Microsoft Cloud — Industry and Horizontal Solutions
This is the final post in my Top 5 Emerging Trends in the Microsoft 365 Cloud Adoption Journey Blog Series
Microsoft has been on a journey to support industry specific solutions, personas, regulations, certifications, and scenarios for the majority of my 13+ years with the company.
Over the past few years, there have been numerous organizational and product/service changes to further align with this goal. For example, in the United States we have had dedicated customer account teams focused on industry segments including Education, Financial Services, Government, Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Retail (among others). This enables these teams to go deeper on understanding specific use cases and requirements that are applicable to each specific industry and specialization (e.g. payors, providers, and life sciences segments within healthcare). This has included investments in industry focused blogs (such as for Health and Life Sciences) and events (such as the NurseHack4Health).
Microsoft also continues to focus on industry agnostic and horizontal needs as well that build the base platform for all services. For example, common personas including Finance, Operations, Sales, Human Resources, Corporate Communications, Marketing, Information Technology, and others.
One of my favorite visuals/graphics is the following which summarizes the key layers and offerings that are available via the Microsoft Cloud and their integration.
This blog post will summarize some of the key trends and resources that I have been observing and leveraging in my customer and partner conversations.
Horizontal Solutions and Trends
Regardless of customer industry, there are a number of common trends and patterns that we have been observing. These include:
- Microsoft WorkLab summarizes some of the common trends, observations, and research. One theme is focused around patterns for both hybrid and remote work as more people continue to return to the office. Microsoft has shared some of our lessons learned from our own experience and customer conversations.
- Microsoft has made a strong commitment to sustainability. In July 2021, Microsoft announced our plans for helping our customers and partners achieve their own sustainability goals via the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability which will be available across industries.
- The Microsoft Adoption resources provide a great starting point for developing and refining your training and communication plans in a way that is tailored to the needs of different roles across most organizations. This includes “day in the life” guides and examples.
- The Productivity Library focuses on mapping technical solutions to persona roles and use cases. Rather than starting with a specific product/technology, this approach looks at common scenarios and tasks that different individuals and departments need to perform and then recommends options to satisfy the needs.
- As discussed in my prior blog post, both Microsoft Viva and SharePoint Syntex provide additional capabilities to support organizations with creating their Employee Experience Platform (EXP) and automate business processes. A great example of that is this open sourced solution for managing contracts with Microsoft 365.
- My other blog posts in this series covered other related trends including Teams as a Platform, Power Platform, and Security and Compliance which are applicable across a variety of industries.
Industry Solutions and Trends
While the above are applicable across most customers and industries, Microsoft recognizes that each industry often has specific personas, use cases, compliance, regulations, and other requirements that are unique.
- The Microsoft Industry Clouds site summarizes our vision and offerings across all industries.
- The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is the initial offering currently with solutions focused primarily on provider scenarios. This is an evolution of work that has been done over the past few years including our Dynamics 365 healthcare accelerator and the Azure Healthcare API (such as FHIR — Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources).
- Additional industry specific offerings are in process including the announced acquisition of Nuance.
- Microsoft also continues to invest in solutions optimized for Firstline Workers across numerous industries including healthcare, retail, and manufacturing.
We will continue to see Microsoft offer solutions that map to both industry specific and horizontal business needs. My discussions with customers and partners these days are focused more on business outcomes, use cases, scenarios, and personas than just technical plumbing and infrastructure. We are not only talking about specific products and tools but now are more focused on what challenges we can address together and how we can truly empower every individual and organization on the planet to achieve more by understanding what they need to be successful and helping map and apply technology to meet those needs.