Published: Microsoft Author’s Client.
This week, Microsoft offered a presentation on its “Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability” effort, which will benefit organizations trying to wrap their arms around efforts to combat climate change and pollution. Companies are looking to do more because consumers are increasingly supporting vendors with a strong focus on ESG (environmental, social, and governance) standards. The ecological segment is currently gaining the most attention as it is in the public eye with concern surrounding climate change driving vendors and solution choices.
But creating a tracking and reporting ecosystem is not insignificant, so being able to build on the success of others is a godsend for those who are trying to do this very difficult task.
As much as I am interested in this Cloud for Sustainability effort, I am fascinated by the vertical focus and the maturity of Azure. Because it represents the next level of cloud maturation, where tools evolve to focus on targeted needs that positively affect productivity.
Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability could have a wider impact on the future of the cloud.
Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability
Sustainability is important, of course, but it is not easy to achieve. Not only do you need to track the pollutants you create, but you also need to make sure your supplier tracks them. (The importance of tracking a complete logistics chain has increased because a company’s good environmental reputation can be ruined if it is even linked to a visible contaminant supplier.)
The need for data acquisition, ingestion, calculation and reporting is widespread for such efforts. Firms have “learned to do” rather than learn from each other, which makes the overall effort more time consuming and difficult.
By creating a vertically targeted service, Microsoft can capture best practices, create extensible models, and provide centralized support that greatly reduces the time it takes to understand a company’s supply chain and how much it is responsible for waste and pollution. .
By focusing on their efforts, customers can get a set of uniquely designed labor-saving tools to tackle sustainability. Although this effort was primarily focused on carbon emissions, it will help alleviate water and other wastes over time. Beyond better sustainable monitoring, it also simplifies ESG reporting – at least in relation to carbon emissions – increasing reporting accuracy and reducing both the labor required and the risk of misreporting.
Vertical Target: Cloud Current
Microsoft has focused on building these targeted cloud efforts for healthcare, manufacturing, nonprofits, retailers and businesses. Each provides a unique set of solutions that evolve over time and helps a company make efforts to spin a solution faster, better and cheaper than creating a solution from scratch.
And I don’t think that’s the end of the story.
Next: Custom-targeted cloud
At the moment, these vertical efforts are largely isolated. But over time I hope that the components will become more modular – so a company can pick the components currently in a vertical area and use them for their own custom solutions.
For example, heavy monitoring of Sustainability Cloud partners would also be beneficial for retailers. And business cloud and retail cloud users will probably want business cloud modules, while healthcare operations will also want business and sustainable modules.
Combining vertical elements – and using Microsoft’s artificial intelligence capabilities to automate repetitive tasks and match modules with projects – will significantly increase the overall benefits of these linked resources.
What Microsoft now has is the foundation of future AI-powered solutions that can be independent of the vertical and change automatically to better solve each unique use. I think Microsoft is creating something much more interesting than just vertical focus. It builds the foundation for a whole new cloud experience that automatically customizes itself for industry, companies and projects under development.
In short, the cloud is still in its infancy and, like the Internet, it is much different now than it was a long time ago. Undoubtedly it will go through massive changes before it is fully matured.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.