In talking with Microsoft customers, I have found that most are not aware that Microsoft has created industry clouds (see Microsoft Industry Clouds). So I wanted to use this blog to briefly explain what they are and how they may be useful to you. To clear up a lot of confusion, despite the name, these are not clouds they are separate for Azure. Rather, they use the Azure cloud along with existing tools and products customized for a specific industry and placed within the Azure cloud (think “add-ons”).
These industry clouds package together common data models, cross-cloud connectors, workflows, application programming interfaces and industry-specific components and standards. For example, for the retail cloud a pre-built unified customer profile is included that was created using Dynamics 365 and specialty built widgets, along with machine learning models that use a retail common data model. Another example, in the nonprofit cloud, there is a Fundraising and Engagement module that is an add-on on top of Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise that handles the complex relationships nonprofit organizations have with the people they deal with.
I like to think of the industry clouds as a shortcut to getting value out of your data as you can build solutions much quicker, or even use a pre-built solution right out of the box. All of the industry solutions use the following products (in addition to Azure): Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, and Power Platform. And most use additional products such as HoloLens, LinkedIn or Azure Synapse Analytics.
The six industry clouds created so far:
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare (see announcement) – Provides capabilities to manage health data at scale and make it easier for healthcare organizations to improve the patient experience, coordinate care, and drive operational efficiency, while helping support security, compliance, and interoperability of health data. See products used and capabilities and pricing.
Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services (see announcement) – Provides capabilities to manage data to deliver differentiated experiences, empower employees, and combat financial crime while facilitating security, compliance, and interoperability. See products used and capabilities and pricing.
Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit (see announcement) – Built for fundraisers, volunteer managers, program managers, and other roles unique to nonprofit organizations, these products address the sector’s most urgent challenges. See products used and capabilities and pricing.
Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing (preview) (see announcement) – Designed to deliver capabilities that support the core processes and requirements of the industry. These end-to-end manufacturing cloud solutions include released and new capabilities that help securely connect people, assets, workflow, and business processes, empowering organizations to be more resilient.
Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability (preview) (see announcement) – An extensible software-as-a-service solution that helps you record, report, and reduce your organization’s environmental impact through automated data connections and actionable insights.
Industry clouds will also be useful for Microsoft partners: instead of building a custom solution from scratch, partners use the building blocks in each industry cloud, and then customize those. Many partners have already built solutions for the industry clouds.