Tag Archives: embrace

How technology intensity accelerates business value – Microsoft Industry Blogs

Organizations that embrace technology intensity are inherently more successful. What exactly is technology intensity, and why is it critical for today’s enterprises to build a cohesive digital strategy?

Technology intensity defined

Technology intensity has three components:

  1. Rapid adoption of hyper-scale cloud platforms
  2. rational business decision to invest in digital capabilities
  3. Relentless focus on building technology that customers can trust—relying on credible suppliers and building security into new products.

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella notes, “We must adopt technology in ways that are much faster than what we have done in the past. Each one of us, in our organizations, will have to build our own digital capability on top of the technology we have adopted. Tech intensity is one of the key considerations you have to get right.”

Technology intensity as a critical enabler

Simply put, technology intensity is a critical part of business strategy today. I meet regularly with leaders from companies around the world. In my experience, high-performance companies invest the most in digital capabilities and skillsets. In fact, there is a productivity gap between these top performers and their lesser performing counterparts that directly correlates with the scale of digital investments. 

Other research shows that technology spending into hiring developers and creating innovative software that is owned and used exclusively by a company is a key competitive advantage. These companies cultivate the ability to develop their own “digital IP,” building exclusive software and tools that only their customers have access to. Resources are always scarce, and these companies build differentiated IP on top of existing best-in-class technology platforms. 

By putting customers at the center of the OEM supply chain, a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) sponsored by Microsoft, Lorenzo Fornaroli, Senior Director of Global Logistics and Supply Chain at China-based ICT Huawei Technologies, highlights an advantage of embracing technology intensity: “…as an ICT company, we have the internal resources needed to identify new technologies early and deploy them effectively. Skills and experience with these technologies are readily available in-house.”

New business models

Manufacturers are increasingly using technology intensity principles to extend their supply chain well past the point of delivery. They are creating smart, connected products and digitizing their businesses with Azure IoT, Microsoft AI, Azure Blockchain Service, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365.

Rolls-Royce, for example, takes a monthly fee from customers of its jet engines that is based on flying hours. Sellers of industrial machinery such as Sandvik Coromant and Tetrapak are exploring the concept of charging customers for parts machined and containers filled.

Using the data that connected products transmit back about their condition and usage, manufacturers build new digital services. For these forward-thinking manufacturers, the extended supply chain is an opportunity to move away from selling products to customers based on a one-off, upfront purchase price, and to charge for subscriptions based on performance guarantees. This is “technology intensity in action”, as manufacturers become digital software companies.

Technology intensity in action

Viewpoint of a city

Viewpoint of a cityBühler is a global market leader in die casting technology and has adopted technology intensity for connected products. Looking to continue driving innovation in the die casting process, Bühler aggregated data from different die casting cell components together under a single cell-management system. Bühler can now monitor, control, and manage a complete die casting cell in a unified, easy-to-use system. The company is also exploring additional avenues for digital transformation including real-time fleet learning by fine-tuning its Artificial Intelligence (AI) models to generate new insights.

Lexmark, a manufacturer of laser printers and imaging products, now offers Lexmark Cloud Print Infrastructure as a Service (CPI). Customers no longer manage onsite print infrastructure. Instead, Lexmark installs its own IoT-enabled devices and activates smart services, creating an always-on print environment. To roll out CPI, Lexmark worked with Microsoft to quickly adopt new Internet of Things (IoT), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), AI and collaboration tools to successfully grow their internal digital capabilities.

Colfax is another great example of a manufacturer embracing technology intensity. A global industrial technology company, Colfax, recognized the need to adopt industrial IoT technologies and the importance of embracing a comprehensive digital transformation initiative to expand the offerings of two of its business platforms—ESAB, a welding and cutting solutions provider, and Howden, an air and gas handling engineering company. Working with Microsoft and PTC, the company adopted advanced cloud technologies while building up a digital skillset. 

Investing in new digital skillsets

Savvy manufacturers harness data from connected products and combine this with data from many other sources, in unprecedented volumes. The copious amounts of data require mindset shifts, requiring organizations to build skills for a new digital era. Most manufacturers concur that they need to expand their internal capabilities in this manner.

“Senior supply-chain professionals have typically been accustomed to working with a fairly limited set of data to drive their decisions—but that’s all changed now,” says Daniel Helmig, group head of quality and operations at Swiss-Swedish industrial group ABB in the EIU report putting customers at the center of the OEM supply chain. He continues, “but being able to take advantage of the huge volumes of data available to us— and these are growing every day—demands a mind shift among supply-chain professionals, based on using new levels of visibility to respond to issues quickly and decisively.”

