SAP, Microsoft Partner on Cloud, Mobile

As part of the alliance, SAP will bring many of its enterprise business software applications to Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing platform.

SAP and Microsoft are expanding their partnership in the areas of cloud computing, mobile and data interoperability.

The moves, announced May 19, are an extension of a partnership that is going on two decades, and touch upon the some of the key drivers in the evolving technology landscape.

"For our customers, SAP and Microsoft are among the top strategic vendors relied upon to drive their business' success," Steve Lucas, president of platform solutions at SAP, said in a statement. "We are proud of how we listened to our customers and together developed—and will continue to develop—innovative new programs focused on the cloud, mobility, analytics and interoperability that we expect will provide unparalleled value for our customers."

With the expanded partnership, SAP will bring a range of enterprise software—including SAP Business Suite, Business All-In-One solutions, Mobile Platform, Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE), and the developer edition of the SAP HANA platform—onto Microsoft's Azure cloud environment. In addition, SAP developers and customers will be able to quickly deploy preconfigured SAP solutions directly into Azure via SAP's Cloud Appliance Library technology.

"Our expanded partnership with SAP demonstrates our continued commitment to deliver the applications and services our customers need—in their private clouds, service provider clouds, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office," Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise business, said in a statement.

In addition, the two vendors also will jointly develop and market SAP mobile apps for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. Customers will be able to manage and secure the apps via SAP's Mobile Secure offerings or Window's Intune solution. SAP and Microsoft will show off examples of such apps at SAP's Sapphire Now 2014 event, which will kick off June 3 in Orlando, Fla.

Finally, Microsoft and SAP will create a new version of the SAP Gateway for Microsoft, which will enable organizations to automate business processes and access SAP applications and data through Microsoft's Office 365 and Azure cloud environments. The new version will be available in the second half of 2014, according to the companies.

For SAP, the moves come at a time of transition for the company's cloud strategy, which was set in motion more than a year ago. SAP is using HANA—which initially launched in 2011 as an in-memory database—as the platform for the clouds efforts, and it's beginning to pay off. In the first quarter, SAP reported that a 60 percent increase in cloud subscriptions helped drive a 3 percent increase in revenue, to $5.11 billion, over the same period in 2013.

At the same time, SAP's cloud business this month has seen significant executive turnover, including the resignations of Vishal Sikka, CTO in charge of products and innovation and a key developer of HANA, and days later Shawn Price, who in January took over as head of SAP's cloud unit.

Nicholas Brown, SAP's senior vice president of cloud strategy and evangelism, told eWEEK that Sikka's resignation was a loss to the company, but that he had established a solid plan for the cloud that others will continue to implement. His comments came before Price's resignation was announced.

"Vishal … was a great leader," Brown said. "I'll miss him. … A lot of work still needs to be done, but it's really just the work. A lot of the vision and strategy is already in place, and a lot of that is because of Vishal."

Watch the interview with SAP's Brown below: