Google and SAP — A Marriage in the Clouds
On Mach 8, 2017, SAP and Google announced another marriage in the cloud during Google’s Cloud Next event: SAP HANA is certified on Google’s Cloud Platform GCP, and is generally available now. SAP Cloud Platform and more products and solutions are to follow.
The Google Cloud Launcher marketplace will be utilized to offer and deploy to and for customers and partners, starting with SAP HANA, express edition, which is already available, too.
Further topics that are covered by this partnership are
- Improving Google’s containerization technologies for enterprise workloads
- Security, privacy, and integrity of customer data in the cloud. As part of this SAP software shall act as a data custodian (NB: How that works in legal and political environments remains to be seen) and joint solutions for access control, governance, risk and compliance shall get developed
- Integrate Google’s G Suite into SAP applications. This has already been implemented for Identity and Access Management.
More on the still fuzzy side are end-to-end integrations and collaborations in the areas of AI and machine learning.
True to the SAP mantra of being an ecosystem player this is all about choice — choice for the customer to implement what is best for them.
Another interesting one!
Good Win for SAP
SAP now covers all major cloud platforms. HANA is now certified on AWS, Azure, and GCS, apart from running in the SAP cloud. With this SAP now has the broadest footprint when it comes to running on an IaaS platform.
With the SAP Cloud Platform being available soon there also will be a very powerful PaaS solution on one of the strongest IaaS.
It is interesting that there is no mention of the legacy software (SAP Business Suite) at the moment, although with HANA running on GCS it should be possible to migrate a Business Suite installation to GCS — as long as it runs on HANA — in near future.
Another interesting aspect is that in the productivity arena there are a few overlaps between the G Suite and SAP solutions — think SAP Jam vs. Google Hangout. How easy will it be to use Hangout instead of (built in) Jam in future? Is that interesting for Google at all?
However, far more interesting are the allegations of future potential: Bernd Leukert explicitly mentions end-to-end business processes and machine learning with some next announcements to be expected at the next SAPPHIRE NOW. For SAP this is where the real juice is: Like Salesforce and Oracle their CLEA solutions predominantly rely on company internal data and lack the far reach of external data. This is where Google (and IBM Watson) step in by their ability to contribute relevant insight from the outside. So, this partnership essentially closes a gap between SAP and Microsoft — while giving an edge above Salesforce, who just announced an AI partnership with IBM Watson, which on top cannot be expected to be targeted towards CRM types of applications as well.
Lastly, GCP provides an ideal bed to run and scale IoT applications with their expected throughput- and scalability requirements.
What about Google?
Google gets an industry heavyweight to provide load on their infrastructure. Especially, if existing on-premise customers can get incentivized to migrate from their still predominantly Oracle-based instances to HANA based GCP instances; this can become a big one, as there are still tens of thousands of these instances available. Think the joint effort into containerization here …
And the availability of SAP HANA Express Edition and soon the SAP Cloud Platform should drive a good number of developers onto the Google cloud.
Additionally, it gives Google the opportunity to penetrate a Microsoft fortress: Microsoft Office is still very much a synonym for productivity apps in Enterprises.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, the AI angle. Business AI needs both: Insight from inside the company and from outside the company. Vendor owned and driven AIs have a hard time delivering this. With the notable exception of Microsoft. Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Baidu, Twitter,… and some specialized on business intelligence sit on an asset that enterprise software vendors desperately need. So, these might be the secret winners of the enterprise software clash of the titans.
So, overall there is a big gain for Google in Enterprises looming.
And the competition?
There is a fight for dominance going on in Enterprise software. With Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP here are four main tribes. In general terms of enterprise software this partnership gives SAP some more headway against the strong competition, especially if SAP also gets their ecosystem strategy implemented somewhat better — they still are fairly hard to play with.
On the CRM side this tack brings them closer to Microsoft and Salesforce.
The race goes on.
Last but not Least: The Customers
All around good. Especially as it seems that this was a customer driven (Colgate Palmolive) innovation. SAP offers most choice but also needs to offer some guidance when it comes to choosing. Given that SAP or their implementation partners deliver this guidance, there is considerable gain in this partnership: Additional competition in infrastructure, more possibilities in productivity, and so on.
For customers it all boils down to being enabled making the right choice.