Cloud applications have come a long way since the turn of the decade thanks to the proliferation of broadband connections and data center infrastructure. However, a fair number of cloud-based solutions have been initially limited to running on the cloud service belonging to the software vendor before proliferating to competing services.
SAP has followed a similar strategy with a number of its applications. For example, SAP HANA gradually made its way to other cloud services including IBM Cloud and Amazon Web Services in 2012. Later, in 2014, SAP and VMWare announced SAP HANA ready for production use on vSphere 5.5.
Today, at SAP's Sapphire Now event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and SAP CEO Bill McDermott announced efforts to certify Microsoft's Azure cloud service for use with SAP HANA across development, test and production workloads and environments. Nadella talked up the future possibilities as a result of the partnership, saying:
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.
McDermott followed up by marking the importance of this collaborative strategy for big businesses, and remarked:
The certification of Microsoft Azure infrastructure services for SAP HANA along with the new integration between Microsoft Office 365 and cloud solutions from SAP are emblematic of this major paradigm shift for the enterprise.
However, the partnership between the two companies does not end there. Forthcoming integration between Office 365 and other cloud-based SAP solutions were announced covering SAP Concur, Fieldglass, SuccessFactors and Ariba. These new interfaces will allow employees to gain access to their SAP data while leveraging the document, communication and collaborative capabilities of Microsoft's productivity software.
While companies were eager to keep their cloud customers in their own walled gardens in the past, it seems that they are now realizing the potential for new growth in making their services available across other cloud services.