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How one provider is making the most of Microsoft’s industry clouds



What Does Microsoft’s Release of Industry Clouds Mean for Barhead?

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia — March 15, 2021 — Microsoft recently announced a new suite of industry-specific solutions to support and co-innovate with its customers and partners. There are three new Microsoft Industry Clouds – Financial Services, Manufacturing and Non-Profit – in addition to updates for the existing Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Microsoft Cloud for Retail.
Barhead Solutions CEO Ken Struthers welcomed the release, saying Barhead had always understood that industry-led solutions were the key to success.

“Now that Microsoft has embraced this same approach, their significant investment in the Industry Clouds allows us to deliver solutions to our customers in a far more robust and rapid manner,” Struthers said.

Barhead's service offering has been – and will continue to remain – industry-aligned. It simply makes good business sense to ensure experts are fully focused on their specific industry, he said.

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“We have realigned our sales team to be industry-focused, which means our customers can trust they will receive the knowledge and advice relevant to their industry. We won’t do all things for all people,” Struthers said.

Having forged a close relationship with Microsoft’s industry specialists, Barhead has visibility into where Microsoft will be investing in the near term, which is incredibly valuable to its offering and customers.

“Being part of the inner circle has given us much greater visibility. It provided us both with an opportunity to shape what the industry solutions are, and also to craft our delivery mechanisms and teams according to how they should be scaled,” Struthers said.

Microsoft’s announcement is also a positive for Barhead’s Not-For-Profits Business Unit. Barhead Solutions’ Head of Not-for-Profits Amanda Stenson said the new clouds will allow the company to develop and further enhance the solution beyond the baseline of fundraising and engagement.

“It means we can focus on thought leadership areas and dive deeper into uncovering what our clients are trying to achieve,” she said.

“This will run the gamut, from solving business problems around acquisition of donors, to delivering services and programs in a much more efficient way. Ultimately, it will allow us to enhance the experience for donors.”

There’s no understating how valuable the Barhead–Microsoft partnership is for all sectors, but particularly the NFP unit. These strong ties are leveraging Microsoft technologies for social impact, and allowing Barhead to work directly with the people who are driving change within the not-for-profit sector.

“There’s been a lot of investment over the past three to four years in developing the common data model and expanding that to where we are now with the Non-Profit Cloud,” said Stenson.

“We’ve developed strong relationships with the Microsoft team, both locally and globally, and they’ve welcomed us into important committees – allowing us to provide feedback into different areas, whether that’s usability, functionality or otherwise. That partnership has been instrumental in getting us to this point.”

For the future, Barhead acknowledges that there must be a new baseline of how the business operates in a post-COVID world. However, Struthers sees great potential for growth.

“Adoption in Australia of Microsoft Power Platform’s business applications is skyrocketing. So now the technical people are going to need to have a broader industry focus. They will need to know the components of Azure Business Apps, Power Platform, MS Teams, and Modern Workplace Solutions so they can have the right conversations with the relevant people delivering projects,” Struthers said.

“Being part of that journey, continuing to evangelise those changes, and working with organisations that are now seeing Microsoft not only as a credible alternative but also the industry leader – we at Barhead will continue to develop the human capital to support those deployments.”