Microsoft is expanding its partnership with GE by combining Azure data analytics capabilities with GE Digital's industrial IoT solutions, according to an announcement Monday. Both companies will go to market together.
Part of the partnership includes GE Digital standardizing Predix on Azure so the Predix portfolio integrates with Azure's cloud capabilities, such as Azure IoT and Azure Data and Analytics for Industrial IoT, according to the announcement. The expanded partnership includes further integration with Azure Stack for enabling hybrid deployments on public and private clouds.
- Campbell Soup Co. also chose Microsoft Azure to modernize its IT infrastructure, according to a Microsoft announcement on Monday. Campbell will use Azure as a hybrid cloud solution for near real-time access to company data and insight for the soup company's employees. Campbell's migration to Microsoft's cloud is in part to increase flexibility and support its round-the-clock digital infrastructure, said Campbell CIO Francisco Fraga in the announcement.
GE was aiming to cut costs tied to Predix by $400 million this year and part of the company's plan was to focus on partner solutions. The extension of the Azure partnership is in addition to ones with Dell Technologies and Apple. But the momentum of Predix hasn't always been what was originally expected.
The company is relying on Azure to advance the adoption process of Predix. Azure's global reach is something companies like GE want to take advantage of. Azure currently has more regions than any other cloud vendor, including Amazon Web Services, with 54 regions worldwide.
A cloud provider's global reach is sometimes just as important as the services they offer. Azure's scope, compared to other clouds, is unprecedented, as is true with much of Microsoft's presence in enterprise IT. But GE is facing a minor disruption in its IT strategy after its CIO, Jim Fowler, announced he was leaving the company for Nationwide in June.
Campbell, on the other hand, is in the midst of new IT leadership and digital transformation. Fraga joined Campbell in October after the company was facing declining sales. To overcome its sales slump, the company turned to e-commerce, big data analytics and supply chain optimization. All three initiatives require greater computing power than an on-premise data center can provide.
As part of its data tool offerings, Microsoft launched Azure Machine Learning tools last year for data scientists and developers to experiment and manage models on. In its partnerships, Microsoft is creating a line of offerings for every industry to embrace digitalization. Connecting data and machines through the cloud is vital for companies to retain a competitive edge.