Cloud Computing Growth

Synergy Research Group sized the Q4 enterprise spend on cloud services at $37 billion, up 35% year-over-year.  The full-year spend was $129 billion.  Microsoft Azure continued its growth, reaching a 20% market share, second only to AWS in the low 30s.  Azure has doubled its market share over the past four years.  AWS posted $12.7 billion in Q4 revenue.  Google Cloud has a 9% market share but remains a money loser.  Except for Alibaba, at 6%, the smaller cloud providers continue to lose market share.

Azure grew 50% year-over-year, while AWS grew 28%.

“We believe Azure’s cloud momentum is still in its early days of playing out within the company’s massive installed base, and the Office 365 transition for both consumer/enterprise is providing growth tailwinds over the next few years,” said Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives.

“Based on our conversations with CIOs, CISOs, and IT product managers globally over the last month, we believe cloud-driven architecture IT growth in 2021 could surpass that of 2020 as more enterprises rip the band-aid off on digital transformations.”

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives

AWS CEO Andy Jassy will succeed CEO Jeff Bezos at Amazon in Q3.  AWS generates half of Amazon’s profits but generates only ten percent of revenues.  Bezos will assume the role of Executive Chairman.

MSD 365 Customer Insights Enhancements

Microsoft has begun beta testing a set of enhancements to its Dynamics 365 Customer Insights CDP.  The upgrades focus on extending CDP capabilities into deeper insights and AI capabilities.  The new functionality will GA during the first half of 2021.

Engagement Insights, currently in preview, provides cross-channel analytics that assess customer behavior and intent across the web, mobile, connected devices, and other touchpoints.  Engagement Insights combines behavioral analytics with transactional, demographic, survey, and other data sets “to create interactive and rich insights that help drive the next best actions and personalized experiences.”

Engagement Insights begins with standard analytics around web site visitors, pages viewed, and visit duration.  A custom report builder lets marketers “curate the exact views to answer the business questions at hand.”  Funnel reports track customer journeys, identify gaps and opportunities, and inform next best actions.

“Engagement Insights is about directly funneling web, mobile and connected product data back into Customer Insights to help continue to enrich that understanding of the customer in order to better serve them.

James Phillips, President of Microsoft Business Applications.

Insights are deployed across the customer lifecycle and assist with personalizing offers, including presenting new product or services that better match customer needs.

“As everything’s gone digital, the need to deeply understand your customer and to increase the efficacy of those engagements has really been heightened through this pandemic,” said Phillips.

AI enhancements focus on better customer predictions.  The AI functionality employs Azure Synapse Analytics and includes a set of pre-built templates for predicting customer churn, automating product recommendations, and evaluating customer lifetime value.  The templates help marketers gather customer insights without requiring data science or IT professional support.

A new integration with Dynamics 365 Customer Voice captures customer sentiment and feedback.

According to Phillips, Customer Insights is the “fastest-growing application in the Dynamics 365 portfolio.”

Part II covers Customer Insights partnerships.