Azure made the news in a big way this past week when telecom giant AT&T announced it was switching to a “public cloud first” operation, moving most of its non-network workloads to Microsoft’s cloud, with employees using Office 365. The $2 billion deal will also see the two companies work together on developing tools for AI and high-speed 5G wireless. This follows close on the heels of the partnership Microsoft and Oracle Cloud formed back in June.

Experts are calling this is a big win for Microsoft in the fight for cloud computing dominance, citing powerful cloud-based productivity tools such as Office 365 as the main drivers of Microsoft’s growth.

Benefits of Consolidating Under the Microsoft Banner

When it comes to public IaaS and PaaS service revenues, AWS has dominated the market since 2006, when it all began. Yet under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has quickly gained ground, building an impressive global cloud network of its own, bringing in nearly $10 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2019.

AWS, Google, and Azure offer roughly the same high-level features, but what really puts Azure at the forefront is that, for companies that already run a Microsoft-centric environment, it can be a natural, easier-to-integrate fit. In other words, Azure seamlessly links with key Microsoft systems such as Windows Server, System Center, and Active Directory.

Office 365 and Azure solutions can help you transform business processes using Microsoft Graph, Azure Active Directory, Functions, and Azure Logic Apps. Used together, the benefits are clear.

  • Secure remote access to the network.
  • Global connection with third-party or custom SaaS apps.
  • Seamless migrations to the cloud.
  • 24/7 expert support.
  • OneDrive collaborative document sharing.

Also contributing to Azure’s success, according to Matt Mehler, Vice President of Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, VirtuWorks, is the advantage that Microsoft has created with its global network of expert partners. Partners like VirtuWorks  help clients to design, develop, implement, and support complete solutions and enable companies to take advantage of new technology with minimal effort and, in many cases, at little to no cost, due to partner subsidies.

Azure also extends Office 365 with custom mobile app support. For example, if your organization runs Active Directory with Office 365, Azure lets you extend the hybrid active directory infrastructure, providing single sign-ons.

Can You Use Office 365 with AWS and Google?

Office 365 is offered and supported by Microsoft with a dedicated site that both shows you what updates are coming and grants immediate access to new features as they’re available. And, yes, you can use Office 365 as a third-party app with other cloud services, but if your company already uses the program, it can make a lot more sense to consolidate your business’ infrastructure in one place where you pay one bill.

In Closing

As organizations continue to transition from conventional networks to the cloud environment, they can greatly benefit from having a Microsoft Certified Partner, like VirtuWorks, help them transform and grow their business with Azure and Office 365. With its flexible solutions, the latest development tools, market insights, training, migration services, and trusted expertise, it’s the perfect solution to simplifying operations while empowering employees with leading cloud applications and services on the device they choose, from wherever they are, and whenever they need it.