Microsoft creates industry-specific clouds for finance, manufacturing, others

Microsoft is creating clouds for specific industries. Today, the company announced Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing and Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit.

The company had already been working on specific clouds for healthcare and retail.

Microsoft created its industry clouds by bringing together its own services, including Microsoft 365 and Teams, Azure, and security solutions, along with common data models, cross-cloud connectors, and industry-specific components and standards.

Microsoft’s investment in industry-specific solutions is not new, said Microsoft VP for Business Applications and Global Industry Alysa Taylor in a blog. And it’s been working with these particular industries for years, cross-collaborating on custom solutions.

But the industry-specific clouds take these relationships to the next level. Microsofts says it has “a deep commitment to security, compliance and trust.” Its clouds include more than 90 certifications and more than 35 industry-specific compliance offerings.

Financial services

The financial services industry is deeply traditional, but it has been steadily disrupted the past few years by trends like e-commerce and cryptos. Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services brings multi-layered security and compliance coverage for the financial vertical. With this new cloud service, retail banks can embed digital collaboration into their process workflows and enhance insights to help reduce fraud.

Public preview is planned for March 2021.

Manufacturing and non-profits

Manufacturers have been moving toward data-driven automation, IoT, machine learning and AI for years. Available for public preview by the end of June, Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is designed to deliver capabilities that support the core processes and requirements of the industry.

Meanwhile, non-profits are often challenged with a patchwork of disparate systems and pockets of disconnected data. Microsoft Cloud for Non-profit creates a connected, consistent platform. Launching in public preview by the end of June, the service will connect the cloud capabilities of Microsoft to the most common non-profit scenarios such as constituent engagement, program design and delivery, volunteer management and fundraising, all brought together by the non-profit common data model.

Clouds for retail and healthcare

Microsoft Cloud for Retail will be available for public preview in March. Using this industry cloud, retailers can build more targeted customer recommendations, expand their fulfillment options, simplify payment processing and benefit from comprehensive fraud protection.

Speaking at an investor conference in December, Microsoft’s EVP of Worldwide Commercial Business Judson Althoff talked a little bit about the cloud giant’s edge aspirations in retail. Althoff gave the example of Kroger grocery stores, which is connecting advertisers with customers, digitally, in a personalized way by using Kroger’s proprietary data.

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And finally, Microsoft is targeting the healthcare ecosystem with its Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. One functionality is to securely connect healthcare providers digitally with patients who have canceled or deferred important elective procedures due to the disruptions from Covid-19. This cloud is already being used by Mary Washington Health System based in Virginia.