This episode is about the newly announced Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare which is now available! We delve into the capabilities of this industry-vertical cloud and get a sense of why industry clouds are starting to emerge with Microsoft’s Jenn Roth and John Doyle.
This episode is about the newly announced Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare which is now available! We delve into the capabilities of this industry-vertical cloud and get a sense of why industry clouds are starting to emerge with Microsoft’s Jenn Roth and John Doyle.
Healthcare is in transition. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated healthcare technology from nice to haves to imperatives. Jenn and John talk about what the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is, why healthcare data is so difficult to manage and how the Cloud for Healthcare helps, the capabilities the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare offers to healthcare customers and partners compared to the standard Azure cloud, and whether or not Microsoft is looking at creating additional industry clouds.
Cloud for Healthcare Home | More resources to explore
Microsoft Healthcare Industry Home
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare Services Partners’ Capabilities Guide
Microsoft’s Healthcare Industry Blog
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is transforming the healthcare journey by Tom McGuinness
Partnering to reimagine better experiences and better care for patients by Scott Rollins
Microsoft as Undisputed AI Leader in healthcare
John Doyle is a director within the worldwide commercial business industry team at Microsoft. He is responsible for the development of business strategy and partnerships across the healthcare industry, globally. John engages with industry customers and partners, developing strategies and repeatable technology solutions that harness the power of the cloud and AI to drive innovation and industry transformation.
Follow him on LinkedIn.
Jenn Roth is the Global Product Marketing Director for the Healthcare in the Microsoft Cloud Group. Jenn joined Microsoft 2 years ago after 20+ years working in healthcare and Med Tech industries. She excels when given opportunities to lead healthcare strategy development and enhance customer experience about our company, products, and services.
Follow her on LinkedIn.
Paul Maher is General Manager of the Marketplace Onboarding, Enablement, and Growth team at Microsoft. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
David Starr is a Principal Azure Solutions Architect in the Marketplace Onboarding, Enablement, and Growth team at Microsoft. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
DAVID: Welcome to the Azure for Industry Podcast. We're your hosts, David Starr and Paul Maher. In this podcast, you hear from thought leaders across various industries, discussing technology trends and innovation, sharing how Azure is helping transform business. You'll also hear directly from Microsoft thought leaders on how our products and services are meeting the industry's continually evolving needs.
Listeners, in today's episode, we're talking about our newly announced Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, which is in general availability. We'll delve into the exciting capabilities of this industry-vertical cloud and get a sense of why industry clouds are starting to emerge and becoming so popular. And with us for this discussion are John Doyle and Jenn Roth from Microsoft. I'll introduce each.
And, first of all, John is a director for business strategy in the worldwide health industry team and has the distinction of being the first repeat guest on our show, which is wonderful. He engages with industry customers and partners, developing strategies and repeatable technology solutions that harness the power of the cloud and AI to drive innovation and industry transformation, and also leads the industry solution team. So, John, welcome back to the program.
JOHN: Thank you, David. Thanks for taking me back.
DAVID: Of course.
JOHN: And Jenn Roth is the Global Product Marketing Director for the Healthcare in the Microsoft Cloud Group. Jenn joined Microsoft two years ago after about 20 years or so of working in healthcare and Med Tech industries. She excels when given opportunities to lead healthcare strategy development and enhance customer experience about our company, and our products, and services. And with that, I'll welcome you to the program, Jenn. Thanks for being here.
JENN: Thank you, David. Nice to be here.
DAVID: And Paul, I'll just hand over to you for our first discussion.
PAUL: Thank you, David. And welcome to the show, Jenn and John. So let's start things off. So Microsoft recently announced the general availability of the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. Jenn, perhaps you could explain a little bit more about what it is and why we're offering a cloud specifically dedicated to the healthcare industry.
JENN: Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for that question, Paul. Well, the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is really our answer to many of the challenges that healthcare has been facing during certainly the COVID 19 pandemic. But even as we go beyond the pandemic and what's been happening in it, I think we all have either known who has been impacted. The healthcare industry has been burdened by longstanding trends like aging populations, and provider burnout, and patient dissatisfaction. But with the pandemic, it really represented an unprecedented challenge forcing many healthcare organizations to kind of rethink and re-establish their norms and operational best practices.
