Last month, SAS and Microsoft announced a new strategic partnership – one that we believe will shape the future of analytics and artificial intelligence. You may be wondering as a customer what this partnership means for you.

As an IT leader, I’ve had a front-row seat for the collaborative relationship between SAS and Microsoft for many years. We’ve jointly developed products like SAS® Office Analytics, allowing customers to use the power of SAS Analytics while accessing data directly from Microsoft Excel, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint. And internally, we’ve enjoyed years of operating our own enterprise on Microsoft technologies like Microsoft 365 for our global unified communication and collaboration needs.

As part of this latest partnership with Microsoft, Azure has become the preferred cloud provider for the SAS Cloud; however, SAS will continue to support cloud deployments on every platform. We’re continuing to engineer SAS to take advantage of the unique features of not only Azure but also other cloud providers.

The preferred cloud partnership with Microsoft means we’ve formed an extensive technology and go-to-market strategy to use Microsoft cloud at SAS and migrate SAS Analytics to Azure. We'll also integrate closely with Microsoft technologies for new product and solution development that will help our customers uncover new business insights and opportunities for innovation. As the partnership grows, we’re looking at three key areas of analytics enhancement and innovation for customers.

  1. Today, SAS and Microsoft are working together to migrate our customers’ SAS Analytics onto Azure. Our joint focus is optimizing software and hardware so that SAS workloads can be deployed quickly and operate efficiently on Azure. During this first phase of our partnership, SAS software will continue to run everywhere, and our customers can run SAS on their cloud provider of choice. SAS is here to support them. However, in the years ahead, SAS will migrate our internal operations and our global SAS Cloud business to Azure.
  1. As a next step, SAS and Microsoft will partner on a successful release of our SAS® Viya® platform optimized for Azure. Viya will enjoy deep integrations with Azure, enabling the use of Azure services such as Synapse, Active Directory and Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS).
  1. And finally, in the future SAS and Microsoft will jointly explore the development of custom integrations and solutions using SAS Analytics and Microsoft’s solutions and cloud capabilities to find new applications and accelerate innovation faster for our respective customers. This is particularly fascinating when you consider the reach of Microsoft’s entire cloud portfolio. We can combine the strength of Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 with SAS’ leadership in the analytics market to deliver unprecedented industry-specific solutions and domain expertise.

A vision for the future

SAS and Microsoft share a vision of a digital world with high technology intensity, where analytics and artificial intelligence empower everyone to build more, to do more and to make better decisions.

This partnership began with each party listening to what you, our customers, needed. As we explored what we could do together, we identified current and future opportunities for collaboration. Our collaboration does not stop at a specific solution or platform. In fact, our discussions naturally flowed to encompass platform, tools, solutions, cloud and edge, software and services, training, education, selling, and marketing. Together, Microsoft and SAS technology can further define a key piece of the operating system for digital transformation.

I am excited about the journey we have ahead of us and the impact this partnership will have on our customers and partners for years to come – and I hope you are too.

Read next: Learn more about SAS and Microsoft or watch a demo of the two technologies working together.


About Author

Jay Upchurch

Chief Information Officer

As Chief Information Officer, Jay Upchurch is dedicated to helping customers and partners address today’s increasingly complex software and hardware infrastructure challenges. Leading a global IT organization, his charter is to deliver efficient and consistent operations support across all business functions to help accelerate how companies can unlock value from data and analytics. Prior to joining SAS Upchurch was Vice President of Hospitality and Retail Cloud, overseeing the design, delivery and ongoing operations of Oracle’s global Hospitality and Retail Cloud.

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