April 29, 2010*

Spotlight

Four Ways Your Business Can Benefit from Windows Azure

For many companies, the best strategy to improve the efficiency, reduce the costs, and enhance the security of their IT infrastructure is cloud computing. The Windows Azure platform provides a foundation for running Windows applications and storing data in an Internet-accessible data center (i.e. “the cloud”) instead of at your site. Here are the top four ways it can help your business succeed.

1. Improve Your Bottom Line

The Windows Azure platform saves you money by reducing your capital costs and allowing you to pay only for the IT services you actually use. The consumption-based pricing helps to keep your IT spend predictable, while allowing you to keep pace with your IT needs.
According to Microsoft Gold Certified partner Collabera, which offers a Windows Azure Assessment service, organizations are increasingly looking to cloud computing to increase operational efficiency, reduce head count, and improve their bottom line.

2. Free Your Focus

Migrating to Windows Azure can eliminate the complex, costly tasks of purchasing, installing, and supporting the hardware and software that your company relies upon, freeing you to focus on your core business. Instead of getting bogged down in operational issues, you can concentrate on delivering value to your customers.

3. Easily Scale IT Services

The Windows Azure platform allows you to increase your IT infrastructure simply by upgrading your level of service. You can also take advantage of development tools, automated service management, and Microsoft’s global datacenter presence to give your business a competitive edge and respond quickly to growth opportunities.

Here’s an example: Outback Steakhouse partnered with Microsoft partner Thuzi LLC to create a Facebook fan page for special promotions. Thuzi considered hosting the application in one of its data centers, but hesitated at the up-front expenses needed to support the hoped-for response. Using the Windows Azure platform, Thuzi was able to develop an application in less than eight weeks and easily scale it to support a huge customer response.

4. Open New Markets

  • If you’re an application developer, you can use Windows Azure to sell your innovations as an on-demand service, instead of an on-premises application. This can open new markets by making your offerings available to customers who might not otherwise be able to deploy them.
  • If you’re an IT customer, the Windows Azure platform gives you access to business-enhancing applications that you might not otherwise be able to afford or support.

Persistent Systems, a Microsoft Gold Certified partner located in India, was able to expand the market for its e-governance suite thanks to the Windows Azure platform. Local and regional governments that lacked the IT infrastructure to deploy and support an on-premise application were able to purchase the e-governance suite once it was hosted in the cloud, thus delivering better service to their constituents.

Madhuri Tambe, Senior Product Manager at Persistent, estimates that Persistent’s customers might have to spend $84,000 in capital costs and annual maintenance overhead for a given set of e-governance features, but with Windows Azure, the same customers can eliminate those costs and pay only service fees of around $10,000 per year.

Featured Applications and Services

*This article was updated January 6, 2012.