Rockwell and Microsoft Add 5-Year Extension to Partnership for Industrial Transformation

October 19, 2020 by Alessandro Mascellino

Rockwell Automation and Microsoft jointly announced a five-year extension to their partnership to develop cloud-based solutions.

By combining the companies’ expertise in the industrial and IT markets, Rockwell and Microsoft can provide industrial companies with the opportunity to save on infrastructure costs, speed time-to-value, and increase productivity. The companies have so far co-developed over 20 use cases.


A graphic of Microsoft and Rockwell’s logos. Image courtesy of Rockwell Automation


Enhancing Industrial Cloud Capabilities

The collaboration between Rockwell Automation and Microsoft is a decade-long one, but it was only in 2019 that Rockwell started using an agile environment based on Microsoft Azure. Rockwell set up a business intelligence center of excellence (BI CoE) in 2014 to provide the enterprise with meaningful business insights through high-quality data and information.

The company started utilizing new technologies such as advanced analytics, AI/machine learning, and enterprise integration strategies in the same year. Rockwell started using Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Cloudera, SQL, SAP HANA, and Microsoft Power BI technologies to leverage the full potential of these new technologies.

The environment was based on the Azure cloud platform, but the technology was self-managed and lacked the DevOps and CI/CD processes to enable an agile approach. In 2019, Rockwell fully transitioned from Azure IaaS to Platform as a service (PaaS) version.

Now, Azure Data Factory manages all ingested data throughout the entire pipeline, while Azure Databricks is used for computation and transformation.  Rockwell has built several solutions on this technology over the last several years.


The Long-Standing Partnership

Following the extension of their partnership, Rockwell Automation and Microsoft will now work on developing Azure-based edge-to-cloud solutions. The projects developed under this collaboration will share information between development, operations, and maintenance teams through a singular trusted data environment.

This environment will enable IT and OT teams to securely access and share data models across the organization and with their partners.

A graphic of Microsoft’s Azure platform. Image courtesy of Microsoft. 


Simultaneously, the development teams will work using digital prototypes, configuring, and collaborating without investing in expensive physical equipment. The companies have been collaborating for over ten years, with co-developed projects ranging from the food & beverage industry, household and personal care, and life sciences industries.

“We are pleased to deepen our already strong, decade-long relationship with Rockwell Automation to help businesses simplify industrial transformation, accelerate business outcomes and innovate with agility,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of worldwide commercial business at Microsoft.


The Automation Fair At Home Experience 

Rockwell Automation’s IIoT solutions are available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, while the new ones will be available in the first quarter of 2021. More information about the partnership will be available at the Automation Fair At Home event, which will occur online between November 16 and 20.

The Fair is an annual experience organized by Rockwell to showcase the company’s IT/OT expertise.



The event will feature a series of panels moderated by experts from Rockwell Automation, their PartnerNetwork members, and other industry professionals.