One year on and the verdict is in: customers are winning with Azure


Attributed to: Toby Bowers, Cloud & Enterprise Business Group Lead, Microsoft Australia

It is exactly 12 months since we unveiled two local Azure data centres in Australia, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, adding to the hyper-scale of the unparalleled Microsoft Cloud global footprint.

There is no doubt the cloud is fundamentally transforming the way we work. Enterprises and entrepreneurs alike are turning to the cloud to cut costs, accelerate innovation and launch new businesses. Governments, public service organisations, and educational institutions are using the cloud to better serve people and communities. Virtually every industry, in both the public and private sectors, is experiencing transformation driven by cloud technology.

In Australia the local Azure data centres have kept local businesses at the forefront of this transformation.

Over the past year, we have seen significant uptake of our cloud platform across a range of sectors – utilities, the public sector, financial services, start-ups and education – with just under 50% of our enterprise customers using the platform today. At the same time, we have witnessed an extraordinary level of innovation and creative evolution in the cloud from industry disruptors, with 40% of Azure usage coming from small & medium business, ISVs and start-ups.

The global growth of the Microsoft cloud is significant as well. At the latest count more that 85% or Fortune 500 companies are using Microsoft Azure, with more than 93,000 new Azure subscriptions each month.

To support this exponential growth, we are investing in our people, tripling the size of our Azure team locally, including a new team of cloud architects to help our customers realise value from the platform – and we’re still hiring!

We’re investing in our partners with technical resources, training and certification to assist them to better serve our customers in leveraging the latest and greatest platform innovations.

We’re also investing in programs designed to make it easy for customers to try and test the Azure platform, to see the transformation it can make of their business.

We’re seeing more and more customers taking advantage of the higher level of services available through Azure to drive business transformation, open new markets and disrupt industries.

One of our Partners, Perth-based Ignia, has been working with the hot start-up Scancam, which through the use of video cameras and licence plate recognition technology has developed a system that brings a multi-part solution to the expensive global problem of fill-up and drive-off fuel theft from service stations. It attacks the problem through deterrence, identification of wrong-doers, reporting automation and recovery of money.

Scancam, which is built on the Azure platform, is even using Azure Machine Learning to analyse data and predict the likelihood of such thefts on any given day.

With more than 600 features and services updates being made to Azure over the past 12 months, it’s no wonder that partners like Ignia are excited about the possibilities they can offer to customers.

Customers and partners are responding to Azure because of four main factors: scale, choice, flexibility and trust.

Azure has also enabled SEERA, a disruptive talent management software company, to enjoy extraordinary growth during its short life. Built on the Azure platform, the agile, innovative company is utilising every part of the Azure toolkit, developing 10 to 15 new features a week for its talent management software. Fourteen provisional patents have been filed and the company is planning expansion to Asia and Europe using the Azure’s global platform.

Scancam and SEERA are just two of the customer stories that testify to changes that Azure enables companies to contemplate – on a time, cost and innovation basis – for the first time.

When you look at cloud offerings more broadly you’ll see that we’re the only company building a hyper-scale public cloud, while also meeting customer needs for private and hybrid cloud. When combined with other Microsoft first party cloud services like Office 365, CRM Online and Power BI, together with the business transforming ability of big data, advanced analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT), you have an offering that can’t be beat.

And customers are responding. Just last week we announced that the NSW Government will be providing Office 365 to its 150,000 public servants. Their decision was no doubt made easier by the Australian Signals Directorate Certification of Azure and Office 365 in April.  This Certification for the handling of unclassified and sensitive data was performed through the Australian Government’s Independent Registered Assessors Program (IRAP) and now significantly streamlines the process for any government agency to confidently adopt our cloud services.

Even gamers can benefit from the speed and performance of the local Azure data centres, enjoying the ultimate online gaming experience, with lightning quick connection speeds, centralised local hosting and improved reliability on selected Xbox One games such as Halo 5: Guardians, launching on 27 October 2015, exclusive to Xbox One.

We’ll have a lot more to share at our Ignite Australia, our premier tech-fuelled enterprise event, where you can get answers, test-drive technologies, and connect with peers, tech leaders, and Microsoft experts.



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