Microsoft Cloud for Retail: The wait is over, almost
- Posted on June 15, 2021
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Admittedly, announcements from Microsoft are important to us. Not quite seismic but pretty close. Avanade was founded by Microsoft and Accenture in 2000 and, as such, we work hard to know what our parents are saying and doing. So, when Shelley Bransten, Microsoft’s Global Retail Lead, announced the launch of the Microsoft Cloud for Retail a few months back, we took it as a call to action. This was big news! We needed to dig in and find out what this means for us and the retail industry!
The more we are learning about Microsoft Cloud for Retail, the more it seems to fulfill the promise of a whole new industry-specific approach to the challenges facing retailers. It brings together the power of Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Advertising on a common data model and built on a platform of security and compliance. That’s a lot of Microsoft. It’s everything your technology heart could desire, all in one place.
One of the areas Shelly points out in her announcement as having special resonance today is around data. In fact, Microsoft is using “connecting your customers, your people and your data” as the catchphrase for the announcement. On the inside of the retail operation the Cloud for Retail framework will mean improved integration between ERP and CRM systems and the ability to move from one area of the business to another with ease, allowing retailers to go to market faster and being able to reuse and repurpose their own and partner solutions. On the outside of the organization, this all translates into connecting the shopper journey seamlessly and safely.
We did some work around connecting the shopper journey for Venca, the European retailer. Their own research showed that customers felt they were being presented with generic content that didn’t necessarily target or enhance their shopping experience. Venca wanted to reconnect with consumers who had moved away from the brand and increase lead generation. Using a Dynamics 365-based platform, we centralized Venca’s customer data, which allowed them to make quick, personalized contact with their customers and build a better customer lifecycle experience.
As we gear up to hear more about Microsoft Cloud for Retail and all it has to offer, we are proud to already be included as part of the Microsoft partner ecosystem for retail.