The Google/SAP partnership may be underestimated

In March of this year, SAP and Google announced a business partnership. Initially, some observers thought that this partnership might mainly focus on SAP's usage of Google's artificial intelligence engine, Tensorflow. However, this was a misinterpretation.

On September 12, 2017, Google opened its third data center in Europe, in the Frankfurt region. For Google, this is a major step forward, acknowledging data security and privacy requirements of European, particularly German, enterprises. In the past, data security in the Google Cloud was seen as an issue. On the other hand, SAP customers are used to the fact that rules, regulations and policies based on German compliance requirements are made available via SAP products regardless of the country where the SAP products are deployed.

SAP's leaning towards Google seems to be a natural development, leaving out the data security and privacy question. Microsoft has competing products to SAP, and SAP's very careful cooperation with Amazon may be based on the idea that a lot of SAP's customers in the retail sector are heavily competing with Amazon. Actually, the world's biggest retailer, Walmart, is now pushing its suppliers not to cooperate with Amazon and not to use Amazon Web Services. And SAP has a strong relationship with IBM, anyway.

In order to use enterprise cloud offerings from providers like Google, SAP was forced to seriously address the data security and privacy issue. For this purpose, SAP developed and announced the SAP Data Custodian Environment, in which customers can define what security and privacy standards have to be met even if SAP-generated data or SAP applications are deployed in an enterprise cloud like the one from Google. Google, on the other hand, wants to address the enterprise market more strongly and is supporting SAP in its effort to support the SAP Data Custodian Environment on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Thus, besides many other good arguments for SAP to partner intensively with Google, the co-development of a strong data security and privacy environment for SAP data and computer environment is a turning point in how SAP addresses the enterprise market. It doesn't seem to be too much to say that Google is about to turn an historical weakness (data security and privacy) into a future strength with the help of SAP.