IBM, SAP Expand Partnership to Drive Digital Transformation

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-04-07 Print this article Print
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"This is the kind of move we expected when IBM bought SoftLayer," longtime IBM watcher and industry analyst Rob Enderle told eWEEK at the time of the deal. "IBM can provide an enterprise-class cloud service now that is fully compliant with IT policy, and this is generally also a requirement when deploying products from enterprise companies like SAP.

"You should anticipate other deals like this for similar reasons with other vendors of all sizes that want access to enterprise buyers and need to supply cloud services while remaining compliant with corporate policies on security and access. IBM's brand is tightly connected to the enterprise and it is well-regarded when it comes to compliance so IT shops know their decisions to use cloud products on IBM's services generally won't be challenged by audit as aggressively as they might be had they used a service like Amazon's instead," continued Enderle, now president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group.

Under the expanded partnership, the companies will develop collaborative consulting models. And IBM Interactive Experience (iX), the digital agency that falls under the aegis of IBM Global Business Services, will work together with SAP Global Design and the SAP Customer Engagement and Commerce team on projects. The collaboration will also apply IBM's iOS design skills for mobile user experiences, IBM said.

"I think that the partnership is good for both companies," said Judith Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates. "These companies have had a collaborative relationship for years. I think that it has deepened because of two issues. One is the competition in the applications market with Oracle. Second, IBM provides a lot of consulting services for customers implementing SAP's offerings.

"IBM has had a lot of success with HANA services—especially on the Power platform," she continued. "Power turns out to be an optimized platform that is perfect for HANA workloads. This also gives SAP a deep services bench for its offerings. On the IBM side, it enables the company to have a channel for cloud, mobile and cognitive. It is a pragmatic and advantageous deepening relationship for both companies."

Last year, IBM and SAP tightened their existing technology partnership with a new set of integrated Power Systems solutions designed to help clients process volumes of data at high speed for both transactional and analytics workloads.

Under the expanded partnership, IBM and SAP will enable client engagements for hybrid and on-premise offerings with SAP HANA on IBM Power systems, supported through the new IBM Power Systems Center of Excellence for SAP HANA in Austin, Texas. And IBM will develop cognitive solutions for SAP S/4HANA and line-of-business solutions that tap into the power of IBM's cognitive APIs.

"This new announcement signals a significant deepening of the strategic collaboration IBM and SAP launched last October," said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT. "That original effort resulted in SAP gaining considerable advantages by leveraging IBM resources, including its global network of cloud data centers. This new announcement expands that effort to include IBM's cognitive technologies and product/service design skills, including its efforts around Apple's iOS and mobile devices. IBM is also a beneficiary of the relationship by being closely aligned with SAP's widely deployed enterprise applications and its HANA in-memory platform. This expanded collaboration and related investments should deliver considerable benefits to both companies, along with their shared and prospective customers."



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