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Azure ignites Australia’s digital transformation

Our mission – it’s to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more – to transform themselves and their business, from the smallest start up to large enterprises.

That’s the mantra that guides all our research and development in our intelligent cloud, which is the key to successful digital transformation.

It’s why 90 per cent of the Fortune 500 use the Microsoft cloud. It’s why we are signing up 120,000 new Azure customers every month. It’s why our Commercial cloud now represents more than US14 billion in annualized run rate.

This morning, Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud & Enterprise delivered the opening keynote at Ignite Australia, which brings together more than 2,500 of Australia’s leading IT professionals emerging and professional developers, digital architects, technology experts, media and analysts.

He explained how our customers and our partners leverage the cloud to digitally transform their organisations.

And, he explained how – because of the rich Microsoft ecosystem – organisations can gracefully transform. Digital transformation doesn’t need to be ‘rip and replace’, instead Azure delivers the flexibility so there can be a more measured move, taking workloads from on-premises, to hybrid, to public cloud when it suits the organisation.

We want our customers and our partners to hold the reins on this.

As Scott said we’re totally committed to building the intelligent cloud. Today we run Azure in 38 regions around the world including two datacenters in Sydney and Melbourne. And it’s a cloud you can trust with more compliance certifications than any other cloud provider – 49 at last count.

That’s why global brands like Adobe, BMW, GE, Rolls Royce and Boeing are hinging their digital transformation initiatives around Azure.

Australia’s big brands are also embracing this opportunity and recasting their business processes and their relationship with customers.

Woolworths is one of the country’s largest businesses; Woolworths Online is a significant business in its own right.

To ensure online shoppers are always supported Woolworths has moved the service into Azure – it’s leveraging Azure’s multi-region cloud in Australia to ensure maximum uptime and availability for customers today. Christmas 2016 was its busiest season ever and it ran without a hitch.

Woolworths has also got an eye on tomorrow – and because Microsoft takes care of the underlying cloud platform it means Woolworths can focus on innovation and continually enhancing the customer experience, making use of new Azure tools and services as they emerge.

As a result it has dramatically transformed how it engages with customers, supports and empowers employees, optimises operations and creates new products and solutions. Similar transformations are happening in every sector, in every size of company and right across the world.

To make this happen you need first to cultivate the organisational will to change, to reform and optimise. You need the IT skills and vision from the sort of people in the Ignite audience. And you need the rich tools and technology that Microsoft has in spades. Of course it’s easy to think that disruption is something brand new – but there have always been organisations and individuals prepared to challenge the status quo.

For example it’s 25 years since Aussie disrupted our mortgage market. But it still wants to disrupt, to transform and to create the best experience it can for its customers.

Today Aussie’s a cloud based business, running its systems in Azure so that brokers can get anywhere anytime access to information as they travel around to meet customers.

Besides that, Azure offers Aussie  the opportunity to rapidly iterate new solutions – it has a digital transformation team that’s geared to respond swiftly to what customers are asking for and to shifting market conditions. Because the underlying Azure platform is managed by Microsoft that transformation team is freed to continually iterate and optimise the broker-customer ecosystem.

It’s not just these major businesses that are being transformed by Azure – the intelligent cloud is fundamental to successful start ups and software developers. About 40 per cent of Azure business comes from these organisations.

Organisations like Gruntify.

Gruntify was born to solve management problems around civic issues. Developed in Azure, a native app lets field workers upload reports in real-time to an Azure cloud-hosted data management portal. This online portal manages, maps and actions incoming data and schedules clean-up crews.

That’s just the start of it, because Gruntify at its core is a cloud based smart data collection and collaboration platform that can be deployed for all sorts of applications – and because it’s Azure-based it offers scale and global opportunities for projects as wide ranging as tracking jaguar sightings in the Amazon to facilities management in Dubai.

It’s these sorts of transformative journeys that are shaping our most successful businesses. And it’s Azure that is their greatest ally.