Last year, I had the opportunity to speak with customers across a wide range of sectors about how they are approaching the current economic climate. Whether they are focusing on increasing efficiency or driving cost savings, we are all essentially trying to do more with less and prioritize investments that will drive the most important and meaningful outcomes. Unfortunately, these resource constraints are coming at a time when data sources and data volumes continue to rise at staggering rates. According to a study published by the IDC, the amount of new data created, captured, replicated and consumed is expected to double in size by 2026.  This surge in data means IT departments are trying to adapt from terabyte-scale data management to now petabyte-scale — and doing so with even fewer resources.
Beyond this immense growth in data, organizations are also constantly adding new cloud solutions, applications and experiences to support their hybrid workforce and changing business needs. As the number of solutions grows, employees need connected experiences that enable them to bring their work from one tool to the next seamlessly. Unfortunately, the outcome is often the opposite as new solutions fail to integrate with the existing technology ecosystem, leading to siloed experiences and greater inefficiency.
Without security and governance solutions built to work across multi-cloud and app environments, this rise in apps and data also expands attack surfaces and opens gaps for adversaries to exploit and infiltrate. These attacks result in devastating business disruptions and financial damages with the average breach costing $4.35 million. Developing a cybersecurity strategy that can account for all potential attack surfaces is more complex than ever with 86% of surveyed decision-makers believing their current cybersecurity strategy does not keep up with their multi-cloud environments. 
All of these potential issues, from data replication to siloed experiences to growing attack surfaces, stem from disconnected data and applications across multi-cloud and multi-system environments. That’s why, across our Microsoft Cloud offerings, we’ve worked with our thriving Independent Software Vendor (ISV) ecosystem to create a library of over 1,400 connectors that allow you to seamlessly connect your third-party services to Microsoft Cloud solutions like Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Power Query, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Graph and Microsoft Sentinel. The Microsoft Cloud is now not only the most trusted and comprehensive cloud, but it’s also one of the most connected and open clouds on the market with a connector library that continues to grow every day. These pre-existing integrations can help you:
- Connect to and unlock value from all your data across your on-premises, multi-cloud, and third-party sources.
- Combine Microsoft and third-party apps to create deeply integrated app experiences that support your unique business scenarios.
- Safeguard your entire organization and eliminate gaps by ensuring your security, governance, and compliance solutions work across platforms and cloud environments.
No matter where your data currently resides or how you choose to manage it going forward, you can gain peace of mind knowing your Microsoft Cloud investments can connect to all your data and turn it into impact. That was one of the reasons Walmart chose to standardize on Microsoft Power BI for their reporting and analytics needs. “One of the key criteria in selecting our solution was knowing that Power BI works so well with a vast number of partners — not necessarily just Microsoft products,” says Micah Dail, Director, Finance Data & Analytics at Walmart. “At Walmart, we use a myriad of different vendors in our technology stack, so having a tool like Power BI that can bring everything together was critical.”
Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital (ETZ), a leading clinical and education hospital and trauma center in the Netherlands, used pre-built Teams connectors to create powerful, integrated app experiences that help their clinicians get more done. With the Microsoft Teams Electronic Health Records (EHR) connector for Epic, ETZ clinicians can create and even join Microsoft Teams-supported appointments directly from the Epic EHR system, use interpreter services and other accessibility features, gather metadata about the appointment, view consumption reports, and much more. “We used Teams to help build a fully integrated solution so that clinicians can document virtual patient consultations without having to start up other systems,” says Ceasar van Eeden, Application Analyst at Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital. By using connectors to combine Microsoft and third-party tools, ETZ created an intelligent solution that best suited their unique business needs.
Coca-Cola UNITED, one of the largest and fastest growing bottlers and distributors of Coca-Cola products, saw multiple opportunities to automate and streamline processes using a low-code platform. To get the most out of this investment, they required a solution that could connect to and integrate with their existing SAP system which is hosted on Microsoft Azure. Beyond the simplicity of the platform, the extensive library of pre-built integrations with SAP and Azure services made the Microsoft Power Platform the ideal choice. “Once I learned about the data connectors and how they would work with our SQL database and our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, everything else just fell into place,” says Jared Simmons, Systems Analyst at Coca-Cola UNITED, “We also value the extensibility of the platform, enabling us to build and integrate custom connectors using Azure Logic Apps.” These custom connectors allowed Coca-Cola UNITED to create unique solutions integrated directly in their SAP system.
This huge library of connectors also helps ensure Microsoft’s industry-leading security, governance, and compliance solutions can easily work across platforms and cloud environments, leaving no gaps in protection. Take the global exam provider, Pearson VUE, for example. Pearson VUE needs to keep exam content completely confidential to maintain trust with its customers and protect test-takers. As the cybersecurity landscape gets increasingly challenging, they have adopted a host of Microsoft security solutions to help them stay protected. “We use Microsoft Sentinel to see everything that’s going on in our estate — whether from Microsoft or non-Microsoft security solutions — and be as proactive as possible,” says Vladan Pulec, Enterprise Architect at Pearson VUE. “The easy interoperability among Microsoft Sentinel and so many other solutions make it easier for us to standardize procedures and achieve greater cybersecurity.”
If you are a Microsoft Cloud customer and want to learn more about the connectors currently available to you, check out the following documentation:
 IDC, Worldwide IDC Global DataSphere Forecast, 2022–2026: Enterprise Organizations Driving Most of the Data Growth (Doc #US49018922), May 2022.
 Ponemon Institute, Cost of a Breach Report, July 2022, sponsored by IBM Security.
 Microsoft Cloud Security Priorities and Practices Research, March 2022, prepared by Emerald Research Group which surveyed 250 senior security decision-makers.
Tags: Apps, connectors, Microsoft Power Platform