From the same report, Sheri Henck, vice-president of global supply chain, distribution, and logistics at Medtronic, a US-based manufacturer of medical equipment and devices, commented “In the past, a great deal of supply-chain decision-making was based on intuition, because data wasn’t available. Today, there is plenty of data available, but there’s also a recognition that skills and competencies for supply-chain leaders and their teams need to change if we are to make the most of data and use it to make data-driven recommendations and decisions.”

Explore how to optimize your digital operations with business solutions for intelligent factories with the e-book, “Factory of the future: Achieving digital excellence in manufacturing today“.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

SAP Embrace gets new love from SAP-Microsoft partnership

SAP and Microsoft are making their cloud relationship almost exclusive with a new program.

SAP Embrace was announced in May as a program to help SAP customers move workloads to public cloud hyperscalers Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Earlier this month, SAP and Microsoft announced a new development in the program with a three-year agreement to use Microsoft Azure as the preferred hyperscaler infrastructure provider for SAP systems. The deal is intended to address SAP’s issues in moving customers both to the cloud and migration to S/4HANA by providing a simpler, more cost-effective and risk-mitigated path.

SAP Embrace is intended to provide SAP customers a path to the cloud on Microsoft Azure infrastructure, according to the companies. SAP and Microsoft, along with systems integrators, including Deloitte, Accenture and IBM, will offer SAP customers bundles of cloud services, including unified reference architectures, road maps and market-specific information to help mitigate costs and risks of moving to the cloud. Microsoft field sales teams will sell the SAP Embrace bundles directly to customers and Microsoft will also embed and resell components of SAP Cloud Platform in Azure.

SAP worked with Microsoft, AWS and Google to develop the initial phase of SAP Embrace, but subsequent development over the summer led to the partnership agreement with Microsoft to use Azure as its preferred public cloud provider, said David Robinson, SAP senior vice president and managing director of the cloud business group.

SAP customers are in large measure satisfied that any of the three public cloud providers can handle SAP HANA database workloads and run HANA-based applications, Robinson said, but they are looking for a clear and simple path to the cloud, which was the main goal of SAP Embrace.  

“[Customers] would like to understand that, as they migrate to S/4HANA in conjunction with the lift to the cloud, they can follow a path that leads to the intelligent enterprise and will give the most cost-effective and risk managed journey,” he said.

SAP customers lean toward Azure

David Robinson, senior vice president and managing director of cloud business group, SAPDavid Robinson

The SAP-Microsoft partnership came about mainly because the majority of customers that SAP worked with to validate the SAP Embrace model were already leaning toward Azure, Robinson said.

This was primarily because Microsoft had demonstrated that Azure provided a consistent enterprise degree of engagement and support beyond just the compute network and data store, such as support services and lifecycle management, according to Robinson.

“Microsoft understands the enterprise to speak the enterprise language, and has processes wrapped around their compute network and storage around Azure that are more aligned with what SAP customers need to be able to consume and drive their S/4HANA environment,” he said.

SAP and Microsoft relationship may get cozier

It’s unusual that SAP would go with something that’s relatively exclusive, said Joshua Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting, but it may be a sign of more to come from SAP and Microsoft.

Joshua Greenbaum, principal, Enterprise Applications ConsultingJoshua Greenbaum

“We know that Microsoft’s SuccessFactors implementation runs on Azure and they’re moving their ERP to Azure, so we know Microsoft wants as many workloads as it can get on Azure and they’re willing to incent SAP to do it,” Greenbaum said. “But I think there’s more to this. There will be another component of this deal coming, because I’m pretty sure that the numbers don’t add up for just this much exclusivity.”

Although the Microsoft Azure deal is not exclusive, the other two hyperscalers were not pleased at the recent addendum to SAP Embrace, Greenbaum said.

He pointed out that Robert Enslin, Google president of cloud sales and former SAP executive, and Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud CEO, are likely tapping their considerable experience to develop enterprise applications.

“It’s pretty clear that they’re going for an apps play that can compete with SAP,” Greenbaum said.

For AWS, on the other hand, Amazon’s relentless expansion into virtually every business may give potential customers pause before they entrust their systems to AWS.

“On the Amazon side there’s a lot of customers — retail, logistics, you name it — where Amazon the mothership is encroaching into a lot of core business areas, so a lot of folks are getting nervous about putting their enterprise software on the Amazon cloud,” he said. “In a way, Amazon sort of backed itself into this position.”

