Microsoft and SAS form new partnership to combine Azure services with data analysis tools

The companies are planning to develop industry-specific products to integrate SAS services with Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power BI.

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Microsoft and SAS announced a new partnership to integrate SAS' analytical tools with Azure's cloud platform. Azure is now the preferred provider for the SAS Cloud. 

This partnership includes optimizing Viya, a cloud-native offering from SAS, for Azure as well as integrating SAS' portfolio of industry solutions into the Azure Marketplace, per the announcement.

"Partnering with Microsoft gives customers a more seamless path to the cloud that provides faster, more powerful, and easier access to SAS solutions and enables trusted decisions with analytics that everyone can understand," said Oliver Schabenberger, SAS chief technology officer and chief operating officer, in a press release. 

SEE: Hybrid cloud: A guide for IT pros (free PDF)

Jim Hare, distinguished VP analyst of analytics and data science at Gartner Technology & Services Provider Research Group, said that the partnership will help SAS boost awareness of its cloud offerings and make it faster and easier for SAS customers to move from on-premise to the cloud.

"The partnership also includes SAS moving its own hosted offerings into Azure which should free up SAS resources from having to manage its own infrastructure," he said, "Microsoft benefits from SAS domain and industry-vertical expertise to jointly create new market-ready analytics solutions for customers running on Azure."  

Hare also said that because this partnership is not exclusive, he expects SAS to enter into partnerships with other cloud service providers in the future.
 
Mercy, a healthcare system based in St. Louis, is moving its SAS analytic workloads to Azure to improve performance and cost-efficiency and to analyze patient data to make treatment decisions.

"We're excited about the potential for increased speed, scalability and an expanded catalog of analytics solutions the SAS and Microsoft partnership brings in helping us deliver a new care model," said Curtis Dudley, Mercy vice president of data analytics, in a press release. 

In May, Microsoft announced during the Build 2020 developer event that hospitals and physician practices will have all the Microsoft tools in one place with the launch of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.  

Forrester senior analyst Jeff Becker said that Microsoft has been working to bring differentiated cloud offerings to the enterprise healthcare market for some time. 
"Healthcare organizations are increasingly comfortable pursuing cloud-enabled digital transformation initiatives, and Microsoft is capturing a large share of this emerging business," he said.
In January, Epic Systems, announced an end to integrations with Google Cloud in favor of working with Amazon Web Services and Azure. Cerner, the other big electronic health records vendor, named AWS as its preferred cloud vendor in 2019

Also, Microsoft and SAS will integrate SAS analytics capabilities, including industry-specific models, within Azure and Dynamics 365 to build new market-ready joint solutions for customers that are natively integrated with SAS services across multiple vertical industries. 

The town of Cary, NC, is already using a joint IoT offering from Microsoft and SAS to calculate  flood predictions.

Nicole Raimundo, the town's chief information officer, said in a press release that her team is using sensors, weather data, SAS IoT analytics, and the Azure IoT platform to monitor streams and predict where flooding might occur, and improve emergency response plans.

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