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How ‘purpose-driven digital’ can help customers during the pandemic

In this piece, Judson Althoff – Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business, shares how Microsoft’s purpose-driven digital approach helped companies and countries adapt to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the original article here.

In Sri Lanka, the coronavirus very nearly shut down the country’s renowned 150-year old tea industry, so the Sri Lanka Tea Board and its Tea Traders Associations, with the help of a local Microsoft partner, developed an e-auction system using Azure and Teams to maintain social distancing and save almost 2 million jobs.

As organizations adapt to a COVID-19 world, their sense of purpose is taking on new meaning. 

We call this trend “purpose-driven digital,” or the art and science of leveraging technology innovation to drive business and societal outcomes for good. 

At Microsoft, we share this purpose and are honored to be a trusted partner and strategic advisor for our customers worldwide, like the Sri Lanka Tea Board. Here are some of our global partnerships that we hope to replicate in the Philippines to help the country thrive in a post-pandemic world. 

Microsoft, a global partner in fighting Covid-19

In healthcare, the industry continues to make advances in research and primary care to prevent infection, treat, or find a vaccine for COVID-19. In support of those and other efforts, we launched Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. It is our first industry-specific cloud offering that brings together trusted and integrated capabilities for customers and partners to enrich patient engagement and connect health teams to improve collaboration, decision-making and operational efficiencies. 

We also announced alliances with ImmunityBio to perform computational analysis on the coronavirus using the power of our cloud, and UnitedHealth Group to launch ProtectWell™, a return-to-workplace protocol powered by Microsoft cloud and AI technologies that helps manage employee symptom screening to create a safer work environment. 

In London, doctors at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have adopted HoloLens to limit the number of clinicians needing to enter high-risk areas of their hospital during COVID-19, while maintaining the highest levels of care and saving up to 700 items of personal protective equipment (PPE) per ward each week. 


Baltimore, Maryland-based Johns Hopkins shared how it is combining the power of Azure and AI with its research expertise to support its inHealth Precision Medicine Analytics Platform to drive new medical discoveries and improve disease management. 

NHSX/NHS Digital are enabling organizations across England to support first-line workers during the pandemic, providing as many as 1.2 million workers with Microsoft 365 digital tools while Premera Blue Cross, the leading health insurance provider in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, has deployed 500 Surface devices for its office workers to deliver wellness and prevention care to more than 2 million of its members.

Regardless of industry, organizations are embracing these technologies as part of business continuity planning and as a strategy to modernize operations and customer experiences. PCL Construction began manufacturing and assembling Citizen Care Pods, retrofitted from shipping containers and powered by our cloud and AI technologies to support reliable, convenient COVID-19 testing for patients. 

Citizen Care Pods

Reinventing e-commerce

In a multiyear collaboration with FedEx, we shared plans to reinvent the end-to-end commerce experience globally, creating opportunities for FedEx customers and enabling businesses to better compete in a growing digital landscape powered by Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365. 

We also launched a cloud platform in partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and Adobe to provide WBA customers with personalized health care and shopping experiences, further enhancing WBA’s loyalty program and advancing its digital transformation. 

Leading the way in smart manufacturing

In manufacturing and logistics, we announced a partnership with Sony Semiconductor Solutions to make AI-powered smart cameras and video analytics easier to access and deploy across industries – for instance, a manufacturer might use smart cameras to identify hazards on its manufacturing floor in real-time before injuries can occur. 

We also shared how we are working with Hitachi to build resilient supply chains and equip first-line workers with predictive maintenance and remote assist capabilities to boost productivity and operational efficiency. Additionally, GE Aviation announced they are offering a new digital fuel dashboard at no cost to commercial airline customers using its Azure-enabled event measurement system as a way of providing operational efficiency and agility to customers affected by the pandemic.

Building better businesses

We are continuing to partner with software companies like Workday and SAS to deliver new solutions at scale on Azure to help our joint customers improve business performance with our cloud technologies. Collaborating with these companies and other ISVs allows us to introduce more repeatable solutions into the marketplace and accelerate our customers’ cloud journey.

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