Microsoft unveils three more 'industry clouds' for financial, manufacturing and nonprofit

Microsoft is continuing the vertical cloud push it started with healthcare and retail and is rolling out new cloud packages for three more industries.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is continuing to roll out more vertical cloud packages tailored for specific vertical industries. On February 24, the company announced three more of these "industry clouds" for financial services, manufacturing and nonprofit. These supplement the already-announced Microsoft cloud packages for healthcare and retail.

These industry clouds package together common data models, cross-cloud connectors, workflows, application programming interfaces and industry-specific components and standards. They are designed for use with Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform tools and other Microsoft services and are meant to connect front-end productivity tasks to backend data management, officials said.

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"Other industry clouds are just about one business process or one use case," said Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President of Business Applications and Global Industry.

Microsoft, for its part, is pulling together multiple scenarios into a single vertical cloud. In the past, systems integrators inside and outside companies would be the ones creating these kinds of templates and custom solutions. But the company still is looking to involve partners in extending and tailoring these cloud packages, Taylor said.

There are productivity and security pieces that are common across Microsoft's vertical clouds, such as Teams collaboration, Office apps and Power BI analytics. Engineering teams from Office, Dynamics, Azure and other parts of the company are meeting bi-weekly to build out these vertical clouds, Taylor said. But there are also capabilities in each that are unique to specific industries.

The Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, for example, includes features such as a prebuilt Loan Manager and Banking customer engagement. The public preview of the Financial Services cloud is slated for March 2021.

The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing will adhere to standards from the OPC Foundation, Open Manufacturing Platform and Digital Twins Consortium. The Manufacturing Cloud will be available for public preview by the end of June 2021.

And the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit includes donor-management, volunteer management and fundraising functionality. The public preview is slated to be out by the end of June.

Microsoft also announced today that its previously announced Microsoft Cloud for Retail will be in public preview as of March 2021. And the first update to the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will be available in April, which will add support for eight new languages, plus features for virtual health, remote patient monitoring, care coordination and patient self-service.

Taylor said Microsoft is in the planning phase right now to determine which additional verticals it will be targeting with industry clouds in the coming months.

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