Adapt and thrive with Microsoft Azure for Industries – Part 1

The way we work and live has changed. As a result of the recent global health crisis, many organizations are accelerating their digital transformation efforts to meet the challenges that they were exposed to. Employees around the world shifted to remote work, stores needed to shift to a buy online, pick up in-store model. In manufacturing, remote capabilities became key. Digital transformation has now become a requirement for business continuity, and digital technology has universally become key to business resilience and transformation.

This enormous pressure on digital transformation since the pandemic struck has affected all industries. A recent study from the Economist and Microsoft shows that organizations that had already started their digital transformation before the pandemic were able to adjust more quickly to meet customers’ new needs. The digital infrastructure that these industries already had in place allowed them to not only remain competitive in the market, but also to respond to societal disruption in a nimbler way. To meet the challenges of a rapidly changing economy across all different industries, merely adopting technology will no longer suffice. They need to build their own technology to compete and grow. And this makes every company a technology company.

We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security – we are working alongside customers every day to help them adapt and stay open for business in a world of remote everything.”

Satya Nadella,

Over the past year, Microsoft has been working closely with leaders in every industry to help them navigate the crisis. They equipped them with the technology and tools to accelerate the digital transformation. Industry-specific solutions are the key to ensure business resiliency and accelerating growth.

In this first of a series blogs on industry solutions built on the Microsoft Azure platform, I’m going to focus on retail and healthcare solutions. We will focus on certain use cases and the solutions and tools that Microsoft has to offer to build the different practices.

Azure for retail

Gone are the days when retailers chose when, where, and what to sell. In this changing world, retailers are being challenged to figure out how best to engage with customers within new constraints. One example of this is adapting business processes to provide BOPIS (buy-online-and-pickup-in-store  services). Also, many retailers who are driving a more sustainable data proliferation model are including the ability to deliver remote sales and services and addressing the need to better equip store associates with technology.

With Azure for retail, organizations are capable of building personalized experiences, optimizing their supply chains, and reimagining multichannel retail using Microsoft Azure. This includes predictive AI, machine learning, IoT, hybrid cloud, computer vision, and analytics.

Azure for Retail includes the following tools and services:

  • Azure Synapse Analytics: With Azure Synapse for Analytics, retailers can gather, store, process, analyze, and visualize data of any volume, variety, or velocity to pave the way to intelligent retail.
  • Azure AI and Machine Learning: With these tools, retailers can build intelligent, personalized customer experiences and optimized systems powered by the proven, responsible, and secure AI that Microsoft Azure offers.
  • Azure Cognitive Services: Bring AI within the reach of every developer, without the need to require machine-learning expertise.
  • Azure IoT: Enabling smart retail through Azure IoT. Retailers can securely connect their assets and equipment to the retail cloud with the different IoT solutions that Azure has to offer to unlock real-time insights and enable system interoperability.
  • Azure Mixed Reality: Blend the digital and the physical worlds to create immersive and collaborative experiences.
  • Azure Stack: Build and run hybrid applications across datacenters, edge locations, and the cloud.
  • Azure Virtual Desktop: Deploy virtual desktops and apps to enable secure remote work.
  • SAP on Azure: Run your organizations retail operations with SAP workloads on Azure to increase agility, drive strategic innovation and perform at scale.

In the next section, we’ll take a look at what Microsoft Azure has to offer for healthcare organizations.

Azure for healthcare

The healthcare industry is highly regulated. In this field, digital change is driven by the need to lower the risk of delivering patient care while doing so at scale. The rapidly changing world is pressuring healthcare organizations to evolve how they deliver patient care as well. One example of this is that healthcare organizations are increasingly using technology platforms to shift to more telehealth services. This example is very spot on in the current pandemic. By meeting patients virtually, healthcare professionals can threat (more) patients while minimizing the risk of exposure to themselves and to others.

With Azure for healthcare, healthcare organizations can deliver better health insights and outcomes as they enhance patient engagement, empower health team collaboration, and improve clinical informatics and operational insights – all backed by a secure and trusted cloud. This includes hybrid cloud, mixed reality, AI, and IoT – to drive better health outcomes, improve security, scale faster, and enhance data interoperability.

