Microsoft, SAP Expand Partnership for New Cloud, Data, Mobile Solutions

Microsoft and SAP announced an expanded partnership to bring new cloud, data and mobile solutions, including business intelligence, to the masses.

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Microsoft and SAP AG have expanded their global partnership to deliver new cloud, data and mobile solutions to help improve employee productivity, enhance workforce mobility and drive increased business value for customers and partners.

This announcement extends the companies’ long-term partnership in three critical areas: enterprise cloud computing with SAP applications certification for Microsoft Azure; improved interoperability between data from SAP applications and Microsoft Office, including general availability of connectivity between SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence (BI) solutions and Microsoft’s Power BI offering; and mobile productivity with expanded development and support for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1.

“This is an expansion of a partnership we’ve had for over 20 years," said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of cloud and enterprise marketing at Microsoft, in an interview with eWEEK. “Together, between our two companies, we serve about 75 percent of the enterprise customers out there. By the end of June, multiple SAP assets will be certified to run on the Azure cloud.”

“Microsoft and SAP have a great history together, and we are committed to meeting the diverse needs of our enterprise customers,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud & Enterprise at Microsoft, in a statement. “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.”

It is anticipated that by the end of the second quarter of 2014, Microsoft and SAP will support SAP Business Suite software, SAP Business All-In-One solutions, SAP Mobile Platform, SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE) and the developer edition of the SAP HANA platform on Azure. In addition, Microsoft and SAP expect that customers and developers will be able to deploy and provision a number of preconfigured SAP solutions, within minutes, directly to Azure using the SAP Cloud Appliance Library tool.

“This has been an exciting year for one of the leading strategic partnerships in our industry,” said Steve Lucas, president of Platform Solutions at SAP, in a statement. “For our customers, SAP and Microsoft are among the top strategic vendors relied upon to drive their business’ success. 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.”

New and existing SAP customers will be able to take advantage of the “pay per use” model in Azure to reduce infrastructure costs and total cost of ownership. Customers will be able to take advantage of the compute resources in Azure to support SAP solutions and quickly scale capacity as computing requirements change, paying only for the resources used, Kevin Ichhpurani, senior vice president and head of business development and strategic ecosystem at SAP, told eWEEK.

Moreover, Microsoft and SAP also made Excel connectivity to SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions through Microsoft’s Power BI offering generally available. Microsoft and SAP also announced plans to deepen interoperability between applications and platforms with a new version of the SAP Gateway for Microsoft, which is expected to help customers automate business processes and access SAP applications and data through Microsoft’s Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. Customers can get started today with the current SAP Gateway for Microsoft and upgrade to the new version when it becomes available in the second half of 2014.

“This is a great opportunity to let our customers run SAP apps on the Azure cloud,” Ichhpurani said. “They can have SAP information on mobile devices anywhere, anytime, with connectivity between SAP Business Objects and Power BI. This is a very big opportunity to deliver BI to the masses.”

Indeed, Microsoft and SAP said they plan to help customers conduct business anywhere and anytime by developing and co-marketing SAP mobile apps for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. These new applications will be managed and secured by the SAP Mobile Secure portfolio or Windows Intune. Examples of prospective offerings resulting from this increased collaboration will be showcased at SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW, being held June 3–5, 2014, in Orlando, Fla.

Today’s announcements bring new capabilities to customers and opportunities for partners and developers through the combined strengths of Microsoft and SAP applications and platforms.