NEW YORK, April 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- UBS, Maersk, Hershey, Fruit of the Loom and GEICO are among the companies that have embraced digital transformation, and Wednesday announced new solutions that use Microsoft technology. These solutions, announced and on display at today's Microsoft Digital Difference event, will not only improve the speed and efficiency of how they do business, but also give them a significant digital edge over their competitors.
Also, a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report, sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and released Wednesday, finds that while 80 percent of business leaders think their industry will be positively disrupted by digital transformation within the next three years, fewer than half actually have a digital strategy in place.
"It's time for businesses to take digital disruption seriously," said Abbie Lundberg, contributing editor and author of the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report, released today. "Many firms struggle with what it means to be a digital business and how to get there. But given what we heard from global leaders, becoming a digital business is the top priority for every leader who wants to survive beyond 2020."
The companies at the event have done just that — putting strategies in place that use technology to move their businesses forward. These brands are building industry-leading solutions with Microsoft's intelligent cloud, Internet of Things, mixed reality and artificial intelligence — and the results are tangible.
From industrial to infrastructure, more than a dozen global brands and digital startups are demonstrating how they're rethinking everything from transportation and work environments to accessibility and transactions. Other companies showcased at today's event include Bank of America, Gensler, Intermountain Healthcare, King's Hawaiian, LaLiga, Mojix, Powershelf, Sarcos, Steelcase, ThyssenKrupp, Trimble and WebJet. News and stories can be found at www.microsoft.com/digitaldifference, and people can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #DigitalDifference.
"Companies are choosing Microsoft to empower their digital difference," said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of the Worldwide Commercial Business at Microsoft. "Microsoft has the edge in development in the cloud, IoT, advanced analytics, mixed reality and artificial intelligence. We understand companies' needs for innovation, speed to market, and the importance of continually transforming and re-evaluating how business is done."
Check out these highlights from the announcements and solutions showcased at the event:
The world's largest and fastest-growing wealth manager, UBS, is turning to Microsoft Azure to power its digital transformation, aiming to reduce dependency on legacy technology, find new ways to leverage digital channels, and rethink how its businesses and people work.
UBS is currently using Azure to power its risk-management platform, technology that requires enormous computing power, to run millions of calculations daily on demand. The result — speeding calculation time by 100 percent, saving 40 percent in infrastructure costs, gaining nearly infinite scale within minutes — means the firm can have more working capital on hand and employees can make quicker, more informed decisions for their clients.
In terms of UBS' strategic journey to the cloud, the risk platform is just the first step. UBS is actively partnering with Microsoft for opportunities to move more business applications to the Azure cloud.
So what about the maker of everyone's favorite candy and snacks? Hershey, a company with 123 years in business and more than 80 brands, knows how to win customer loyalty: Deliver exactly what shoppers want, when they want it. Hershey puts this expertise to use as a trusted advisor to brick-and-mortars and online retailers. The company's insights show that combining new technology with beloved consumer brands can help transform today's shopping experience.
By using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that feed data into the cloud where it's then analyzed via Machine Learning in Azure, Hershey is able to produce and innovate products faster. As a result, Hershey can extract insights and identify trends that enable the company to better understand how to manage costs and make strategic business decisions.
Maersk is the largest transport and logistics company in the world, with offices in 130 countries and a fleet of more than 1,000 vessels. Its Maersk Line sails in all major trade lanes, transporting more than 17 million containers annually, and its terminal operating unit, APM Terminals, operates in more than 70 ports worldwide. There is an enormous opportunity to tap into the sheer volume of data generated across operations — in fact, Maersk estimates that the power of data will help add tens of millions of dollars to the bottom line annually.
As a start, Damco, Maersk's supply chain solutions business unit, has already built several solutions on Microsoft Azure, turning on the data spigot for actionable insights and strategic decision-making. Next up, Maersk is building a digital platform (app store) on Microsoft's intelligent cloud to enhance operational performance, increase the visibility and predictability of supply chains, and improve service to millions of Maersk customers worldwide.
And what about other companies that choose Microsoft for their digital transformation? Here's what's new from Fruit of the Loom and GEICO:
Fruit of the Loom
Everyone knows Fruit of the Loom for its comfy casual wear and underwear, but what about its commitment to improving employees' work processes? By capitalizing on Office 365 and the Azure cloud platform, Fruit of the Loom is transforming and powering productivity across the business. Recently, it began harnessing big data and developing predictive models that help the business better understand consumer behavior through Microsoft Azure Machine Learning from the Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI for Office 365.
With 15 million policyholders, direct auto-insurer GEICO is enhancing its digital presence in the cloud to better connect with customers and drive innovation. As part of its strategy to increase efficiency, ensure greater application availability and lower costs, GEICO announced an aggressive hybrid-cloud course from legacy systems to the Microsoft Azure cloud. This technology will automate and build infrastructure in the cloud on its own terms from delivering optimal experiences 24/7 for customers to making faster and easier transactions possible.
GEICO is committed to engaging with its customers more frequently and in new and interesting ways. By working with Microsoft's cloud, it's sure to be ahead of the curve when it comes to where the next big digital opportunities lie.
Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
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