Azure for Healthcare includes the following tools and services:

  • Azure Healthcare APIs: With Azure healthcare-specific APIs, organizations can securely manage different formats of protected health data, accelerate machine learning, and enable a secure exchange of health data within a global infrastructure.
  • Azure AI and Machine Learning: Deliver better healthcare outcomes with personalized, preventative care and intelligent systems powered by proven, secure, and responsible AI.
  • Azure Synapse Analytics: With Azure Synapse for Analytics, healthcare organizations can gather, store, process, analyze, and visualize clinical data of any volume, variety, or velocity to pave the way towards smart healthcare.
  • Azure IoT: Deliver personalized care, empower care teams and employees, and improve operational outcomes. Securely connect health devices and equipment to the cloud with healthcare solutions to unlock real-time insights and enable system interoperability.
  • High Performance Computing: Accelerate insights in genomics precision medicine and clinical trials with near-finite high performance bioinformatics infrastructure.
  • Azure Stack: Build and run hybrid applications across datacenters, edge locations, remote clinical facilities, and the cloud.
  • Azure Mixed Reality: Blend the digital and the physical worlds to create immersive, and collaborative experiences, across the operating room and other health facilities.
  • Azure Security: Protection from the edge to the cloud and stay ahead of risks with intelligent monitoring tools built with powerful AI.

Wrap up

Microsoft offers a comprehensive toolset for the retail and healthcare industries.

Implementing these cloud solutions on a large scale and embedding them into your organization, involves a structured approach, a cultural shift, and a solid and secure architecture. This also includes setting up a Cloud Center of Excellence, and embracing cloud-native technologies and the Microsoft Well-Architected Framework, which I describe in more detail in the following articles:

At Capgemini, we have a lot of experience implementing cloud solutions across different industries. If you’d like more information about how we do this for our clients, contact me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

You can read my other articles here.

Azure Thursday – July 2021

Thursday, July 3rd was our last Azure Thursday before summer break! This time, we had the following awesome speakers:

Patrick van den Born & Rick Stijnman | Deploying Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session with Azure DevOps, Terraform and Packer

DevOps, Scrum, infrastructure-as-code, AVD, and cloud: what do they mean to the sysadmin? Many organizations are on the eve of, or already busy with, the migration from a traditional management or project organization to an agile approach, but what does such a transition entail?

Rick will explain the journey from a traditional management organization to a Scrum/DevOps approach. Patrick will then explore the DevOps approach in practical terms, focusing on rolling out Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session (‘Win10MS’) on Azure. You will learn how infrastructure-as-code (via Terraform) and image-as-code (via Packer) can be deployed using Azure DevOps.

Poornima Nayar | Getting started with Azure Static Web Apps

In this session, we will get introduced to Azure Static Web Apps. We will look into what it takes to build a Blazor WebAssembly based Static Web App to Azure. We will first look at what it takes to power it using a REST API while getting into grips with some of the basic concepts about Azure Static Web Apps. After that we will also have a look at how we can get a Static Web App powered by a GraphQL endpoint.

Watch the stream

You can watch the full recording of the stream here:

Global XR Talks – June 2021

On June 23, we organized another Global XR Talks! This time we had the following awesome sessions:

Fields of Light

In this session, Milan will talk about light fields, what are they, what are they useful for, how do they work and what hardware and software solutions are there currently.
Speaker: Milan Pollé

Extended Reality NFTs: The Future of Art

Learn all about Extended Reality NFTs. What is an NFT? How can an NFT be XR? How do I make an NFT? This talk fills you in on all things XR NFT related including information on environmentally friendly NFT blockchains.
Speaker: Victoria Del Castillo

Watch the recording

You can watch the recording of the stream here:

Azure Thursday – June 2021

Thursday, June 3rd was Azure Thursday again. This time, we had the following awesome speakers:

Yusuf Yusuf | Monitoring & Debugging Distributed Systems in Azure

The development of containers and container orchestrator has made it easier for people to develop distributed systems. Distributed systems have the benefit of making an application more scalable and reliable. But when something goes wrong within that system, it becomes more difficult to pinpoint and fix the issue compared to a standard single system. In this session I will demonstrate how with the help of Azure Monitor, you can not only detect and diagnose issues, but also visualize performance.

Jordi van Drunen & Stefan Dingemanse | Introduction to WVD and how to use Azure DevOps for Image

Quick introduction to WVD and how to use Azure DevOps for Image and Software management.

