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Microsoft Inks Two Partner Deals and an Acquisition

Monday marked a trio of corporate moves for Microsoft involving Accenture, TomTom and BrightBytes.

First, Microsoft announced a deal with longtime partner Accenture and its joint-venture company, Avanade, which is partly owned by Microsoft. The three companies are launching the new "Accenture Microsoft Business Group," which will offer the "combined service capabilities" of "more than 45,000 dedicated professionals."

According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the personnel will be derived from both Avanade and Accenture, a Dublin, Ireland-based technology consulting company:

The Accenture Microsoft Business Group is staffed by individuals across Avanade and Accenture. The group is a new organization inside Accenture, with 10K new dedicated Accenture professionals complementing the 35K Avanade professionals.

Avanade isn't going away, but will continue on as "the technology platform expert and leading digital innovator on the Microsoft platform," the spokesperson clarified.

The Accenture Microsoft Business Group will be an Accenture company focused on "large, strategic digital business initiatives for enterprise customers around the world." It'll be headed by Emma McGuigan, group technology officer at Accenture, and will deliver "joint products and services built on the Microsoft cloud" to its customers.

More specifically, the Accenture Microsoft Business Group will invest with Microsoft in certain Microsoft-based technologies. Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 technologies were mentioned in the announcement, along with suggestions that there'd be a focus on data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities.

The announcement generally described the Accenture Microsoft Business Group as being "the largest partner investment in harnessing the enterprise-wide potential of Microsoft technology to date."

No details to flesh out that description were included in the announcements. Microsoft and Accenture had announced a similar kind of arrangement about five years ago when the "Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution" for Microsoft Azure was unveiled. That deal also included the participation of Avanade, which both Accenture and Microsoft had originally invested in, although Avanade is now majority-owned by Accenture.

TomTom Azure Partnership
In more corporate news, Microsoft on Monday announced an Azure partner expansion deal with TomTom, an Amsterdam-based technology company that builds mapping and navigation software. Under the deal, TomTom is opting to use Azure as its "preferred cloud provider."

In addition, TomTom's map and traffic data will get used across Microsoft's services, such that "TomTom will be a leading location data provider for Microsoft Azure and Bing Maps."

"We're excited to be chosen as the location data provider to power mapping services across all of Microsoft, including Bing, Cortana, Windows and many other leading products and the innovations that will come forward in this continued relationship," said Anders Truelsen, managing director at TomTom Enterprise, in a prepared statement.

Microsoft will be using TomTom's "graph of map" data together with Azure Maps geospatial data, according to an explanation by Tara Prakriya, partner group program manager of Azure Maps and Connected Vehicles, in the announcement. It'll be used for things like "IoT spatial analytics," vehicle traffic movements, farm tracking and "smart city" scenarios, according to the announcement:

Azure Maps SDKs using TomTom services make it simple to render a multitude of data sets from a variety of sources -- such as real-time parking meter rates, street-specific traffic, addressing carbon footprint, reducing noise pollution and more in a consolidated, map-based application for visualization of pertinent city information crucial to its citizens.

The two companies had a bumpier relationship around 10 years ago. Back then, TomTom and Microsoft reached a legal settlement after Microsoft made patent infringement claims over TomTom's use of Microsoft's File Allocation Table technology.

DataSense Buy
Also on Monday, Microsoft announced the purchase of the DataSense data integration platform used by educational institutions from San Francisco-based BrightBytes. The deal also includes bringing over "the BrightBytes data management team to the global education team" at Microsoft. A technology integration combining the DataSense platform with Microsoft's data analytics solutions for schools is being planned for "the coming months."

The announcement promised that BrightBytes customers currently using the DataSense platform "will not experience any disruption" in service.

The DataSense integration-as-a-service platform is designed to connect data from different systems, including older systems that may have become "siloed." It cleans and centralizes the data for use in applications.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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