SOURCE: Avanade

March 31, 2010 12:00 ET

Avanade Customers Seeing Value From Microsoft Cloud-Based Offerings

Key Drivers for Cloud: Cost, Flexibility, Speed to Market

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - March 31, 2010) -  As companies evaluate cloud computing services to improve business performance, Avanade, a business technology services provider, reports customers are seeing value from Microsoft cloud-based solutions and services.

"We are seeing a great deal of interest in Microsoft cloud offerings in the last six months," said Aziz Virani, executive vice president, Global Technology & Solutions, Avanade. "Several business factors are driving this. The challenging economic environment has certainly increased interest in the potential of cloud computing because of its ability to help reduce costs. Growing competition is forcing companies to consider how cloud can help them increase speed to market or uncover new market opportunities. And many customers of ours point to the opportunity of cloud to eliminate managing application upgrades, which can consume tremendous IT time."

In 2009 Avanade engaged Kelton Research to conduct two global surveys on cloud computing -- one in February 2009 and the other in September 2009. Between the first survey and the second, there was a 320 percent increase in executives and IT decision-makers reporting they are testing or planning to implement cloud computing technologies.

In the past year, Avanade has been working to deliver cloud-related services for Microsoft offerings, including Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite, the Windows Azure platform and Avanade Online Services (AOS). AOS provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to deliver Microsoft solutions to large enterprises, with Microsoft Dynamics CRM (customer relationships management) as the first offering.

Interest in cloud migrations services delivered by Avanade to migrate to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) has doubled in the last quarter. Based on early deployments, customers are seeing cost savings of 15 to 30 percent when they switch from traditional internally managed systems to BPOS.

A Real-World Example: Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)
A global manufacturing company based in the Nordic region with operations in more than 400 locations needed to harmonize its business communications and collaboration systems to realize the vision of one global company. Avanade worked with the manufacturer to help deliver a global, unified communication system. The company explored multiple scenarios, using Avanade's Business Benefits Calculator and Estimating Model to assess whether to deploy unified communications on its internal IT systems or in the cloud. The analysis showed that the company would realize the most benefit, both from a financial and functional perspective, if deployed in the cloud to its more than 5,000 employees.

By migrating email services and adding functionality such as chat, conferencing, presence and project workspaces provided by BPOS, the company estimates it will save several million Euros over a few year period of time. The system is also easily extendable to customers, partners, suppliers and future acquisitions to further improve collaboration across groups.

Avanade Online Services
Avanade Online Services (AOS) is Avanade's SaaS delivery platform for Microsoft solutions. The first solution running on AOS is Microsoft Dynamics CRM. According to Avanade's global cloud survey last fall, the majority of respondents ranked CRM as the most critical differentiator and strategic weapon for their businesses versus the competition. The majority of respondents said they are deploying SaaS for CRM (52 percent).

Since the launch of AOS, the majority of interest from customers evaluating and signing contracts are made up of large enterprises, with less demand from the mid-market.

One of the largest global manufacturers, with about 50,000 employees, is an early adopter of AOS. AOS merges the functionality of the company's old Lotus Notes with the interoperability of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The deployment was fast, with no upfront hardware or software licensing costs -- zero. Employees are more productive because they can access the new service through their familiar Outlook client, even when offline. A recent survey revealed 95% satisfaction rate, indicating widespread acceptance and endorsement at the grassroots level.

Microsoft Windows Azure
While Windows Azure has only been publicly available since end of January, Avanade has seen strong interest from customers. Avanade was early among global systems integrators to deploy applications into production on Azure. Avanade has created a dedicated Windows Azure team in India to serve customers globally with development and delivery needs.

For example, Avanade worked with Origin Digital, an Accenture company, to help move to the Azure platform. Origin Digital (www.origindigital.com), a global IP broadcasting company, wanted to increase transcoding throughput without increasing capital expense. To gain dynamic scalability within a familiar development environment, the company built an innovative transcoding Cloud application on the Windows Azure platform. The application is expected to reduce compute costs and database administration time as well as expedite moves into new geographic markets and grow its business.

As cloud computing evolves rapidly, Avanade continues to track industry trends through research as well as customer engagements to help organizations navigate, deploy and take advantage of Microsoft cloud-based solutions and services.

About Avanade
Avanade provides business technology services that connect insight, innovation and expertise in Microsoft technologies to help customers realize results. Avanade's services and solutions help improve performance, productivity and sales for organizations in all industries. The company applies Microsoft expertise from its global network of consultants, drawing on the right mix of onshore, offshore and nearshore skills, which together are designed to help deliver results faster, at lower cost and with less risk. Avanade, which is majority owned by Accenture, was founded in 2000 by Accenture and Microsoft Corporation and serves customers in more than 24 countries worldwide with more than 9,700 professionals. Additional information can be found at www.avanade.com.

Avanade and the Avanade logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Avanade Inc. Other product, service, or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. 

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