TECHNOLOGY

Microsoft’s cloud business hooks a big retailer

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Microsoft is taking one the nation’s biggest apparel retailers to the cloud.

Gap Inc. said Friday that it will use Microsoft’s cloud portfolio to drive its company-wide digital transformation strategy. Armed with the company’s cloud technology, Gap said it is positioned to deploy new business capabilities and work more efficiently across the organization. The platform will also allow Gap employees across its brands worldwide, including Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Hill City and Intermix, to communicate, collaborate and share insights with one another.

Gap is migrating hundreds of applications to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform in a move designed to support a seamless and personalized experience for customers as they shop across stores, online and mobile. The first priority is to move the key inventory, stores and site capabilities from the brand portfolio to the cloud, a move that will manage all products available for purchase in more than 90 countries, and through multiple channels, including over 3,100 company-operated stores.

In addition, Gap is using Microsoft’s platform-as-a-service offerings to accelerate its time to market for new customer services, and empower customers with greater flexibility in where and how they want to shop. The cloud also supports engineers’ and product management teams’ ability to rapidly develop, deploy and test new capabilities.

By building and centralizing its data platform on Azure, Gap can also apply advanced analytics and machine learning to gain a comprehensive understanding of customers across channels, and to deliver personalized merchandising, marketing and service for all of its brands. Microsoft’s business intelligence (BI) solution will also empower employees to visualize and act on information, create the best customer experience, and drive the business, Gap said.

“As we grow our value and active business and accelerate online and mobile, the ability to scale our technology in a secure environment to accommodate this growth is critical,” said Sally Gilligan, CIO, Gap Inc. “The Microsoft Azure platform provides our teams the ability to deliver innovative and personalized capabilities for our customers with speed supported by a strong depth of technology expertise from the Microsoft team.”

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