Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

As Ignite is currently in full swing in Chicago, I want to talk again about exciting transformations happening on the Cloud. A lot of companies already see the opportunities. As Rick Wright, Principal and Global Cloud Enablement Leader at KPMG, recently noted, in fact, lots of companies have already tried the cloud based on the economics alone, but more and more companies are embracing all its capabilities.

“It’s clear now that while organizations may have come to the cloud to reduce costs, it’s not why 
they stay,” Wright says. “The true potential of cloud lies in an organization’s ability to leverage this agile delivery model to transform the business.”

So they come because of the cost savings, but they stay because they begin to think big. For our customers and for our company, it all starts with Microsoft Azure—our cloud platform. Microsoft Azure is a growing collection of integrated services, including compute, storage, data, networking, and apps. Today, in fact we announced the general availability of Azure premium storage that will enable Dynamics AX 2012 R3 on Azure for any number of users. Companies are already starting to see the special alchemy that happens when they choose Microsoft Dynamics combined with the Azure platform.

Rationalizing IT investments—recently blogged about Kodak Alaris and its desire to stay competitive, as well as agile. Conceived out of a corporate bankruptcy, the company viewed themselves as a $1.2 billion start-up. Kodak Alaris relies on Azure to help them save money on their infrastructure needs as well as enable it to rapidly respond to changing market conditions without worrying about data center overhead issues like long purchase and deployment cycles, expensive management costs, not to mention the environmental and outdated equipment costs.

Driving business impact—JJ Food uses Azure in a variety of ways, including:

  • IoT (Internet of Things), to monitor the temperatures in their transportation fleet to detect dangerous increases so they can proactively respond to issues and lower costs.
  • Machine Learning, to help customers place orders easier and faster by prepopulating their on-line order forms and making intelligent suggestions of addition items they may be interested in based on prior purchasing trends and influences such as weather.

Realizing business value fast— At Microsoft, we realized we could make mobile operations easier for our employees and help them be more productive on the road. We created time-and-expense reporting apps that are supported through Azure. They are so successful that we offer them to our Dynamics customers at no-charge to use as-is or, of course, they can customize them to meet their needs.

Enabling rapid business transformation

No one company likely embodies the spirit of the potential of the Cloud more than our customer, Pet Supplies Plus, who is putting that concept to the test. As Stan Mac, their VP of Applications said during the Dynamics AX roadmap session at Convergence, “The company is aiming to open 30-40 stores in 2015 and wants to support a similar growth pattern in future years. Since predictability and repeatability are critical to successfully supporting this plan and quickly deploying Dynamics AX to support their operations, we are using Lifecycle Services.”

“Our current datacenter could fit in a closet. In looking to the future, instead of having to buy, build, and maintain the infrastructure, we can count on Cloud-hosted environments within Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) to automate the server setup as well as the software deployment. With just a click of a button, we can be working on a new environment in Azure in just a few minutes. So far, we have been using it for development and testing and have found that it does save us time and money, and gives us the flexibility to meet our development needs as they have evolved over the course of the project.” explains Miles Tedder, CIO and Chief Supply Chain Officer.

Of course, it isn’t all about ERP and LCS. Pet Supplies Plus also chose to integrate with Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, and Azure. Intune, Yammer, Lync and other Microsoft integrated solutions are also being deployed.  “We’ve gone all in. Microsoft’s the right systemic eco-system for a retailer like us,” adds Tedder.  We’re glad they’ve joined us!

Ignite sparks innovation

And on Monday, Brad Anderson did a fantastic job conducting a live demo, where he connected to an AX High-availability deployment on Azure using the Azure Remote App. And this afternoon there will be a live demo of Azure site recovery with AX. These are great examples of the great innovation that our customers continue to drive.

We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!