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Microsoft and SAP, Longtime Azure Partners, Turn Focus to Teams

Microsoft and SAP this week announced plans to integrate Microsoft Teams with SAP solutions, a notable expansion of their existing collaboration around the Microsoft Azure cloud.

SAP's C/4HANA customer relationship management (CRM) solution and its S/4HANA enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution are already available from Microsoft's Azure datacenters. As part of their continued partnership, the two companies are working to simplify migrations from the on-premises SAP ERP product to SAP S/4HANA run from the Azure cloud. Efforts in this regard include continued technical collaboration between the two companies, plus the building of "industry-specific" maps and "reference architectures." The two companies also are continuing to put efforts into things like "automated migrations, improved operations, monitoring and security."

Those cloud-migration efforts were generally described. No rollout timeline was described.

Microsoft Teams Integration
A new effort, announced this week, is the integration of the Microsoft Teams collaboration service with SAP products, namely with "SAP S/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Customer Experience." Details on this effort weren't described but "these integrations are planned for delivery in mid-2021," the announcement indicated.

The announcement included testimonials on Teams use from Carhartt, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Coats, which used Teams with SAP S/4HANA on Azure or with other SAP solutions.

The Teams plus SAP S/4HANA combination apparently really is an integration of some sort that will avoid application switching. For instance, the Teams integration will allow organizations to "seamlessly share critical line of business information, like supplier details from SAP S/4HANA with your colleagues and customers as you chat, meet, and manage within Teams," according to another Microsoft announcement this week,

Additionally, it'll be possible to use the SAP Sales Cloud service with Teams without application switching as "customer calls can be initiated directly from the customer relationship management (CRM) application." Teams integration is also planned for use with SAP's SuccessFactors human resources solution.

Greater security was promised, as well, "by combining SAP and Azure signals and integrating technologies such as enhanced network security, end-to-end authentication, and threat protection," the announcement added.

Supply-Chain Integrations
Last month, the two companies announced an expanded partnership on SAP Digital Supply Chain solutions running on Azure infrastructure. The partnership encompasses SAP's digital manufacturing, Intelligent Asset Management, Integrated Business Planning and Logistic Business Network solutions.

Many of these supply-chain services are already available as Azure services.

"SAP Manufacturing Suite, SAP Intelligent Asset Management, supply chain networks solutions from SAP, and the SAP Internet of Things (SAP IoT) solution are already available on Microsoft Azure in Europe and the United States today," the announcement indicated.

Other efforts include bringing SAP solutions to the Microsoft Azure Stack Edge product, which is Microsoft's Azure-in-a-box product for edge-computing uses. The first SAP product that will be coming to Azure Stack Edge will be SAP's Digital Manufacturing Cloud service. Manufacturers can use this combined product to reduce latency issues with their locally processed data.

There's some product overlap. Microsoft and SAP both offer services to support and manage Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as the collection of time-series data. Customers have the choice of using either Microsoft Azure IoT or SAP IoT for the purpose, the announcement suggested.  

Both companies additionally are members of the Open Manufacturing Platform and the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance with the aim of supporting open standards for supply-chain solutions.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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