So we at Microsoft as we truly are believe that technology has a role to play, and our commitment has always been to ensure that the tools we are going to provide are up to that task to support our customers in their time of need. So for us, it was intentional to really support the healthcare vertical that is in most urgent need right now, which is the provider space. But it's also the factor of why we accelerated the launch of the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare in 2020 to really help support those health providers and to respond to and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
DAVID: John, did you want to add anything to that?
JOHN: Yeah. I think as we get more into this sort of conversation throughout, I think one of the good things will be an opportunity to unpack exactly what the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is. And at a super high-level, really what we're trying to do is enable both customers and partners to derive more value from their investments in Microsoft across Azure, across Dynamics, across Office 365, and the Power Platform and accelerate their ability to deliver the outcome they're trying to drive within the industry. And certainly, as Jenn mentioned, as we've seen with the pandemic, there's been an increased need for healthcare provider organizations to deliver healthcare outside of the walls of the hospital and normally that means investment in technology and new technology.
And one of the reasons behind the launch of the Cloud for healthcare is just to make that process of transition a lot easier but also to help healthcare organizations to realize their existing investments. We've got a lot of healthcare customers out there today that are using Azure, and Office, and Dynamics, and the Cloud for Healthcare brings those components together and makes it much easier to consume in the context of a healthcare vertical like the provider space. But as we get into the conversational flow, we'll unpack that a lot more.
DAVID: Sure. And Jenn, let's move over to something that's a really big factor in healthcare organizations and that's the data that they consume and generate. Why is it so difficult for them to wrangle and manage this data? And how does the Cloud for Healthcare help them?
JENN: Well, obviously for the healthcare organizations that we've talked to data is just the fuel for what they're trying to do, and it's the fuel for the Cloud for Healthcare. Modern healthcare organizations have data coming in from a myriad of sources, everything from your patient information, to care team updates that are happening, operational data, clinical data, and even population health. And so it makes obviously analyzing that data to reveal those actionable insights a nightmare. So just as an example, the average healthcare system will produce over 50 petabytes of data upwards of 10 siloed systems every year. So the problem is not a lack of data - it's really about that lack of interoperability and integration across those data systems. And so, unfortunately, 90% of that data healthcare providers have available to them is currently unstructured, and it's largely inaccessible for data-driven decisions, so that was important when we looked at the Cloud for Healthcare. We have to make sure that healthcare can use their data because it's so important for them to reveal those insights behind patient care, health team efficacy, and just organizational performance. Providers today have to spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to glean any insight from their data. Up to 70% of the time providers spend analyzing data is just wasted on that ingestion and unification, so it's a major barrier to improving those clinical and operational capabilities. So we saw this as an opportunity to really bring in and make sure that interoperability is an important part of the regulatory environment for healthcare, but it's also going to be an important part for these healthcare organizations to really reveal those insights that can enhance patient care and also health team collaboration and coordination.
DAVID: And John, I'm wondering if you could speak just a little bit about some of the technology behind that data interoperability.
JOHN: Yeah. And again, just to build on some of the points that Jenn raised there, one of the challenges we're finding with healthcare customers adopting more modern technology -- let's talk to artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence really is one of technology's most important priorities and healthcare is perhaps one of the most important applications. But in order to actually apply machine learning or artificial intelligence over sensitive and regulated health information, you've really got to understand firstly, how to protect that information in a hyper-scale cloud environment like Microsoft but then also how to ingest, how to store, how to reason, how to interact with that data. So we've really focused on trying to make it easier to do all of those things so if you think about data ingestion, making sure that Microsoft understands the language of healthcare. So as we ingest the different types of data from structured to unstructured, to streaming device and sensor data, to image data, to omic data, making sure that firstly Microsoft's technologies understand it. And then we can enrich and transform that data into a native format like FIHR to enable that interoperability of data across the healthcare estates. And as we make that data more interoperable, we could make it more accessible. And then we can effectively deliver things like a common data model such that then you can start to build a library of machine learning algorithms and apply AI tools like natural language processing for healthcare specifically to that data in a protected form. So there's lots of things that we're trying to do to make that process easier, more seamless for healthcare organizations. But because we're focused on interoperability, that means that the customer has a choice where to store that data and how to flow that into a hyper-scale cloud environment like Microsoft Azure or Dynamics, or Teams. It's really about making that process easier.
