recovery, and maneuvering to anticipate customer needs.

FedEx worker

FedEx and Microsoft combine a global digital logistics network and the power of the intelligent cloud to transform commerce.

There are many examples this past quarter of how our customers are embracing change, including “remote everything,” while uncovering innovation — and opportunity — in a new normal. In a multiyear collaboration with FedEx, we shared plans to reinvent the end-to-end commerce experience globally, creating opportunities for FedEx customers and enabling businesses to better compete in a growing digital landscape powered by Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365. We also launched a cloud platform in partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and Adobe to provide WBA customers with personalized health care and shopping experiences, further enhancing WBA’s loyalty program and advancing its digital transformation. Plus, we are continuing to partner with software companies like Workday and SAS to deliver new solutions at scale on Azure to help our joint customers improve business performance with our cloud technologies. Collaborating with these companies and other ISVs allows us to introduce more repeatable solutions into the marketplace and accelerate our customers’ cloud journey.

Medical worker using HoloLens

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in the United Kingdom uses Microsoft HoloLens to protect doctors while providing patient care amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In healthcare, the industry continues to make advances in research and primary care to prevent infection, treat, or find a vaccine for COVID-19. In support of those and other efforts, we launched Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. It is our first industry-specific cloud offering that brings together trusted and integrated capabilities for customers and partners to enrich patient engagement and connect health teams to improve collaboration, decision-making and operational efficiencies. We also announced alliances with ImmunityBio to perform computational analysis on the coronavirus using the power of our cloud, and UnitedHealth Group to launch ProtectWell™, a return-to-workplace protocol powered by Microsoft cloud and AI technologies that helps manage employee symptom screening to create a safer work environment. In London, doctors at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have adopted HoloLens to limit the number of clinicians needing to enter high-risk areas of their hospital during COVID-19, while maintaining the highest levels of care and saving up to 700 items of personal protective equipment (PPE) per ward each week. Baltimore, Maryland-based Johns Hopkins shared how it is combining the power of Azure and AI with its research expertise to support its inHealth Precision Medicine Analytics Platform to drive new medical discoveries and improve disease management. NHSX/NHS Digital are enabling organizations across England to support first-line workers during the pandemic, providing as many as 1.2 million workers with Microsoft 365 digital tools while Premera Blue Cross, the leading health insurance provider in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, has deployed 500 Surface devices for its office workers to deliver wellness and prevention care to more than 2 million of its members.

In financial services, BNY Mellon announced the launch of three new data and analytics solutions offerings and the expansion of our relationship to build data, technology and content solutions for investment managers. Volkswagen Financial Services is adopting a DevOps approach to help consumers and businesses buy and lease VW vehicles and fleets across 80 web apps in nearly 10 countries. And in the Netherlands, Rabobank is strengthening client relationships and driving sustainable growth by migrating 40,000 employees to Microsoft 365 to deliver a secure and cooperative workplace experience.

In manufacturing and logistics, we announced a partnership with Sony Semiconductor Solutions to make AI-powered smart cameras and video analytics easier to access and deploy across industries – for instance, a manufacturer might use smart cameras to identify hazards on its manufacturing floor in real-time before injuries can occur. We also shared how we are working with Hitachi to build resilient supply chains and equip first-line workers with predictive maintenance and remote assist capabilities to boost productivity and operational efficiency. Additionally, GE Aviation announced they are offering a new digital fuel dashboard at no cost to commercial airline customers using its Azure-enabled event measurement system as a way of providing operational efficiency and agility to customers affected by the pandemic.

Mobile virus testing center

Citizen Care Pod Corporation, based in Canada, collaborates with WZMH Architects, PCL Construction, Insight Enterprises and Microsoft to launch a custom mobile testing unit to help reopen the economy.

Regardless of industry, organizations are embracing these technologies as part of business continuity planning and as a strategy to modernize operations and customer experiences. PCL Construction began manufacturing and assembling Citizen Care Pods, retrofitted from shipping containers and powered by our cloud and AI technologies to support reliable, convenient COVID-19 testing for patients. Capitol Records is using our Power Platform to share marketing information across the product lifecycle, helping facilitate and streamline cross label projects, reduce costs and empower employees through no-code application development. Competitive esports organization Cloud9 is giving its teams an edge over opponents by combining data scientists and our cloud to find meaningful insights to boost individual and team performance, and our work with the Chattanooga Film Festival helped provide virtual experiences for the community under a shelter-in-place order, hosting the feature and film content on our cloud and supporting live events on Teams. In Sri Lanka, the coronavirus very nearly shut down the country’s renowned tea industry, so the Sri Lanka Tea Board and its Tea Traders Associations, with the help of a local Microsoft partner, developed an e-auction system using Azure and Teams to maintain social distancing and save almost 2 million jobs.

As organizations adapt to a COVID-19 world, their sense of purpose is taking on new meaning and encompassing where they are uniquely equipped to leverage technology innovation for good. This past quarter highlighted multiple examples of this trend, which we call “purpose-driven digital,” the art and science of leveraging technology innovation to drive business and societal outcomes for good. At Microsoft, we share this purpose and are honored to be a trusted partner and strategic advisor as we work with customers to bring new innovations to life now and in the days ahead.


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