Microsoft and SAS, the privately-held data management and analytics company (and not the airline), today announced a far-reaching partnership that will see Microsoft’s Azure become the preferred cloud for SAS, and deep integration of the various SAS products into Microsoft’s cloud portfolio, from Azure to Dynamics 365 and PowerBI. The two firms are both considering developing new cooperative products for their clients.
Although you may not be familiar with 44-year-old SAS, the business headquartered in North Carolina ranks more than 90 of its customers among the top 100 Fortune 1000 firms. Customers in the spotlight include Allianz, Explore, Honda, HSBC, Lockheed Martin, Lufthansa, and Nestlé. Although it offers businesses with products and resources across a wide variety of vertical lines, all of them focus on helping other organizations handle their data efficiently and transform it into actionable insights. Like most data-centered companies, this requires a lot of focus on machine learning these days too.
SAS ‘answer to that has been in collaboration with Microsoft. What Microsoft does with Dynamics, with Power Platform, I can imagine a new class of business applications — all low-code, no-code — in which data and analytics drive logic and drive decision making. And so for us, what’s interesting, fascinating, and innovative about this relationship is that it’s not about bringing Azure service, or integration into Synapse. If you want to, from Azure to integration with AD, with AKS, with [Azure] PostgreSQL database, it is looking at the entire Microsoft Cloud estate.
And the thing Oliver called out, and what we’re looking for in strategic partnerships like this, where can we help our mutual customers do more and do more? And I believe this is because we are so matched from both a technological convergence viewpoint and also from a mission statement and community perspective.
Guthrie and Schabenberger also emphasized the deepness of the integrations here. Guthrie noted, for example, that users will be able to take SAS templates and integrate them into SQL Server statements — and specific integrations for Microsoft products into SAS software will also be available.
Guthrie also noted that the two companies will also go deeply into marketing together, leveraging both companies’ existing sales forces. “But as part of this partnership, you will definitely see our go-to-market deep alignment, and Microsoft sellers will be strongly encouraged to promote and push the integration of SAS, and likewise, SAS will be highly encouraged to push this integration from their perspective.
An interesting aspect here is that both companies offer competing products, ranging from data management and analytics to data visualization. However, Guthrie and Schabenberger had been quite open about this. And if we put and deliver the best technologies to bear, then I’m proud of the technologies we’ve created.