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Gap migrating hundreds of applications to Microsoft cloud

Fashion retail group Gap Inc has chosen Microsoft as its primary cloud provider, it was announced on Friday.

The business will implement Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 to help run its house of brands, including Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Hill City and Intermix.

Gap is working with Microsoft to migrate hundreds of applications to Azure, initially moving key inventory, stores and site capabilities across its 3,100+ owned stores and in the 90+ countries in which it operates.

Microsoft claimed that its software-as-a-service model will speed up Gap’s time to market for new customer services, as well as supporting Gap’s DevOps model, through which Gap's engineers and product management teams rapidly develop, deploy and test new capabilities.

“As we grow our value and active business and accelerate online and mobile, the ability to scale our technology in a secure environment to accommodate this growth is critical,” explained Sally Gilligan, chief information officer at Gap Inc.

By building and centralising its data platform on Azure, Gap Inc hopes to tap into Microsoft’s advanced analytics and machine learning capability to help it gain a better understanding of how its customers behave across sales channels. There will also be efforts made to personalise merchandising, marketing and other service across all of Gap's brands.

Part of the deal involves Gap using Microsoft Power BI to help its analytics teams monitor business performance, while the 365 element of the partnership is expected to give staff multiple ways to communicate, collaborate and share insights. Several big-name retailers, including Morrisons, AllSaints and John Lewis Partnership, have migrated from Microsoft Office to Google’s G Suite for internal comms in recent years, raising competition in this office software space.

Shelley Bransten, corporate vice president for global retail and consumer goods at Microsoft, commented: “We are thrilled to partner with [Gap] to further modernise their customer and employee applications, turn data into dollars, and build powerful new applications and services that drive digital transformation and put customers at the heart of their business."