Our world is becoming more digital every day, with an increasing number of people working remotely. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these trends.

Efficient virtual collaboration has never been more important, and we want to provide our customers with solutions that help them cope with business disruptions. When done right, these can be powerful tools to increase workplace productivity, raise flexibility, and foster agility within and across organizations.

One key aspect to this is the integration of business software applications with business collaboration tools. Together with Microsoft, we want to better support end users in their daily work and bridge the gap between enterprise software and collaboration tools more effectively and efficiently. Our two companies combine the market-leading business software applications from SAP with the market-leading business collaboration tools from Microsoft.

Together with Microsoft, we will drive joint innovation to integrate Microsoft Teams and SAP’s business software applications. By doing so, we aim to simplify processes, enable collaboration without switching applications, and guide users of the solutions intuitively. Ultimately, the integration scenarios can help to achieve enhanced workplace productivity by offering our customers significant value to work better together with their employees, customers, and partners—anywhere and anytime.

Bringing Together Microsoft Teams and SAP Solutions

We are looking to expand the integration scenarios with Microsoft Teams and SAP solutions in the following areas to:

  • Effectively collaborate with business partners: Especially in the case of disruptions in business, fast communication with clients and partners is imperative. One of our first integration scenarios relates to SAP S/4HANA and Microsoft Teams. With the solution alignment, customers will be able to identify their business partners easily and initiate contact directly from SAP S/4HANA—with no need to switch between applications or devices. This will help customers swiftly react to business situations based on real-time data and constant communication with relevant stakeholders.
  • Simplify and modernize the remote sales experience: Today, remote selling has become an imperative for companies across the globe. Integrating SAP Sales Cloud with Microsoft Teams simplifies the remote selling process and removes barriers to customer engagement through an embedded in-app integration of the two solutions. For example, without switching applications, customer calls can be initiated directly from the customer experience application—helping ensure transparency and consistency within customer relationship management (CRM) and saving time through user-friendly workflows.
  • Foster collaboration and build learning communities: Organizations have realized the necessity of providing simple, intuitive, and engaging ways for employees to learn new skills, share knowledge, and stay informed—all in a virtual environment. Bringing together SAP SuccessFactors solutions and Microsoft Teams will support learning experiences that enable collaboration, social learning, and remote conferencing.

This news makes one characteristic of the two companies’ enduring alliance very clear: the ability and commitment to continually evolve to make our customers even more successful. Every time an end user works with SAP solutions, there is an opportunity for real-time collaboration such as chats, conference calls, alerts, and so much more. It is exciting to see the opportunities for collaboration culture and frictionless enterprises that our partnership with Microsoft creates for our customers.

Accelerating Migration and Increasing Operational Efficiencies

In addition, SAP and Microsoft are further simplifying and improving the experience for customers running SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure. Together, we will continue to make our customers’ migration from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA in the cloud simpler, while at the same time ensuring choice for customers that prefer multi-cloud environments in their enterprise IT landscapes.

This means that our customers will see more guidance from SAP and Microsoft on the initial setup and architecture design of SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure.

We also plan to collaborate with Microsoft to enhance SAP Cloud Appliance Library, a tool that makes it easier for users to quickly provision SAP applications for immediate use in the cloud, and offer automated SAP system installations for SAP S/4HANA. Customers can also subscribe to SAP Landscape Management Cloud, improving scalability and operation efforts, and benefit from an SAP system-centered view of their Microsoft Azure landscape. Additionally, we are working on a more guided approach for customers to quickly deploy SAP S/4HANA directly into Microsoft Azure. For better transparency within the transformation process, we will provide guidance on data migration tool usage for the transition of SAP workloads from on premise to SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure.

Bringing Platform Services Closer Together

We will also continue to expand the global availability of SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure during 2021. Together, we will drive co-innovation between SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) and Microsoft Azure services to deliver business outcomes to our customers. The range of capabilities includes event integration based on open standards, single sign-on and provisioning of users between Microsoft and SAP, secure network connectivity, and improved application development experience on SAP BTP. My SAP Executive Board colleague and our Chief Technology Officer Juergen Mueller will give more insight on the role of SAP BTP in the upcoming days.

With our partnership, we bring together Microsoft Teams with SAP solutions, accelerate migration and improve operational efficiencies, and bring platform services closer together. We are working on making these enhancements and integrations of SAP solutions with Microsoft a reality for our customers soon. You can find the latest status of our joint work in this e-book, which we will update regularly.  I look forward to more joint innovation to come.

The next generation of enterprise software is intelligent and integrated, networked, sustainable, and collaborative.

Thomas Saueressig is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Product Engineering.

This article first appeared on the SAP Global News Center