With the announcement of the exclusive Embrace initiative between SAP and Microsoft on October 21, 2019, a new chapter was opened in the collaboration between SAP and Microsoft, but also with SAP and Microsoft partners. Now is a good time to take a brief look back and share experiences.
What is so special about Embrace? Some people initially thought that it was a joint marketing program between SAP and Microsoft. But that is far from the case.
The mission for both companies was and is to enable and drive innovation and digital transformation together with the SAP and Microsoft partners of our customers, with the product and technology portfolios of SAP and Microsoft playing an important role and acting as a kind of innovation platform.
But what is special about this innovation platform is that the integration of the Intelligent Enterprise Suite and Microsoft Azure, including Modern Workplace solutions such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft products, is provided and simplified via the SAP Cloud Platform on Azure. This results in completely new and diverse innovative and integrated business scenarios for customers.
In discussions, we repeatedly find that customers express desired scenarios but cannot imagine how easily and quickly these can now be realized, for example the almost seamless bidirectional integration of processes via Microsoft Outlook in S/4 Hana. Or the integration of data from the Microsoft environment into the Fiori applications.
These are examples that are relevant for many companies in every industry. However, what makes the big difference and makes the motto "Driving Innovation together" tangible for every customer are customer- and industry-specific integrated processes that incorporate solutions and technologies from both companies and from partners and customers.
An easy-to-understand example is an order process in warehousing and ordering that uses Microsoft Azure AI (Cognitive Services) to recognize an item in a warehouse, identify the article number and trigger an order process via S/4, or in recruitment, where Microsoft Hololens, Microsoft Teams and SuccessFactors are used for virtual job interviews and recruitment.
From time to time, the question arises as to how we deal with competing products from both companies. My answer as Alliance Manager - and therefore responsible for the partnership between SAP and Microsoft - is that the first thing we did was to remove the word competition.
Instead, we offer our customers alternatives. And it is then the task of the solution architects at SAP, Microsoft, partners and customers to coordinate the best and most suitable architecture for the business scenarios and to use the best and most suitable from both product and technology worlds. And our SAP and Microsoft partners have a special role to play here.
It's no secret that many SAP partners are also Microsoft partners and therefore have expertise in both technology worlds. But with Embrace, many partners have realized that it is not enough to know both. No, the employees and the expertise have to be brought together. This is why many SAP and Microsoft partners have built up real or virtual Embrace practices and, in addition to technology expertise, have complemented these with industry know-how and consulting expertise for digital transformation.
The basis and starting point of the "Digital Transformation Journey" is the migration from ECC to S/4 Hana on Azure with SCP on Azure. This is the base plate, so to speak, of the innovation house, which is designed jointly for and with customers and implemented in phases. And the joint industry-specific Market Approved Journeys from SAP and Microsoft describe what such a phased implementation can look like.