UPDATED 14:34 EST / JUNE 15 2020


Data analytics giant SAS signs far-reaching cloud deal with Microsoft

SAS Institute Inc., a veteran provider of analytics and machine learning software that serves most of the Fortune 500, today announced a broad cloud deal with Microsoft Corp. to use Azure in its internal operations.

SAS’ history dates back more than 40 years to 1976. The analytics provider generated revenues of $3.2 billion in 2018 and, unusually for a company its size, is not publicly traded. 

The deal with Microsoft will see the analytics provider migrate its core software products and industry-specific offerings onto Azure, as well as have employees adopt Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365. Microsoft 365 is the new name for Office 365. Dynamics 365, in turn, is a bundle of customer relationship management and enterprise resource management applications.

The companies’ collaboration will have a strong go-to-market component. Executives told TechCrunch that SAS and Microsoft sales teams will work to cross-sell one another’s products to their respective customers. In the same spirit, SAS will make it easier for Azure customers to adopt the industry-specific analytics products it sells to sectors such as retail by making them available as pre-packaged workloads via the Azure Marketplace.

Several joint users have already started combining Azure and SAS products. Among them is the municipality of Cary, North Carolina, the home of SAS’ headquarters (pictured), which is using the companies’ solutions to help officials better respond to floods.

“Using sensors, weather data, SAS IoT analytics and the Azure IoT platform, we expect to increase situational awareness of rising stream levels, predict where flooding might occur, and improve our emergency response through automation,” said Cary Chief Information Officer Nicole Raimundo. “Cary is also proud to be able to share this data with our neighboring communities to help them better serve their citizens.”

Microsoft and SAS will combine their engineering resources in the background to make sure SAS’ analytics products work well on Azure. One core priority will be building an Azure-optimized version of Viya, the cloud version of SAS’ core analytics toolkit. The companies will look into ways of integrating the software with the native analytics services Microsoft provides in Azure.

The first solutions to emerge from the collaboration are expected to begin rolling out later this year.

The deal with SAS represents a strategic win for Microsoft because the 44-year-old firm has built a strong enterprise presence over the years. Besides most of the Fortune 500, it also counts about 80,000 other organizations as customers. The companies’ planned sales collaboration means that Microsoft is not only gaining SAS as a customer but may also win additional customers in the future as a direct consequence of the partnership.

Photo: SAS

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