PAUL: Right. Thank you, Jenn, John. So with that, then carrying on the conversation, perhaps Jenn, you could start with sharing from your perspective, what do we mean by a Microsoft industry-specific cloud for healthcare? And for our listeners out there, why have we created one? After all, we already have healthcare workloads running on Azure today.
JENN: I think what we, again, saw there's some underlying needs in the healthcare industry that besides just having Azure as a data pipeline and a data foundation, it was really important to have very specific healthcare capabilities that healthcare organizations could really accelerate what they were doing. And so, as we built the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, we really made sure the capabilities within that were composable, meaning that our customers could deploy them one at a time or in the whole group, whatever they really needed. But we also wanted to make it easier for them to leverage their existing investments in Microsoft Cloud technologies. We don't want them to have to re-engage and reapply what they've already done just to add in the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare capabilities. So we want to really allow them to apply those to solutions they have already deployed in their environment.
And we also, to John's point, really wanted to make sure we created a connected health data platform that was integrated that could really enrich, and normalize, and unify that patient health information data sets into FHIR. It really helps them create what we call a longitudinal record of the patient, and that longitudinal record is literally the record that follows that patient on the patient journey through the continuum of care, everywhere from their home all the way through the hospital, post-care, or even wellness. So for us, I think that was one thing that we saw was needed. It was something that we were already hearing from our customers - if they could accelerate some of the things they were doing, that was going to be very important to them. And we wanted to help them accelerate it.
Obviously, again, COVID really hit the healthcare industry so hard. Just as an example, for virtual health a lot of them had that in their mind but that was a two to three-year down the road idea for doing things like virtual visits. So they really had to accelerate what would have been a two-year journey in less than two months. And now they're seeing the benefit of that because their patients are actually really liking having the option of virtual visits or being able to triage or talk to or use a bot. So for us, it was that idea of really getting to help them accelerate their journey but also help them support their patients in a better way. And that's what really drove and fueled why we were creating this very industry-specific Cloud for Healthcare. And just to mention too that while the capabilities we have today are provider-focused, we're seeing a lot of interest from health payers as well as pharma and Med Tech who really looking towards us having this type of cloud structure be something that they want to also see us accelerate into those markets and those verticals in the future.
PAUL: Thanks, Jenn. And John, I'll look for your comments in a moment, but I'm just playing back some of what I heard which is fantastic. So we're thinking about how are we helping customers and partners? We're thinking about how do we help leverage existing investments? We talked about things like interoperability and standards which is fantastic. And I loved your point around data and compliance, it was great, and that ability to create that longitudinal patient record. So, John, perhaps you could share some of your thoughts. And I know when we spoke previously on the other podcast we talked a little bit about the work going on with COVID also but perhaps you could bring in any insights to kind of lean in on what, as Jenn just mentioned, how we've helped and obviously our current changing times, and obviously how this initiative with the Cloud for Healthcare has helped reimagine the way healthcare solutions are being built or perhaps drive new innovation or fast track solutions on the Cloud for Healthcare.
JOHN: Absolutely. And I'll build on where Jenn left off. So firstly, the Cloud for Healthcare really takes cloud capabilities across Azure, Dynamics, Office, and the Power Platform and then effectively creates a set of pre-composed pre-configuration as well as leveraging some of our existing engineered vertical capabilities like the Azure API for FIHR to enable customers to actually builds solutions. And when we talk about the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, we're really focused on sort of three core areas, one is around how do we improve the experience for patients, for members, for citizens, for consumers? How do we then empower healthcare organizations and employees of healthcare organizations to actually harness the power of technology to make their really complex job a little bit easier when it comes to the technologies that they use and how we bring the data together to make them derive insight, engage with patients within the healthcare ecosystem? And then the third area really is around how do we take all of the data that we collect both from the patient, both from the interaction and then apply modern technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence to drive both operational insights but also clinical insights to enable care teams to better care for their patients? So we've really focused on those three core areas. And as Jenn mentioned, we've then pre-configured a set of capabilities. And when we talk about the capabilities in the Cloud for Healthcare, there are nine core capability areas, and I'm not going to go through all of them. But I'll sort of start with one of them and build into a couple of the others just from how we're seeing customers adopt.
So very early on in the conversation, I talked about an increased need to deliver healthcare outside of the walls of the hospital. And Jenn alluded to the fact that more and more healthcare organizations are now using virtual care and virtual visits to actually deliver doctor-patient consultations. So one of the capability areas that we've built out is around virtual health, but virtual health is more than just video conversation between a doctor and a patient. It can actually start a lot earlier in the journey. So for example, in the context of COVID, the ability for a patient to do a self-triage where they leverage the Microsoft Healthcare Bots to actually do symptom checking for COVID using the protocols defined by the CDC. Once they go through that process and if they are indeed symptomatic for COVID, how do you then do a warm handoff into something like Teams to actually carry out a doctor-patient consultation? If the doctor then does deem you to have COVID, how do we then take you through into actual care pathway management? And how can we handover into Dynamics to manage you as a patient while actually getting access to your patient record via an API directed -- So we're seeing more and more scenarios where you're actually tying together more than one Microsoft technology together. So if you think about the Cloud for Healthcare, it's actually a set of pre-composed configurations that a healthcare customer or a healthcare partner can get and then build on top. But it's actually moving them further down the path a lot faster rather than having to take those individual components themselves and stitch them together. We've actually done it on their behalf and they can then layer on top.
And then probably the last piece I'll finish with is that partners really extend the value. They are the last mile of connectivity in that healthcare value chain for our customers, so actually working with those partners, taking their existing solutions and extending them with more modern technology, part of the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, but actually allowing them to provide those services directly to the customer. So if you're a customer and you're already using Teams, can we bring that partner solution directly in the canvas of Teams to reduce the number of interfaces that a healthcare worker needs to use? And that really then blends into that conversation around how do we make it easier, and how can we reduce the burden for things like physician burnout by actually making technology just easier to use and more consumable? Because we're actually bringing multiple parts together. There's lots of areas that we're really focused on. And what we're trying to do, and I'll re-emphasize this many times, is we're trying to make it easier and faster for both customers and partners to derive value from their existing investments in Microsoft but also to see new capabilities that Microsoft is building to actually help to solve some of these real-world challenges.
DAVID: John, Jenn, both of you, that was a really good, broad level overview of the why are we building it? Why have we built it? What have we built, and where are going with it? But John, I wonder if maybe we could drill down a little bit into what the Cloud for Healthcare offers in terms of specific technologies for healthcare customers and partners who might be looking to compare it to standard Azure cloud.
JOHN: Absolutely. And let's start at the very bottom layer. So if you can imagine in your mind, I'm now building a slide, and I'm going to build from the bottom of the slide. And at the bottom of the slide, you'll see things like Azure, Dynamics, Office, and the Platform but brought together rather than individual cloud components. We're bringing those components together in a sort of pre-composed state. Then when we start to think about pre-configuration and industry-specific solutions, we're taking capabilities of the Azure API for FIHR. I make the API for FIHR pervasive across Azure, Dynamics, and Office so you can effectively make that data accessible to the canvas of choice by that healthcare organization. We're then building in advanced technologies inside of Dynamics like customer insights that they can then use a common data model that also understands the language of healthcare. And we've effectively got a FIHR inside of a common data model in Dynamics. So you can actually then build and configure with low-code or no-code configuration around the specific care pathway that you're trying to enable. We then have specific functionality and things like Teams to enable doctor-patient consultation and enable them to schedule visits using the bookings feature inside of Teams. You can have a virtual waiting room. We have pre-configuration inside of the Microsoft Healthcare Bot to enable you to triage patients both for COVID and for other symptoms. So what you can see is there's a set of pre-configuration to bring the core cloud capabilities together. And then there's a set of vertical capabilities that enables you to stitch them into a specific scenario or a solution that you're trying to solve for.
And really the most important thing is the concept of security, privacy, and compliance. So as a healthcare organization, you have to meet security, privacy, and compliance obligations like HIPAA and HITRUST. And if you think about that pre-configuration, we're helping you understand how you create a customer responsibility matrix to articulate the shared responsibility obligations of both the cloud provider, the partner, and the customer. And again, the reason why this is now packaged together as an industry cloud is that we're actually furthering that journey to make it easier for any partner or any customer to take their existing investments and actually align them to industry-specific scenarios and compliance obligations.
