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FedEx and Microsoft Hatch a Plan to Transform Commerce

FedEx Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have set a new multiyear collaboration to help transform commerce by combining the global digital and logistics network of FedEx with the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud.

The two companies aim to work together to create opportunities for their customers through multiple joint offerings powered by Azure and Dynamics 365 that will use data and analytics solutions to reformulate critical aspects of the commerce experience and enable businesses to better compete in today’s increasingly digital landscape.

“FedEx has been reimagining the supply chain since our first day of operation and we are [now] taking it to a new level,” Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx, said. “Together with Microsoft, we will combine the immense power of technology with the vast scale of our infrastructure to help revolutionize commerce and create a network for what’s next for our customers.”

The new strategic alliance represents a long-term commitment between the companies to fuel innovation, collaborate on product development and share subject-matter expertise. FedEx networks link more than 99 percent of the world’s gross domestic product across 220 countries and territories, while Microsoft Azure is trusted by more than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies.

The companies said that by combining the breadth and scale of the FedEx network and the Microsoft cloud, businesses will have a new level of control and insight into the global movement of goods.

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“Now more than ever, organizations are counting on an efficient and capable supply chain to remain competitive and open for business,” Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said. “Together with FedEx, we will apply the power of Azure, Dynamics 365 and their AI capabilities to this urgent need, building new commerce experiences that transform logistics for our mutual customers around the world.”

FedEx Surround, the first solution resulting from the FedEx and Microsoft collaboration, allows any business to enhance visibility into its supply chain by leveraging data to provide near-real-time analytics into shipment tracking that will drive more precise logistics and inventory management. FedEx Surround will provide insights down to the granular level of zip code, for example, to shine a digital light on the progress and movement of physical inventory.

The benefits offered by FedEx Surround will extend to any business with a supply chain, particularly those that depend on highly time-sensitive deliveries. FedEx Surround can also collect multiple data points gathered through the enhanced scanning and proprietary IoT technology of FedEx and analyze them using Microsoft’s broad suite of AI, machine learning and analytics solutions. This will provide participating businesses with enhanced visibility of a package’s location during its journey and knowledge of global commerce conditions and external challenges, such as severe weather or natural disasters, mechanical delays, clearance issues and incorrect addresses.

This level of data-driven insight will give FedEx Surround customers the opportunity to intervene early and act to avoid logistical slowdowns before they occur to reduce friction and costs.

Information regarding FedEx Surround availability will be shared beginning this Summer followed by customer access in the months ahead.

FedEx and Microsoft expect to soon announce additional solutions as part of their collaboration that will leverage more Microsoft technologies, including Dynamics 365. This includes reimagining commerce experiences for businesses to offer consumers more integrated ways to shop, and faster and more efficient deliveries.