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3 Retail Companies Benefit From Microsoft Azure

21 Oct 2015 by Jessica Hall

An innovation to integrated cloud services, Microsoft Azure brings practical solutions to how retail companies can reduce expenditures, interact with customers and increase overall efficiency. Azure can accommodate a wide variety of budgets, as there are myriad pricing options. Built around international and government standards, such as ISO 27001 and Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), Azure is committed to providing secure and private environments.           

Reducing unnecessary costs

Microsoft offers fast and reliable digital content delivery around the world. Heineken used Azure Content Delivery Network to launch a 100-megabyte James Bond advertisement in 2012. Achieving minimal latency, the global campaign was able to reach 10.5 million consumers.

Azure supports any workload, matching changing demands. The following year, the brewing company expanded its use of Azure to launch a Facebook pinball game, based on its UEFA Champions League campaign. The game was able to support 2 million real-time gameplays per hour, resulting in fans playing for an average of four-and-a-half minutes.

Removing the unnecessary costs of building and maintaining data centers affords companies with the opportunity to develop focused, yet flexible, strategies. Ewout Barendregt, global center of excellence manager at Heineken, says that the company didn’t have to invest in managing servers. With Azure, they could focus on delivering successful campaigns instead.

Improving interaction and operations

Adding more value to products and services can help you gain a competitive edge. Ziosk uses Azure HDInsight and Azure Machine Learning to add predictive analytics to its data infrastructure. Ziosk tablets can predict restaurant guest preferences and use them to create personalized experiences. The goal is to help guests optimize their use of the Ziosk devices, which leads to increased user satisfaction and revenue.

The company also provides business intelligence to restaurant managers based on their roles. Kevin Mowry, director of engineering at Ziosk, says that using Azure and Power Business Intelligence (BI) to gather and analyze data can generate more business and increase the effectiveness of operations. "For example, instead of a manager coaching the staff in the morning based on the previous day’s reports, the manager can coach the staff continuously based on real-time information,” he explains.

Increasing overall efficiency

Improving business processes bolsters work efficiency, allowing companies to save time, money and effort. In working with partners and individual stores, Radio Shack’s use of Azure allows teams to generate a million coupon codes in less than a half-hour and acquire current product availability data without help of the IT team. “Windows Azure is helping us break down barriers to work with more partners, reach more customers and compete on whole new levels,” explains Dan Buckley, senior director of IT at RadioShack.

When the assistance of the IT team is needed, it’s far less than it was before. “Instead of spending 40 hours helping a partner integrate with our network, my IT team can help them connect to our Windows Azure environment in less than eight hours,” says Buckley.

Aligned with the business trend to move toward cloud technology, these three companies have chosen Microsoft Azure. The choice empowered their retail businesses, offering success and ample benefits. Talk to a specialist today to determine how you can migrate to Azure