PAUL: That's great. Thanks, John. So the key takeaway here is there'll be a lot of familiarity. And so, for anyone looking to get up and running on the Cloud for Healthcare, it's going to be relatively familiar with obviously some new innovations and some new capabilities so that's great. So with that said, let's talk a little bit about -- from Microsoft's point of view, we obviously look to ourselves as the technology vendor that's building the platform, but we of course look to our partners whether that be independent software vendors and systems integrators to integrate with and build on top of our Cloud for Healthcare. So John, maybe you can explain a little bit how this works when we think about what are the first-party products and services that Microsoft is making available off the shelf combined with the opportunity to engage our partner ecosystem who are delivering capabilities and innovation on top of our platform and all first-party products and services.
JOHN: And that's a really great question and a really important question. And it's actually one of the first questions that we hear from our partners, how is Microsoft helping our partners to extend and deliver value to customers? So, interestingly, back in May, when we first announced the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare to public preview all the way up until the general availability release date which was on October 28th, we actually onboarded a significant number of partners, Microsoft partners, in the partner ecosystem onto the Cloud for Healthcare. And the reason we were able to do that is that if you're an existing partner building on top of Azure, Dynamics, or Office, or even the Power Platform, it's a really easy process to actually drive and configure integration into the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. So we're really lucky that Microsoft has probably the largest partner ecosystem of any cloud provider. We have close to 300,000 partners in the ecosystem around the world. And in healthcare alone, we have about 27,500 partners that have already built or are building solutions across the system integrator space but also the ISV space. And obviously, ISV solutions are critically important in healthcare. If you think about all of the major electronic healthcare record providers, all of the imaging vendors, these provide mission-critical solutions in healthcare. And what we're trying to do is infuse those solutions into existing investments that customers have with Microsoft. So how can we, Microsoft and our partners, actually deliver more value to customers? And that's why we're working together. We have a whole list of partners that we onboarded as part of the preview. We have a significant portfolio of partners that had already built on top of Azure.
So if you're an existing partner out there and you're using Azure today, then actually onboarding into the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is a really simple process, and we've actually provided a very prescriptive guidance. So if you've already built a co-sell solution actually enabling the Microsoft Healthcare, features, functionality and capabilities is a straightforward process. We've updated the Microsoft Partner Network. So if you go into MPN, you can actually download all the resources related to the Cloud for Healthcare. And again, we've also updated docs.com. So you can actually go and see, sort of, under the covers look at the configuration and then how you might extend or integrate with or build on top of the Healthcare Cloud features and functionality. One of the benefits that we see is that if you're a partner of Microsoft and you only use Azure today, and the reason why you only use Azure is you don't have Teams skill to use Dynamics or Team skill to use Office 365, we're making it a lot easier. We're providing that pre-configuration and your teams can then learn how to take and extend your existing solution and bring your solutions inside of the canvas of Teams. We have a significant portfolio of customers that use Teams today. Imagine if you could bring your solution into the canvas of Teams to reduce the overhead on those care teams leveraging the technologies that you're bringing to market. So hopefully, Paul, that answers your question. And again, I'm happy to continue to unpack and go into more detail.
PAUL: No, that's phenomenal. So, as you know, I'm a big fan of marketplaces. So as we think about the opportunity to actually publish and purchase these solutions, what are your thoughts? And for our listeners, is there an application marketplace specific to Cloud for Healthcare? How does that work?
JOHN: That's another great question. One of the benefits of obviously being an existing partner of Microsoft is that you'll be familiar with things like AppSource and the Azure marketplace, so those aren't going away - we're going to continue to leverage those. So if you've already built a solution that's published on the Azure marketplace, you are a perfect partner candidate to be onboarded into the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. The other thing that I always like to think about when we talk about marketplaces is this concept of a two-sided marketplace where being a partner of Microsoft you actually build on our platforms and then you gain access to a whole market of customers, and those customers are available anywhere around the world. The benefit of the hyper-scale cloud platform is that you can build a solution once and you can deploy it into many geographies so one side of the marketplace is customers.
The other thing that we've seen really interesting in terms of happening when we think about the Cloud for Healthcare is creating this partner ecosystem. And what we mean by this is that because you're integrating with the Cloud for Healthcare, you become visible to other partners in that ecosystem. So in addition to building solutions that serve customers like providers and payers, we're also seeing partners get access to other partners by actually building solutions. So if you have got a solution and you've built an API, you could publish that as part of the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and allow other partners in the healthcare ecosystem to leverage the API framework to actually build on top of the solution that you have. So we're seeing this interesting concept of this two-sided marketplace because you're using the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. Any customer that uses the Cloud for Healthcare gets access to your partner solution should you choose to publish them and any partner in the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare ecosystem can also get access to your products and services. So again, we're seeing this mutual benefit of being both a partner delivering to customers and a partner delivering to partners.
DAVID: And now let's take a moment out to listen to this very important message.
Did you know the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace allows you to find and purchase leading Microsoft certified solutions from Microsoft partners? The Microsoft Commercial Marketplace includes the Microsoft AppSource and Azure Marketplace. Each storefront serves unique customer requirements and different target audiences so publishers can ensure solutions are available to the right customers. For applications that integrate with Microsoft 365 products, visit appsource.microsoft.com. Get solutions tailored to your industry that works with the products you already use. For B2B Azure-based solutions, visit azuremarketplace.microsoft.com. Here, you can discover, try, and deploy the cloud software solutions you want.
DAVID: And John, keeping on that theme of partnership you've been talking about, when a partner is considering building on the Cloud for Healthcare, what should be something they really keep in mind in their primary focus when doing so?
JOHN: So first and foremost, they should be thinking about the outcome they're trying to drive to the customer. What is the solution they're trying to solve while leveraging Microsoft technologies? I think once they understand the scenario that they're trying to solve for it's then pretty easy to determine where to start from when you think about the Cloud for Healthcare.
So I mentioned very early on that the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare comes pre-composed or pre-configured with nine capability areas things like virtual health, personalized care, care team collaboration, clinical and operational analytics. So there are nine core capability areas, and you tend to find that's the starting point to actually solve a scenario for a customer. So in the context of building a data and analytics platform for a customer, they're typically trying to derive some sort of clinical insight or operational insight to drive efficiency so knowing that that's the area that you want to start with really helps you to get laser-focused.
So if you're an Azure partner today and you're building an analytics solution specific for healthcare, then actually take a look at the scenarios that we've mapped out across both clinical and operational analytics, that would be a great place to get started. If you're a partner today that delivers solutions in the virtual health space, whether you're delivering telemedicine or telehealth solutions, take a look at the capabilities that we're enabling through virtual health and personalized care to see how you can extend those solutions with the Cloud for Healthcare capability. So again, you should always really keep in the front of your mind what is the problem that you're trying to solve for? How can some of these pre-configured solutions help you to get there faster? And then how do you then layer on top of your IP your value to demonstrate your unique value proposition for your end customer?
PAUL: Thanks, John. So something our listeners may be thinking about is if Microsoft is looking at additional industry clouds and if so, what are they? But also, why did healthcare come first?
JOHN: So I can certainly talk to why healthcare came first and Jenn alluded to this at the intro to the call. So obviously in the backdrop of the global health pandemic, COVID 19, we've seen an increased demand from healthcare customers to effectively cancel elective treatments, effectively closing the doors to hospitals really to open up the capacity to provide services to those patients that are COVID positive. And one of the things that we've seen the need for is them to deliver those services differently so the ability to have doctor-patient consultations remotely is something that we've seen more and more. We've seen an urgent demand to reason over really complex data sets. So how do we bring those data sets together to actually enable us to better predict both operational capacity but also clinical insights on the scenarios that you are trying to solve for? So those are sort of two specific areas. The other thing that we've seen is the healthcare industry is the industry that was already challenged in other areas, so we wanted to try and do healthcare first. We thought we could have the most impact in terms of providing value back. We've got a lot of customers that use Office and Dynamics but actually, how can they use them now in the context of delivering remote healthcare? So that was really the focus behind that. Jenn, I don't know whether you wanted to talk to what industries come next because we did talk about the fact that the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare was the first industry. Jenn, I don't know whether you wanted to talk to the second part of that question.
JENN: Yeah, I'd love to add just a little bit of color. Certainly, when we announced the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, I think the original announcement maybe happened in March or in that general area, part of it was in response to what John was talking about, which was the pandemic. We were seeing this across many different organizations, and Satya and many of the leadership team stood up and said, "Our commitment is going to be supporting our customers, helping to be these digital-first responders wherever we can and really help bring the right technology to help them drive their business." Because to John's point, many industries were getting impacted, healthcare obviously being one significant one but even things like retail and manufacturing really had to re-imagine how they were going to respond to this and how they do their business on an ongoing basis.
