The Record - Issue 9: Summer 2018

130 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om M icrosoft is back. Although the technol- ogy giant didn’t really go anywhere from a business productivity perspective, the advantage Microsoft enjoyed in the e-commerce platform space in the early 2000s dissipated over the following decade. It was Microsoft’s vision of e-commerce, however, that got us to where we are today – with 79% percent of Americans now shopping online, according to Pew Research. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, compa- nies were either building their own custom e-commerce websites or selecting from a few enterprise vendors, but Microsoft was already on its third version of is Commerce Server solution by 1998. Hence, it’s no wonder that analyst firms like Forrester noted the company as a strong performer. By 2012, however, Forrester dropped Microsoft from its commerce evaluations because the company had divested the Commerce Server platform to Ascentium in 2011. Today, Microsoft is poised to once again become a dominant technology, services and software provider for the buoyant e-commerce industry because of three key factors. 1. The cloud Microsoft is a major force in the cloud industry between Google and Amazon because it’s invested heavily in enabling companies to power large- scale business systems on Microsoft Azure. The company is now a credible power player in the e-commerce platform space with clear competi- tive differentiators because it makes up for what both of its cloud competitors lack: solutions that meet the needs of real businesses. MicrosoftAzure can be integrated easily into retailers to scale their business systems and provide a foundation for them to compete by effectively selling online. The phrase “the enemy of my enemy ismy friend” is also playing out to the tune of millions of dol- lars for Microsoft Azure. Retailers like Target and Walmart standardise their operations onMicrosoft Azure to avoid using AmazonWeb Services (AWS) and filling the pockets of their biggest competitor: Amazon. Walmart has even forced its suppliers to move their IT systems off AWS too. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s independent software vendors (ISVs) like Episerver can use Microsoft Microsoft: leading the way in e-commerce Microsoft’s strong cloud platform, artificial intelligence tools and business applications will enable it to become the key e-commerce player by 2019 ED K ENNEDY : E P I S E R V E R V I EWPO I NT Hawes & Curtis has grown revenue by using Episerver Personalization to improve its website