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Microsoft industry cloud could be worthwhile consideration, Info-Tech Research Group

Global IT research and advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group has released insights that explore the industry cloud market, touching on Microsoft’s market expansion and what it could mean for industry-specific organizations looking to move to the cloud in 2022.

As background, in the spring of 2021, Microsoft announced the expansion and public preview of industry-specific cloud-based solutions. These industry clouds are designed to provide an easy transition for various industry verticals to move quickly to the cloud and attain faster ROI with templated workflows, APIs, and analytics through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“The industry cloud market represents one of the largest vertical growth opportunities for technology suppliers,” says Ted Walker, a Principal Research Director at Info-Tech. “More than five hundred industry clouds have already been created globally, and revenue in this space is expected to exceed $20 billion by 2023.”

Industry clouds focus on specialized processes with tools and business services dedicated to a specific industry. Designed with industry challenges in mind, these cloud-based solutions can enable organizations to jump ahead and deliver value at a record pace.

“These cloud-based systems are heavily customized to meet the needs of specific industry segments and accommodate the regulatory, business, legal, security, and other requirements within each particular industry,” explains Walker. “General cloud computing has a horizontal integration with similar services for all, whereas the industry clouds are vertically integrated into specific industry needs.”

Microsoft industry clouds
Building on lessons learned and experience gained from its specialized partitioned Cloud for Government, Microsoft is now focusing on expanding similar offerings to specific industry verticals.

“Microsoft continues to drive digital transformation with tailored industry solutions hosted on the Azure platform,” adds Walker. “Throughout 2021, Microsoft announced several new industry-focused solutions to build out a growing portfolio of pre-architected cloud-based solutions.”

Alongside Microsoft, Amazon’s AWS and Salesforce have been developing industry clouds. However, Info-Tech’s research shows that no clear leader has emerged in this market space.

“Industry-specific solutions are built on Microsoft workloads,” shares Walker. “They are not separate instances of Azure but rather a set of templated workflows, APIs, and compliance modules. These solutions are sold as tenant or user add-ons to other Microsoft subscriptions such as Dynamics 365, Power Platform, or Microsoft 365.”

These industry solutions also leverage various Azure technologies, including Compute, Containers, AI/ML, SQL, BI, and Web. Microsoft also uses a host of non-Microsoft technologies, operating systems, and database environments to further expand the compatibility and reach of its industry-specific solutions.

Pricing strategy
Microsoft pricing varies by industry and requirements. Add-ons can be priced per user or at the tenant level for up to $30,000 per month.

A pricing example of MS Cloud for non-profit may have add-ons with a variety of required qualifying licenses. It is dependent on the non-profit scenarios that are important in such areas, such as fundraising, volunteer engagement, and management. It’s a tenant-wide license available through the EA, CSP, and Web Direct. There’s a Basic Plan, which is free, a Standard Plan 1 (for fewer than 250 employees) at $750 per month, and a Standard Plan 2 for more than 250 employees at $2,000 per month. All are priced at the tenant level.

“For Healthcare, Microsoft offers a $95-per-user add-on that provides additional capabilities for Teams, Power Platform, and Dynamics 365, including Patient Insights, Virtual Health, Care Coordination, and more,” says Walker.

Most industry-specific add-ons will have an underlying or qualifying license requirement. This could be Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, or possibly Power BI with SQL.

CT Bureau

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