Another epic win in the pocket! Microsoft and Walgreens have announced a new partnership recently that will see the retail pharmacy chain transition its IT infrastructure to the Microsoft cloud.
Azure and Office 365, both, come into focus in this new deal.
As announced, the partnership will have the cloud based productivity suite rolled out to more than 380,000 Walgreens employees. In fact, they will have access to the Microsoft 365 suite, while the company will also transition its IT infrastructure to the Microsoft Azure platform.
Microsoft says that it will collaborate on a research and development investment to fund new healthcare solutions, improve outcomes and lower the cost of care:
“This investment will include funding, subject-matter experts, technology and tools. The companies will also explore the potential to establish joint innovation centers in key markets. Additionally, in 2019 WBA will pilot up to 12 store-in-store “digital health corners” aimed at the merchandising and sale of select health care-related hardware and devices.”
The two companies are in it to make healthcare more convenient to people through data-driven insights that they will glean from Microsoft cloud technologies.
Interestingly, this partnership also has another angle.
That of Amazon.
This clearly seems to be part of an aggressive defensive strategy that Walgreens has employed against Amazon as the retail giant threatens to invade its turf. Amazon has made it no secret that it wants to advance into the massive and lucrative American pharmacy business.
To that end, the recent Walgreens link up with Verily, the life-sciences arm of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, last year starts making sense.
As does this choice of going all in with the Azure cloud.
Microsoft will take it, though.