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Inspire 2021: 5 Big Updates In Microsoft 365, Teams And Industry Clouds

Microsoft’s sixth industry cloud offering, along with new Teams capabilities and a Windows “cloud PC” service, are among the major announcements at the Inspire partner conference this week.

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Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

The new Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability will enter public preview later this year and come with tools to help users in all industries record, report and reduce emissions, Microsoft said. The cloud is built on Azure, Dataverse, Power Platform, Power BI and other Microsoft products. It will feature specialized third-party applications, data source and emissions data connectors, according to the company.

“These industry clouds are an enabler for our ecosystem to be able to bring their vertical and micro-vertical expertise to bear,” Taylor said. “Most organizations have a very small sliver of what they can see of their emissions data because the data is so siloed and in so many different places. This is about having industry connectors, like we do in retail and financial services and all of our other industry clouds, to be able to aggregate that data so you actually can look and have a 360-degree view.”

While other technology vendors have created industry-focused cloud offerings, Microsoft wants to beat its competitors’ industry-focused offerings through pulling in data from more disparate sources -- not just in the company‘s enterprise resource planning datasets, for example -- and deliver insights throughout the Microsoft technology stack, she said.

“This is very unique in the industry and highly differentiated from what SAP and Salesforce are doing,” she said.

Taylor said that companies can, for example, use Cloud for Sustainability to create alerts when an HVAC system is likely to miss its prescribed emissions reduction target. The cloud can then assign an operations manager to make improvements. The sustainability cloud will have uses for all industries, from manufacturing to agriculture to retailers, she said. And midmarket businesses will have need for the cloud as much as the largest enterprises, Taylor said.

The Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability joins the previously announced clouds for financial services, nonprofits, health care, retail and manufacturing.

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