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Love is in the Air? SAP and MS deepen their Partnership.

Today SAP and Microsoft announced a new partnership centred around HANA, Azure, Office365, and Fiori. This marks another step in a 20 year cooperation (and nowadays coopetition) between these two software giants.
The stated goals are "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” as Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft puts it. In McDermotts words the two companies will "unlock new productivity for customers beyond the boundaries of traditional platforms and applications”.
As a part of this SAP HANA - and hence SAP applications running on HANA, will now be run on Microsofts Azure infrastructure. Further, the companies will develop integrations between SAPs cloud solutions and Microsoft's productivity solutions that are part of Office365 to improve employee productivity. Lastly, SAP will enable Fiori apps being built in a way that they can be managed via Microsoft Intune.

My Take

From a customer point of view this certainly has a lot of potential, starting with having additional choice of infrastructure. In the business world Azure will gain more traction and there are already opinions saying that Azure will surpass AWS in not so distant future. Then there also is SAPs very own infrastructure.
Even better for customers is the promise of deep integration of SAPs business applications and Microsofts productivity applications - if it gets realised.
I will not delve deeply into Fiori as I have seen too many organisations going HTML5 instead due to limitations in Fiori.
Friend Holger Mueller uses the analogy of a cruise ship for this partnership, with SAP being the sun deck and Microsoft being the engine room. I think he is right here and it will be interesting to see how things evolve for SAP. The engine room is far more important to the ship than the sundeck ever can be. I think that there are more upsides to Microsoft than for SAP in this deal.
  • more (enterprise) load on Azure
  • less likelihood for getting sued due to integration advantages between Office365 and MS Dynamics that they may have 
  • more traction in the business applications market
SAP merely gets new options and perhaps an edge against other business vendors with less integration to Microsoft - which in the worst case is only a temporary advantage.

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