So we are definitely investing in and doubling down on that commitment that we started with healthcare. And you will see us announcing some additional industry clouds in the coming year part of those being in areas like retail, manufacturing, things like that. Again, we're just looking at which industries are kind of being impacted by this and saying, "Okay, where do we need to lean in and help support them even more?" We know that obviously, every organization is on a very unique journey right now, but we want to help them to be able to recover and really help their organization re-imagine where they can go to and what that next phase looks like for their organization so really helping them find that resilience. And so you'll just see us continue to invest in these industry clouds. You'll see us bring new technologies into the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and then you'll see a regular rhythm of updates that keep happening.
JOHN: Yeah, and I'd just like to add that one of the other things that we've seen and we're continuing to learn as we move further and further into the industry is the need and the convergence of industry. So we talked earlier on about the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare being focused on FHIR industry. And what we learned really early on is that some of the capabilities that we've built are very applicable to sort of similar industries like the payer industry, the biopharma industry, the Med Tech industry. So I think about Med Tech, the ability to connect regulated health devices and sensors and then bring them into a provider organization so that a doctor can reason over that information in real-time with a patient so that we're starting to see more and more of this sort of industry convergence. And even as you expand out from healthcare into retail, the convergence between retail and healthcare, we're seeing more and more. So we're seeing customers that are outside the healthcare vertical looking at the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and actually starting to use some of the capabilities because they're pre-configured, they're pre-composed, so you'll see more and more of that.
This emphasis on data interoperability is also a reason why we're seeing more and more convergence in the industry. So this whole concept of pre-composed pre-configured industry-specific capabilities is an area that we're going to continue to invest in. And really it's our customers and partners that are informing our roadmap and our journey to do those things. And just as sort of a final call out, everything that we do within the context of healthcare really is partner first. We're really focused on making sure that we can enable our partners to deliver those solutions end to end for our customers, and the Healthcare Cloud brings those things together and makes it easier and faster for those partners to be successful in the industry.
PAUL: Thanks, John. And super interesting point as well, the kind of the coming together sort of retail as a distribution vehicle as we think about healthcare. And congratulations for being trailblazers. So obviously, there was a need, and it's great to see that there was the ability for us to pivot and innovate and excited to see what other industry-specific clouds we'll release in the near future. So with that, David, I'm going to hand it over to you as we close out the show.
DAVID: Yeah, as we're winding down, Jenn and John, I wonder if maybe you could speak a little bit to some of the resources that we might link to in the show notes that would help our listeners take another step forward, the next step down and learn a little bit more about the Cloud for Healthcare. We don't need to go into URLs or anything, of course, but we can link these things up in our show notes so that our listeners can follow through.
JOHN: Yeah, so I'll probably start. So for me, if I was new and I'd not heard about the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, the best place to start is our Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare landing page. And even though you mentioned not using a URL, we've created a short URL called https://aka.ms/cloudforhealthcare. Whether you're a customer or whether you're a partner, if you actually go to that landing page, we've actually created a number of little, short videos that explain not only the concept of the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare but actually that drill into those capability areas. And then if you're a partner and you actually want to sort of lift up the covers and take a look underneath, then actually if you go to the Microsoft Partner Network, we've actually provided a whole series of documentation and pre-configuration that helps you to understand, and you could take those components and then build and integrate on top of those components as part of your solution. So for me, those would be the two areas. Jenn, I don't know if you wanted to add to that.
JENN: Yeah. And then I would just also say for other listeners who want to get into the deeper side of when we announce, how we announce this, you can go to the Healthcare Industry Blog, and you can find a lot of our announcements, a lot of information also about our partners and who was a part of that launch. And then certainly, the other thing I'll just mention is the Microsoft Industry Hub which has a lot of training materials on it as well. And I think that's a really great resource for our teams to go and check out some of the training and some of the information on that as well.
DAVID: And the last thing I'll mention is that, of course, we'll include your social links on the show notes so that people can follow you, Jenn, and you, John on LinkedIn and glean even more of your wisdom on this topic as you guys share out there on LinkedIn. So thanks so much for being on the show, both of you, and a really great conversation today.
JENN: Thank you for having us. It's been great.
JOHN: Thank you, David. Thank you for inviting me back. I appreciate it.
DAVID: Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Azure for Industry podcast, the show that explores how industry experts are transforming our world with Azure.