Other public cloud options still available

SAP customers still have the option to deploy S/4HANA and SAP HANA-based applications in any public cloud provider they want, Robinson said.

AWS recently announced new memory upgrades to the EC2 cloud infrastructure designed to manage S/4HANA sized workloads. 

“If a customer still wants to run it on AWS or Google, they can still do it; the support is the same and we continue to certify these workloads on AWS on GCP,” Robinson said. “The difference now is not the support or the ability to run, certify and upgrade — we will always certify that these infrastructures perform on database workloads as we design. But with Microsoft, we’re adding an additional degree of abstraction on top of that around the harmonization of the cloud platform services.”

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Microsoft Digital Civility Challenge resonating with consumers worldwide, new data show – Microsoft on the Issues

Earlier this year, Microsoft called on people around the world to embrace “digital civility” in all online interactions by leading and acting with empathy, compassion and kindness. The concept appears to be taking hold, but there is still more work to be done, according to results of a new Microsoft research study.Chart showing teens do a better job of defending themselves online than adults

Eighty-eight percent of teens and 87 percent of adults said they treat other people with respect and dignity online, while 84 percent of both age groups responded that they show respect for other people’s points of view. Three-quarters of young people and 77 percent of adults said they pause before replying to posts, texts and other content they disagree with, and nearly the same percentages said they stand up for themselves in the digital space (77 percent of teens, 73 percent of adults). Fewer – although still significant proportions – responded that they stand up for others online (65 percent of teens, 59 percent of adults).

Findings are from Microsoft’s latest research into digital civility around the world. We’re releasing these results on World Kindness Day to emphasize that it’s never too late to help foster safer, healthier and more respectful online interactions for everyone. “Civility, Safety and Interaction Online — 2017” polled teens ages 13-17 and adults ages 18-74 in 23 countries[1] regarding 20 online risks.[2] This year’s research builds on our first study done last year, which polled the same age demographics in 14 countries about 17 types of online abuse. Nearly 11,600 teens and adults participated in this year’s research.

Highlighting the research, our campaign for digital civility was launched on Safer Internet Day 2017 and featured our Digital Civility Challenge in which we asked people across the globe to commit to four basic tenets for life online:

  • Treat others as you would like to be treated by acting with empathy, compassion, and kindness in every interaction, and affording everyone respect and dignity.
  • Respect differences by honoring diverse perspectives and, when disagreements surface, engaging thoughtfully and avoid name-calling and personal attacks.
  • Pause before replying to contrary comments and refrain from posting or sending anything that could hurt someone, damage a reputation or threaten someone’s safety.
  • Stand up for oneself and others by supporting those who are targets of online abuse or cruelty, reporting activity that threatens anyone’s safety and preserving evidence of inappropriate or unsafe behavior.

These challenge actions served as the basis for some new research questions this year. Still, more work appears to be needed. About half of teens see others demonstrating thoughtful consideration (51 percent) and standing up for others (52 percent) online, compared to 46 percent of adults, respectively. Those seeing people show respect for opposing views yielded similar results (54 percent of youth, 48 percent of adults). Meanwhile, respondents who saw others stand up for themselves online were higher: 66 percent of teens and 60 percent of adults.

Final results will be made available on international Safer Internet Day 2018 on Feb. 6, along with a year-over-year look at the Microsoft Digital Civility Index. The inaugural 14-country index, released earlier this year, represents respondents’ lifetime exposure to the 17 original online risks. (Our full Safer Internet Day 2017 release can be found at www.microsoft.com/digitalcivility.) A new international index reading will be announced next year, accounting for respondents’ experience with the expanded list of 20 online risks.

If you’d like to learn more about online safety generally and how best to protect yourself and your family, visit our website and review our resources; “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

[1] Countries surveyed: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.

[2] The 20 risks are grouped into four categories:

  • Reputational – “Doxing” and damage to personal or professional reputations
  • Behavioral – Being treated meanly; experiencing trolling, online harassment or bullying; encountering hate speech and microaggressions
  • Sexual – Sending or receiving unwanted sexting messages and making sexual solicitations; being a victim of sextortion or non-consensual pornography (aka “revenge porn”)-
  • Personal / Intrusive – Being the target of unwanted contact, experiencing discrimination, “swatting,” misogyny, exposure to extremist content/recruiting, or falling victim to hoaxes, scams or fraud.

