An expanded partnership between Microsoft and enterprise software giant SAP, announced this morning, has the potential to boost Windows Phone and help the Redmond company compete more effectively against its two of its biggest rivals in the cloud, Amazon and Google.
Under the deal, SAP plans to certify Microsoft Azure for a number of the company’s cloud solutions by the end of June, including SAP Business Suite software, SAP Mobile Platform, and the developer edition of SAP’s HANA platform. The move will help Azure compete with Amazon Web Services, which is also certified for many of the same products.
Companies that rely on SAP’s mobile apps may soon have a reason to start using Windows Phones, as well. Microsoft will be working with SAP to develop versions of its mobile apps for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 that can be managed through Windows Intune or SAP’s Mobile Secure product.
In addition, Microsoft announced the general availability of a feature that allows users to seamlessly connect the company’s Power BI for Office 365 product to SAP’s BusinessObjects BI platform. The new feature will allow people to use the Power Query feature in Excel to access data stored in a BusinessObjects universe, rather than having to jump through hoops in order to connect the two products.
The move gives Microsoft a couple of key competitive advantages. First, the SAP certifications for Azure will set the service apart from Google’s Cloud Platform, which doesn’t offer those products. In addition, the Power BI improvements and Windows Phone apps could drive more SAP-powered businesses towards Microsoft’s platform.