Watch the stream

You can watch the full recording of the stream here:

Global XR Talks – May 2021

On May 26 we had an awesome Global XR Talks again! We had the following sessions:

XR Session 1 – VR/AR Rehabilitation: It’s Not Only About Healthcare

An immersive talk on the great initiatives of VR/AR smart solutions for rehabilitation goals. The new rehabilitation is a must: fast, measurable, techy oriented, and goals achieved. In this session, you will learn how to develop the architecture of solution aimed to help the targeted group to reach healthcare goals with existing solutions.

Marina Petrakova – CEO and Co-Founder of VREACH
Linda Lancere – Digital Physical Therapy, Human Wellbeing Strengthening Implementor

XR Session 2 – Reimagining Tourism Through Extended Reality

With the restart of global tourism due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a considerable demand for the use of technology, especially immersive technologies, to help restart tourism as more users now engage with a virtual experience of destinations they would love to visit online. I will be sharing insights, current solutions on how virtual reality, augmented reality can be used as a massive tool for destination experiences and content development to boost tourism globally.

Arome Ibrahim – 360VR Developer, Co-Founder – Experis Immersive

Watch the recording

You can watch the recording of the stream here:

Sustainability cloud computing with Microsoft Azure

Embracing cloud services and migrating workloads from on-premises data centers to the cloud, is one step that will have a positive impact.

Sustainability and humanity’s response to climate change are among the biggest challenges of our lifetime. Luckily, this is becoming more important for most companies across industries.

At Capgemini, we have a bold ambition: we will achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2025 and become a net-zero business by 2030.This means accelerating our approach to carbon reduction across our key impact areas. And together with reducing our own environmental impact for a net-zero future, we also want to help our clients to transform to a low-carbon future.

One way organizations can become more carbon efficient is by using public cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure. A study from 2018 found that using the Microsoft Azure cloud platform can be up to 93% more energy efficient and up to 98% more carbon efficient than on-premises solutions. This study looked at four services, which are responsible for nearly half of the energy consumed in the Microsoft datacenters: Azure Compute, Azure Storage, Exchange Online, and SharePoint Online. In January 2020, Microsoft announced its intention to become carbon negative by 2030.

To help achieve this goal, Microsoft Azure data centers provide an incredible opportunity to give back to all the communities in which they operate. To these ends, Microsoft Azure will focus on the following key areas of environmental impact:

  • Carbon: 100% renewable energy by 2025
  • Water: Water positive by 2030, replenish more water than is consumed
  • Waste: Zero- waste certification by 2030
  • Ecosystems: Net-zero deforestation from new construction.

These commitments and investments will not only help Microsoft reach its goals and reduce its environmental impact, but it will also bring huge opportunities for clients and partners to achieve their own sustainability goals.

In addition to the benefits that on-premises data-center migration to cloud solutions can bring, enterprises are also looking for additional insights into the carbon impact of their cloud workloads. These impacts can then help them to make sustainable computer decisions. Microsoft has released a Power BI application, Microsoft Sustainability Calculator, to provide clients these new insights.

The Microsoft Sustainability Calculator for valuable insights

The Microsoft Sustainability Calculator gives clients valuable insights about their carbon emissions data associated with their Azure services. It provides the ability to quantify the carbon impact of each Azure subscription over a period, datacenter regions, and the estimated savings from running those workloads in on-premises datacenters vs Azure.

The calculations are based on Azure consumption, and it uses the energy requirements of the Azure services, the energy mix of the electric grid serving the hosting data centers, Microsoft’s procurement of renewable energy in those datacenters, and the emissions associated with the transfer of data over the internet as input. The result is an estimate of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, measured in total metric tons of carbon equivalent (MTCO2e), related to a customer’s consumption of Azure.

The calculator will also give a granular overview of all the estimated emissions savings from your running workloads on Azure. For this, it takes into account Microsoft’s IT operational efficiency, IT equipment efficiency, and data-center infrastructure efficiency compared to that of a typical on-premises deployment.

Get started with the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator

Azure Enterprise customers can get started with the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator by downloading the Power BI application from AppSource. There, you can download and install the application.

One thing to note is that you need to have access to the Azure Enterprise Portal as an admin and you need to have the current tenant ID of your Azure tenant.

To get started, you can use the following sources:

An excellent way to become more carbon efficient

We want to help our clients to transform to a low-carbon future. Embracing cloud services and migrating workloads from on-premises data centers to the cloud, is one step that will have a positive impact on achieving these goals.

In line with Capgemini’s sustainable transformation and vision, Microsoft is committed to a sustainable future and has invested heavily in achieving this. Microsoft Azure brings you the benefits of these investments and commitments to help achieve your own sustainability goals.

