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Leading with the Cloud in the Microsoft Environment:A Blog Series

As we look towards the New Year I thought it would be interesting to take a step back and learn from where we’ve come from. As you know, we have worked with a lot of organizations this past year on digitally transforming their business (see our recent guide: Reimagine Your Business in a Digital-First World with Microsoft) in terms of evolving with customer needs, staying ahead of the market place, and how to use Microsoft technologies to make those changes.
Moving forward we will continue to work with organizations on digital transformation but we are also seeing a natural connection to how that transformation is taking place in the cloud – be it a full move to the cloud or a hybrid environment. As we continue to explore this cloud perspective, and all that it has to offer to help companies compete even more aggressively in the market place, I thought it would be interesting to think about where the term came from and where it can take us.
It turns out, and many of you may already know this anecdote, but the concept of the cloud actually came about in the early 90’s. I know, hard to imagine as there was little to none day to day consumer consumption of the internet back then. I for one, did not have a cell phone and barely had email (I think I could only connect to other students on campus) back in the 90’s. However, 1995 did bring us the official launch of Windows 95, an online Amazon bookstore,, and eBay.  But, I digress.
Back in those early days it was difficult to explain, much less diagram, a bunch of servers and storage devices – out there somewhere. You can see from Figure 1 that was filed with the US Patent office in 1996 that the “bunch of servers and other devices that were being managed elsewhere” are starting to look a little more like a cloud.
Fig. 1 US Patent 5,790,548, “Universal access multimedia data network”
Microsoft Office 365 is the epitome of the cloud and gives users the option of a hybrid environment of storage and software that can be managed by someone else. This takes the costs, the concerns, and the every day issues of managing an on-premise communication platform away from the IT department and allows them to concentrate on more innovative business processes.
But, to quote Thomas Jefferson, “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past.”
Meaning, I think it’s important to understand where the concept of cloud came from but that the possibilities of what it presents are even more compelling as we look to 2016. I will be publishing a series of blogs in the new year regarding the cloud and what it means for our customers (as well as their customers), Microsoft, and how we embrace the power of the cloud using Microsoft technologies.
Stay tuned, and I appreciate any and all of your comments and feedback.

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