In this post, Andre Azevedo, General Manager of Cloudreach’s Microsoft Azure practice, reflects on the transformation that Microsoft has gone through over the five years.

When I joined Cloudreach in 2012 Cloud computing, or “IaaS”, as it was known back then, was a very immature market. Amazon had been at it for some time and even its offering was relatively basic by today’s standards. In the years that followed, and as we helped more and more customers adopt public cloud, there was always one question looming: is the cloud race over before it even began?

The answer to this question back in 2014, and even 2015 was more often ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’. The online bookseller-turned-tech-company-juggernaut did seem unstoppable. Their continuous drive for innovation and rate of adoption was (and is) indeed impressive and was difficult to envisage anyone taking them on head-to-head. Perhaps some opportunities on the fringes, but not in its core business.

Meanwhile, and sometimes quite silently, we were witnessing one of the most understated corporate transformations in modern times. Under Satya’s leadership, Microsoft became humbler, innovative and increasingly inspiring in the technical community (some interesting notes from our very own Chris Bunch here). They initiated a big push to reinvest the vast amounts of profit its “cash cow” businesses generated into things that may have sounded to many as counter-intuitive. They embraced competitive open-source technology and developed an advanced cloud platform that was superior to AWS’ in many areas, including in AI. Microsoft also changed its business model to incentivise cloud-related subscription revenues and implemented consumption-based sales compensation.

I’m pretty sure a lot of these decisions were difficult and against the natural instincts of a highly profitable business. Potentially cannibalising your own revenues to make a bet in the technology of the future isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s still a lot to change and Microsoft isn’t stopping here, but it is because of that strategy that they are the only tech company to feature in the top 10 organisations with the largest market cap for 20 years running. And most recently, holding on to the top spot as the most valuable company in the world.

Very early along that journey, at Cloudreach we recognised the potential of the Azure platform and Azure cloud migration to help our customers transform their business, and have partnered with Microsoft since 2014. That has evolved through the years, to the point we launched a dedicated Microsoft Azure practice earlier in the year.

In my 7+ years here there’s hardly any role I haven’t held at Cloudreach, from sales to finance, from marketing to strategy and M&A, and I have always performed them with pride and joy. And successfully, of course (or so I like to think!). I’ve recently accepted the challenge of leading our Microsoft Azure practice, and right now I can’t think of a better way of furthering Cloudreach’s business. Microsoft, with its renewed vigor and innovative drive combined with Cloudreach’s cloud-native and agility credentials, is definitely a recipe for success. Next stop – Microsoft Azure.

To learn more about Cloudreach’s Microsoft Azure practice, click here.

You can follow Andre on Twitter here.