If you would like more information about our investments and commitments to environmental sustainability, have a look at our website, or download our Environmental Sustainability report.

If you want more information about how we implement cloud solutions for our clients using Microsoft Azure, contact me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

You can also read my other articles here.

Azure Thursday – May 2021

Thursday, May 6, we organized another Azure Thursday again. This time, we had the following speakers:

Sarah Maston | Project 15

Project 15 from Microsoft ( began when Sarah Maston realized that solutions and skills of the commercial solutioning world could help scientific projects be accelerated. She realized this after a safety platform she had invented for safe schools had a new use case of anti-poaching. Additionally, what was the real difference in the prevention of loss from a store from preventing the loss of a pangolin.

Now entering its second year, Project 15 from Microsoft has partnered with many NGO organizations including the GEF Small Grants Programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme. This session will cover the origin of Project 15 and how as Sarah and her co-founder Daisuke Nakahara developed the Project 15 Open Platform to accelerate the development of IoT solutions in the scientific space.

Sander van de Velde | Solving real world problems using ML.Net and Azure IoT edge

Life is strange for IoT devices. They are ‘born’ in the outside world all alone, or they are on the move, or they are located in places which are hazardous, not easy to access, and nobody is there to nurture them.
But still, they have to execute logic locally and make intelligent decisions on their own using eg. ML.
Luckily, Azure IoT Edge comes to the rescue Zero-touch provisioning and deployment.
In this session, attendees learn how Azure IoT Edge is brought to life successfully for intelligence on the edge and how Azure provisioning services help unattended provisioning.

Watch the stream

You can watch the full recording of the stream here:

Global XR Talks – April 2021

On April 21st we had an amazing Global XR Talks again! We had the following session:

XR Session – Building WebXR Apps for the HoloLens

Microsoft recently released the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge for HoloLens. This means that a lot of Web APIs that weren’t previously available now can be used, like the WebXR Device API for example. By building a simple game, I’ll show you how you can use WebXR and other APIs on the HoloLens.

Speaker: Timmy Kokke – Lead Developer ⍟ Software Architect ⍟ Mobile, Web and VR/AR Developer ⍟ Microsoft MVP at Velicus

And of course, after te session we did some virtual socializing in our Global XR Community zone in AltSpaceVR!

Watch the recording

You can watch the recording of the stream here:

Global XR Talks Special – Microsoft Mesh Panel

On April 1st, we had our first Global XR Talks special! This was all about the release of Microsoft Mesh.

A panel of industry experts discussed this amazing technology and all the functionalities it has to offer. With hot new information straight from Microsoft and well known Microsoft MVPs, host Jesse McCulloch and a brilliant lineup of speakers (Simon Skaria, Dorrene Brown, René Schulte, Ivana Tilca and Joost van Schaik) are joined by our own Saskia Groenewegen and Alexander Meijers for an hour of inspiration and innovation.

Watch the recording

You can watch the recording of the stream here:

Azure Thursday – April 2021

April 1st was Azure Thursday again! This time, we had three amazing speakers and sessions:

Jonah Andersson | Things to Consider Before Migrating Old .NET Applications to Cloud

Jonah Andersson shares her past experience and important lessons learned about migrating and developing old .NET applications to the Azure cloud. Find out how that project turned into a fiasco not because of Azure but of other factors. Never make the same mistakes.

Dawuda Iddrisu | Best practices for deploying MERN stack applications on Azure

As an engineer, it never ends with development. Deployment is always part of your package. Microsoft Azure has proven to be reliable to deploy just about any application. In this session, Kati Frantz and Dawood Iddris will show you all about deploying your MERN Stack Application and some best practices to follow. A couple of questions that will be answered include should I use PAAS or IAAS, how do I handle the CORS issue, how do I provision a database, do I need a replica of the database, how about latency, how often should I back up my database and so much more. Join us to learn it all along with us in a demo session.

Robin Smorenburg | The Azure Bakery

Welcome to ‘The Azure Bakery.’ In this talk, we’ll bake a delicious layered Azure cake. The idea behind this talk is to approach Azure in an easy to understand and fun way. The goal is to engineer and deploy solutions in the best way possible. At the same time, we’re trying to keep it simple. We’ll bake the foundational layers of every future Azure solution. What is needed when building these solutions?

Watch the stream

You can watch the full recording of the stream here:

Exit mobile version