Mastering Digital Transformation with Azure & Microsoft Cloud

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Digital Transformation is the buzzword that every executive wants to master, yet it comes in many shapes and sizes. Having a solid Digital Transformation strategy can mean the difference between acceleration or inertia. Separating those companies who can grow, change and adapt and those whom spend a lot of time making excuses for growth remaining on the wish list.

It is true that those who can master the Digital Transformation game are able to effectively pull strategic rabbits out of hats – not only are they able to lay down a solid technological road map but also to master the power of digital iteration to allow a business to pivot and adapt their market strategies through use of adaptable technology operations.

There are a growing amount of cloud providers on the market all looking to pedal their wares as being the best cloud provider with the latest and greatest tech, with Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud dominating the market. Microsoft Azure seems to pull ahead when it comes to simplifying Digital Transformation tech and making it available to the masses.

Microsoft has all the complexity it needs to rival the other top Cloud vendors, but it does so in its very own “Microsoft” way; concentrating on simplicity and availability to a wider range of technologists. In fact, we find that the sheer simplicity of the Microsoft Cloud Digital Transformation suite is a key fundamental part of its rising success as it simply enables organisations to have more technology without a blocker to expertise.

We have found that the other competing cloud platforms have a greater level of complexity and favour the more command line / Linux approach. Microsoft has managed to keep it simple and make the most out of its tech available in its more “familiar easy to use” GUI approach.

Below are our Top 5 reasons why Microsoft Azure is truly a winner in the Digital Transformation enablement space:

1.) Team Scaling Without Borders or Limits

If you didn’t know Microsoft Teams before the pandemic you certainly did after. This is just one tool in a brilliant ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of wonder tech that enables workplace scale, collaboration and optimisation. This is another key area where Azure reigns supreme in the Digital Transformation space.

As great as businesses can be in the tech engineering space, the work force still remains the greatest asset to an organisation. Mastering the team scale and being able to utilise human resource from anywhere on any device has truly been a game changer.

Our top team scaling picks are:

Teams – Global leader in allowing your teams to collaborate and manage workloads, projects ubiquitously available on any device.

Office 365 – Not just office applications but all the tools like OneDrive / SharePoint / Stream just allow data and collaboration to be anywhere on any Device.

Windows Virtual Desktops – Long awaited platform to rival the much loves Citrix capability makes distributed workforce issues and thing of the past.

2.) Dev Ops Paves the Way to a More Agile Existence

Development operations in general has always been a challenge for organisations. Creating an environment to allow developers freedom to work using tools they are comfortable with, not only allows for a more cohesive relationship between the development team and the business leaders. But it also enables the organisation to use remote and off shore developers in a secure and collaborative fashion.

Having the development process contained neatly within Azure, allows the whole Dev / Test / QA / Production Release process to be very agile and inclusive.

Our top DevOps Digital Transformation picks would be:

Azure Repos – For managing code secure storage and version control.

Azure Pipelines – Allowing teams to ship and manage code.

Azure Boards – For Dev teams to manage their Kanban workflow and general development life cycle.

3.) Business Analytics Everywhere

Business Analytics within Azure gives any team access to a wonder of tools for managing data.In the usual Microsoft fashion they manage to make a complex set of tasks as simple as possible. Azure allows a business to play with advance data techniques and create insights, tools and dashboards to advance their Digital Transformation strategy.

Having the ability to take data from your SaaS APIs and internal systems. Represent it quickly into meaningful dashboards and alerts is a game changer in a Digital Transformation journey.

Our top Business Analytics Digital Transformation picks would be:

Power BI – World leading and easy to pick up Business Intelligence product to take in data and manipulate it from just about everywhere.

Azure SQL / Warehouse – Perfect data storage and warehousing for just about any task.

Azure Data Factory – The full analytics and data workflow package to manage the full “Exchange transact and load” workloads.

4.) Azure AI Making Data Science More Accessible

Stepping into the world of AI and Machine learning is a hop, skip and (usually) a large jump for any Digital Transformation team. Microsoft Azure allows organisations with varying degrees of complexity access high quality, vision, speech, language and decision-making AI services via simple APIs.

For the more advanced team a whole host of Open Source AI / Machine learning tools is available in Azure. Tools like TensorFlow / PyTorch for when you need to migrate existing workloads to the Azure Cloud.

Full Range AI Tech – Everything from Jupyter notebooks, TensorFlow, PyTorch and all the latest open source tech.

Speech to text (and text to speech) – Complete Speech synthesis technology.

Content Moderator – Ability to moderate content on mass for a wide range of application uses.

Sentiment Analysis – Analysing sentiment across anything CRM / Service desk.

Translation – Language translation in almost real time.

Face API – Face and people detection for security platforms.

Smart Labeller – Label any image has an enormously wide range of uses.

5.) With Security & Control Cometh Safe Scaling

Cyber Security is plaguing us all and is one of those all-too depressing inalienable truths we have to combat to be good technologist.

Azure and the whole Microsoft cloud suite is a bed rock of Cyber Security which makes building cloud tech and enterprise teams in a compliant,secure manner easy. In fact we do think this is one of the key major ways Azure outranks some of its cloud competition with regards to the integrated way it puts security and compliance at the head of everything it does.

Azure allows you to scale fast and manage very closely the security that comes with the wider technological outreach that Digital Transformation often brings.

Our Top Security Digital Transformation Picks:

Single Sign on via Azure AD – Using Azure AD to manage identity across all your SaaS applications, infrastructure, and devices.

Azure Sentinel – Ground-breaking security log management platform (SIEM).

Advanced Threat Protection – ATP / Windows Defender used in certain M365 packages , or available as a standalone product, gives truly industry beating threat protection.

365 Secure Score –This wonderful tool – often overlooked – within the 365 suite and allows businesses to manage their critical attack surface more efficiently.

Microsoft Defender for Cloud – Recently renamed cloud security management suite that easily and effectively protects your whole cloud suite.

And finally, to steal Pirellis famous phrase “Power is nothing without control”. Being able to manage and keep on top of your cloud environment becomes ever more important.

Azure Monitor – Keeping on top of everything from security, access management, billing, alerts and performance is a whole lot easier with Azure Monitor

Azure Automation – Running infrastructure and cloud management playbooks can be neatly done through Azure Automation.

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