The South African cloud computing landscape is set to see two hyperscalers take centre stage – Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS). While we wait for AWS to make its local data centre presence, Microsoft is looking to partners like SAP in order to offer a simplified cloud journey offering for its customers.

Both Microsoft and SAP announced that their partnership will also be made available to local enterprises, confirming as much during a press conference at the Johannesburg-based SAP Experience Centre.

This follows an announcement that the pair made in October of last year regarding the Embrace platform, which too aims to address the needs of enterprise customers making their migration to the cloud in a bid to align their digitisation goals.

Also in attendance at the Experience Centre was Standard Bank, which is one of the first companies in the region to be working with both Microsoft South Africa and SAP. The partnership will leverage the best of what Azure has to offer, which has been enhanced thanks to local data centres landing last year, as well as the benefits of the SAP S/4HANA cloud computing platforms.

As such it should give the hyperscaler a bit more clout when competing against the likes of AWS. Microsoft adds that it will leverage its existing relationships within the industry in order to assist customers, with Standard Bank being a prime example, given that both parties have worked together on the technology front for the past 25 years.

In terms of what Standard Bank will be doing in the coming months and years, the financial institution is in the process of deciding which of its processes and platforms to migrate to the cloud.

Standard Bank will not go for a pure cloud setup though, and will rather go for a mix of in-cloud and on-premise solutions. According to Standard Bank this partnership helps fall in line with the institution’s continued push to be more digitally-inclined, and eventually be an “always-on” bank as they term it.

It is not only larger organisations that this partnership will look to benefit, with Microsoft SA MD, Lilian Barnard, noting that SMEs remain a key focus for the company.

As such it looks like 2020 will be a year in which cloud migration intensifies, and more companies start their digital journeys in earnest.