June 19, 2017
Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Friday also took a major customer away from its closest rival in the cloud.
Whole Foods is a Microsoft Azure Active Directory and Office 365 customer.
Microsoft also has a case study about Whole Foods' use of Azure.
While Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a big lead in the cloud infrastructure market, Microsoft is investing heavily to catch up.
As reported by CNBC, Whole Foods deployed Microsoft's Azure Active Directory software to let its 91,000 employees easily sign into cloud-based applications, according to Microsoft's a case study on Whole Foods.
Whole Foods also pays for Office 365 subscriptions, which provide access to cloud services like OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business.
Will Lamb, the infrastructure coordinator in Whole Foods' IT department, said in the case study:
"We have a goal to reach 1,200 stores in the near future, and anything we can do from a strategic perspective to maximize efficiency is worth its weight in gold in retail."
It looks like Amazon is going to operate Whole Foods independently, like it has with other major acquisitions like Zappos and Twitch, but at some point it will be hard for the Whole Foods tech group to ignore the value of its parent company’s services.
Also, Amazon Web Services already hosts a lot of Whole Foods technology through the grocer’s partnership with Infor, a software-as-a-service company that is helping Whole Foods replace 12 separate and different legacy systems with one cloud-based system.
Infor runs that new system on AWS, the market leader for public cloud infrastructure computing, and given that Whole Foods is still in the process of making the multiyear transition to the Infor application it could be a while before it shifts gears.