SAN JOSE: Microsoft and NetSuite have teamed up to offer closer integration between Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and productivity suite, and NetSuite's ERP online software.
The partnership was unveiled by NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson at the firm's SuiteWorld event Tuesday in San Jose, where delegates were also treated to a video link of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was beamed in to share the good news. The firms have inked the "strategic cloud alliance" in a bid to develop ways to connect NetSuite's cloud ERP tools to Office 365, Windows and Azure.
The first step in the deal will see a link between NetSuite's software and Microsoft's Azure Active Directory that will let customers take advantage of single sign-on to applications, and centralised management of user authentication and passwords.
Over the coming months, the firms will begin working on connecting NetSuite's ERP tools and Microsoft's Office 365 online productivity suite, letting users access both suites via a single interface. Customers will also be able to integrate NetSuite data with Excel and Power BI for Office 365.
Nadella told SuiteWorld delegates that the NetSuite deal was part of Microsoft's current focus on empowering its customers.
"The integration between NetSuite and Office 365 will bring together ERP and productivity in the cloud to transform how people work," he explained.
"Organisations who use ERP and the Azure Active Directory will immediately benefit from the integration between our products with reduced security risk and protection against threats.
"In the coming year, NetSuite will be doing more with Azure, blending its cloud management business suite with the powerful Azure capabilities."
Nelson expanded on this by expaining that NetSuite will have "access to the best and brightest at Microsoft to really do tight integration for email, for calendaring, a whole host of services for Office 365".
And it is not just its own customers that NetSuite is targeting with the Microsoft partnership. The online software vendor is planning to migrate all its own employees to Office 365.
NetSuite will also move off Amazon Web Services and onto Azure as its preferred cloud infrastructure provider, using the Microsoft platform for in-house testing and also as the base for developers, partners and customers building their own software applications and NetSuite integrations.
The deal is one of a series of partnerships Microsoft has made under Nadella's leadership that have seen the firm teaming up with once rivals.
Prior to the NetSuite deal, Microsoft had already partnered with Salesforce.com, which offers CRM software that competes with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The latest iteration of the deal includes Salesforce1 for Windows, Power BI for Office 365 and Excel integrations with Salesforce.
Microsoft has also teamed up with SAP to get a raft of SAP software accredited for Azure, including Business Suite, Business All-In-One, Mobile Platform and the developer edition of the SAP HANA platform.
Nelson put this shift in Microsoft's approach to competitors firmly down to the appointment of Nadella as CEO.
"We do compete with Microsoft on some levels. Some of you sell Microsoft products like Great Plains and Dynamics," he noted.
"Historically we haven't found a way to find common ground with Microsoft but when Satya Nadella came in, I could see a sea change in terms of what they were doing, their willingness to partner and we began to think about what we could do with Microsoft differently."
The deal between NetSuite and Microsoft is further evidence of how critical the cloud has become to the technology industry.
"The cloud has won," Nelson affirmed at the San Jose show.
"If you're a software vendor and you don't believe the cloud has won you're going to be out of business very soon. This is a fact of life, some changes become facts and the debate about the cloud is over."
NetSuite has also expanded its SuiteCommerce system this week with an in-store option that lets retailers use the same data they have for their e-commerce sites on the shop floor.
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