Tags: digital civility, Online Safety

Microsoft and Docker collaboration puts Linux containers on Windows

AUSTIN, Texas — Microsoft might have been late to embrace Linux, but its new open source initiative that runs…


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Linux-based containers on Windows Server is an attempt to make up for lost time.

The ability to run Linux containers on Windows won’t entice Linux shops to migrate to Windows, but it could appeal to smaller companies or larger Windows shops that also need a Linux component.

“The simplicity of managing just one flavor of operating system can make a lot of sense,” said Ezra Gottheil, principal analyst at Technology Business Research based in Hampton, N.H.

The project also aims to lighten the load on Docker’s engineering team — the company only employs about 150 people — to create a Windows-compatible version of Docker Datacenter and other Docker components. The ability to run Linux containers on Windows will allow Windows Container users to run Docker Datacenter, which itself is based on a collection of Linux containers, on top of Windows Server.

We have Linux, Mac and Windows. The more we can move stuff back and forth, the better off we are.
Simon Webstersecurity engineer, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

In fact, part of the motivation for the project — which is still in the works — was the challenge for Microsoft to support Linux containers in Azure, said Taylor Brown, principal lead program manager at Microsoft.

“[Customers] are just giving us a container image and we have to figure out how to run that, how to make it an efficient experience, all while maintaining multi-tenant isolation,” Brown said. “The ability to run Linux and Windows side by side is really valuable for us.”

The project, which Microsoft revealed here at DockerCon, also promises to give developers more platform options and enable operations teams to worry less about where and how they deploy containerized applications.

“It’s going to be a big deal for the future for interoperability, moving stuff from platform to platform,” said Simon Webster, security engineer at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research based in Boulder, Colo. “We have Linux, Mac and Windows. The more we can move stuff back and forth, the better off we are.”

Portability across different clouds is also appealing, especially for a semi-governmental agency, as it could make it a lot easier to collect competitive bids, he added. Others saw the feature as more of a checkbox for Microsoft or novelty that wouldn’t appeal to most enterprises.

“It’s nice that you can more natively run Linux stuff on Windows, but I don’t think it’s something large companies would use in production,” said Nima Esmaili Mokaram, a software engineer at Quicken Loans. “I can see smaller .NET shops that have a couple Linux containers they want to run too; that would be a great audience. But if you have the capital to buy some Linux servers, that enhances the performance and potentially would be less headaches.”

Microsoft, in partnership with Docker, rolled out two flavors of Windows-based containers — Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers — with the release of Windows Server 2016 last year. However, Docker’s containerization model began as a Linux project, and the open source community has championed most of the development and innovation that’s made containerization the technology du jour.

Microsoft’s plan to run Linux containers on Windows Server isn’t a technical breakthrough, and it borrows concepts that Intel’s Clear Containers and VMware’s Photon projects advanced. The company plans to work with the open source community using Docker’s LinuxKit to create a custom Hyper-V VM running a lightweight OS purpose-built to host a container image. Like similar VM-optimization projects, Microsoft’s approach would allow the VM to shed unnecessary components and drivers; the reduced overhead improves efficiency over a standard VM.

Microsoft’s awkward Linux embrace

Docker and Microsoft have continued to work closely despite the historical divisions among Windows and Linux practitioners.

“Microsoft’s hesitancy of supporting other platforms is gone,” TBR’s Gottheil said. “The company is much more open to interoperability than it was under [former CEO Steve Ballmer], although Ballmer wasn’t really all that bad.”

Even if Microsoft is anxious to bury the hatchet, the divide was still palpable at DockerCon.

“Historically, there’s been a huge divide: You’re either a Windows guy or a Linux guy,” Webster said. “The fact that Microsoft has taken this step means that they’re potentially bringing together different IT groups. Breaking down walls between those two would be useful.”

That divide was the topic of discussion at a DockerCon session about media and analyst perspectives on Docker. (It also carried over to the public DockerCon Slack channel, where a comment that Windows developers are not “real developers” collected dozens of thumbs-up from attendees.)

The Windows community often still feels segregated, but things like a shared Docker experience will help bridge the two worlds and foster communication, said Donnie Berkholz, research director at 451 Research, during the session.

“Right now, there are hardly grounds for a conversation between a Linux- or Mac-based developer and a Windows developer.”

Nick Martin is executive editor for TechTarget’s Modern Infrastructure e-zine, and former senior site editor for SearchServerVirtualization.com. Contact him at [email protected].

Next Steps

Docker for Windows Server 2016 GA details

Container support debuts in Windows Server 2016

How do Windows Server containers affect applications?

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