Analysis: A deeper relationship between Microsoft and SAP is announced but AWS claims increased growth on its cloud.
SAP and Microsoft have revealed plans to deepen their partnership, but Amazon Web Services is where the traction is.
New integrations between Microsoft Office 365 and cloud solutions from SAP were revealed at the Sapphire Now conference being held in Orlando. Focus will be on better integrating the two companies’ offerings so that Azure customers will be able to use SAP HANA in Microsoft’s cloud.
Additionally, SAP is also integrating its services such as Fieldglass, Concur, and SuccessFactors with Microsoft Office 365.
These moves could significantly increase the reach of the relational database service that SAP is offering, in addition to giving its customers the benefit of having access to Microsoft’s various tools.
This fits nicely with Microsoft’s strategy of partnering with companies, even if it competes in some areas with them.
The benefit is clear for both companies as greater customer access through increased simplicity of use could make users more willing to use the technologies.
Curiously though, AWS released information showing that a growing number of its customers, "across virtually every industry and geography," are running SAP applications on the AWS Cloud.
For the conspiracy theorists among us, AWS releasing this information before the SAP and Microsoft partnership was revealed is perhaps showing how a little one-upmanship is going on between the cloud vendors.
It could be interpreted as a message that says, ‘it doesn’t matter about that partnership, SAP customers are using AWS.’ This is, of course, reading between the lines and it could be complete coincidence, but whatever it is, it makes for decent reading for SAP but perhaps diminishes the significance of a deeper partnership for Microsoft Azure.
The AWS release shows that SAP has verified and certified various solutions for production deployment on AWS, including S/4 HANA, SAP Business Suite on HANA and so on.
Terry Wise, VP, Worldwide Partner Ecosystem, AWS said: "Since becoming the first public cloud platform to be certified to run SAP production workloads in 2011, AWS has continued to innovate to deliver the capabilities and operational performance enterprise customers need to run their most critical business applications with confidence on the AWS Cloud."
Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft on the other hand, said: "At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering organizations to advance their digital transformations.
"Together with SAP, we are bringing new levels of integrations between our products that provide businesses with enhanced collaboration tools, new insights from data and a hyper-scale cloud to grow and seize new opportunities ahead."
Beyond the marketing from the statements there is significance – AWS wants to be the enterprise cloud that runs the mission critical apps and so does Microsoft. Microsoft has played somewhat more to the digital transformation aspect, but the essence of the message is the same.
This should of course come as no surprise as AWS and Microsoft Azure compete in the same market for pretty much the same customer.
The significance lies in the way the two cloud providers are scrapping over SAP.
I have previously written about how Salesforce has become an extremely attractive company to get closer to. Companies such as Accenture, Capgemini and IBM have all made significant acquisitions in order to align more closely with the CRM company.
Other companies such as Box and Microsoft have been busy collaborating with the company, all because the Salesforce CRM clouds have become an integral part of business transformation to a hybrid IT environment.
SAP, which itself is going through a transformation to a cloud software company, looks to have become as key a component as Salesforce is, judging by the level of interest it is receiving from Microsoft and AWS.
The business software company is moving to a position that it has been hoping it would be in, as a central platform that connects to everything.
Cormac Watter, MD, SAP, UK&I told CBR earlier in the year that: "The platform is probably the battleground for the future."
The strategy for SAP appears to be that it will become the central piece of the enterprise software stack, connecting all the disparate pieces of software from other vendors.
The benefit of this is that it could end siloed technology and end a mish-mash of technologies that increase costs and complexity.
To this end SAP has been busy in building partnerships with companies in a variety of different areas. Recently SAP partnered with IBM to combine IBM’s Cognitive, Cloud and Power Systems with S/4 HANA and HANA Cloud Platform.
SAP has also forged an alliance with Apple to help developers create apps for enterprise customers using iPhones and iPads.
On the whole it looks as though SAP’s strategy is working nicely for it and its increased significance as an integral part of a business’s technology is making it something worth fighting over.