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How Microsoft Industry Clouds meet the objectives of industry cloud

Sam Zamanian
13 Dec 2022

As predicted by Gartner*, industry clouds will be adopted by more than 50% of enterprises by 2027.

In a previous article, I outlined a brief overview of industry clouds. In this article, I am going to reuse the same principles and metrics used in that post and map them to Microsoft’s industry cloud solutions.

An overview of Microsoft Industry Clouds

Microsoft Cloud for Industries is a range of offerings widely developed and promoted in the last couple of years in events and newsletters and within Microsoft’s partner ecosystem which is also available on Microsoft’s website. Below is an overview of some of the industry cloud offerings to date:

  • Financial Services: It is made to deliver differentiated customer experiences, improve employee collaboration and productivity, manage risk, and modernize core systems along with multi-layered security and compliance coverage for the FS industry.
  • Cloud for Healthcare: It provides trusted, integrated capabilities that make it easier to improve the entire healthcare experience.
  • Cloud for Manufacturing: It is designed to deliver end-to-end manufacturing solutions that can connect people, assets, workflows, and business processes, helping organizations become more resilient in workforce management.
  • Cloud for Nonprofits: It is designed to address many of our world’s most pressing challenges, providing critical services and support to communities everywhere.
  • Cloud for Retail: It brings together different data sources across the retail value chain and uniquely connects experiences across the end-to-end shopper journey.
  • Cloud for Sustainability: It helps customers record, report, and reduce their organization’s environmental impact.

The building blocks of Microsoft Industry Clouds

One of the advertised benefits of Microsoft Industry Cloud is that it is powered by the same underlying cloud platforms (horizontal or vertical) that are offered by Microsoft. As a matter of fact, Microsoft offerings have gone above and beyond Azure, which has created a diverse portfolio of services across Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform besides Azure. As previously described in this article, the partner ecosystem plays a key role in sourcing and connecting existing industry solutions.

Microsoft Industry Clouds and industry cloud intents and objectives

The primary intents that make an industry cloud distinct from other horizontal clouds are outlined in this paper. These intents are what industry cloud is expected to achieve at a conceptual level. Below, each of these intents is mapped against Microsoft’s offerings and along with a brief description of how Microsoft Industry Cloud is positioned in each area:

Ready-to-use solutions: There are two main categories of solutions available on Microsoft Industry Clouds:

  • 1st party: These are Microsoft industry solutions that can be used on day one with no or very minimal configurations. There is a range of first-party offerings available in each industry, supported by a delivery roadmap.
  • 3rd party: These are usually custom solutions, integration connectors, or extensions of the first-party solutions that are provided by the ISVs and SI partner’s ecosystem.

Pre-built security and compliance controls: Microsoft’s industry cloud is designed to support compliance requirements as much as its underlying cloud platforms are (Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, Azure, Dataverse, etc.). Besides, the cloud for industries comes with industry-specific customer scenarios to help meet the compliance requirements at the application and data levels. This will obviously enable faster cloud adoption by getting some of the time-consuming regulatory and compliance tasks out of the way. It is recommended to refer to Microsoft’s roadmap to check the available country and industry-specific compliance controls.

Partner ecosystem and marketplace: Microsoft, being referred to as a partner-led organization, is backed by a large ecosystem of partners, and this is one of the drivers behind the industry solutions offerings. With App Source, Microsoft partners can build new – or bring in their existing – industry-catered IPs that can be integrated with the rest of the Microsoft industry solutions (1st or 3rd party). AppSource is a SaaS marketplace that is used by partners and Microsoft to supply Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and Microsoft 365 solutions. In addition, Azure Marketplace has been a long-standing IT store for partner-led Azure PaaS-based offerings.

Open standards: Microsoft Industry Clouds come with out-of-the-box data models and schemas that are reusable, scalable, and extensible. Examples include the data model representations of customers, accounts, and campaigns. With common data models, Microsoft and partners can publish solutions using a collection of predefined data models including schemas, entities, attributes, and their relationships. API endpoints around these data models are available to enable partners to build applications on the industry data models or streamline data integration with Microsoft data platforms (Synapse, Dataverse, etc.) and make the solutions available via App Source or Azure Marketplace.

Seamless integration at scale: With prebuilt integration endpoints on one hand and standard data models and the Power Platform connectors (1st or 3rd party) on the other hand, Microsoft Cloud becomes well equipped with an abundance of integration connectors available at no/low configuration or code. With these connectors, partners can bring data into the Microsoft data platforms at scale. Besides, ISV partners are empowered to build native connectors to their own proprietary solutions (e.g., core banking and marketing automation) and make their products interoperable with Microsoft Cloud.

Customizations and extensions: PowerPlatformas the line of business low code/no code capability provides a family of products that can be used to customize and extend the industry cloud offerings, including the underlying platforms such as Dynamics 365. It is well-positioned to stitch together Azure, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365 via the prebuilt connectors.

The picture below (built from some of the Microsoft collaterals) shows various industry cloud offerings by Microsoft and the underlying building blocks.

The position of Microsoft Industry Clouds

Microsoft’s position is to address the unique problems or micro challenges of the industry, as also stated in the latest Ignite event. Microsoft Industry Clouds are where the 1st party SaaS-based vertical solutions (such as Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 stack) come into play to address the industry-specific needs of customers (data models, compliance controls, processes, etc.) and join the horizontal and platform-level cloud platforms (Azure). With Power Platform, these SaaS solutions will come together with Azure and with AppSource, partners can complement the 1st party solutions. In a nutshell, it all means that there is a ‘single cloud platform’ offered by one provider that serves both horizontal and vertical use cases.



Microsoft is deemed as uniquely positioned (to date) in the alignment with the intents and objectives of industry cloud. It brings together a breadth and depth of cloud platforms across Azure, Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 stack and Power Platform to support the horizontal and vertical cloud needs of customers. On the one hand, Microsoft offers Azure to enable horizontal cloud services to the market and on the other hand, with vertical industry capabilities, they help accelerate business initiatives for customers. Most of these industry offerings have been announced recently and there are roadmaps of work to deliver more services and include more sub-industries in the future ahead.


Sam Zamanian

Cloud Expert
I am a technology leader with expertise in the cloud with over 20 years of experience in technology, architecture and advisory roles.