Google and SAP have partnered on a number of different projects over the years, and Google Cloud, just like its competitors, is RISE’s strategic cloud partner with SAP, the German enterprise software company’s program to help its customers transition to the cloud. The two companies today announced a fairly significant expansion of their partnership offering deep integration between SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP’s leading ERP system and Google Workspace. This new native integration will allow SAP users to access and work with data from S/4HANA collaboratively in Google Docs and Sheets, all while importing and exporting that data seamlessly between the two systems.
Philip Herzig, Senior Vice President and Head of Intelligent Enterprise and Cross Architecture at SAP, tells me that SAP customers are demanding these features, especially as Google continues to attract more large enterprise customers. S/4HANA obviously contains a lot of valuable data and documentation, so users were already exporting that data and working with it in other word processing and spreadsheet applications. But perhaps most important here is that this is a two-way integration that not only involves extracting the data but also syncing it back into the ERP as a new version so that the ERP still works as the logging system.
“Bidirectional integration is actually what many customers are asking for because, sure, you can actually extract data today into any spreadsheet. But then, it’s just a document that’s on your hard drive, Google Drive, or wherever, right? That’s It’s good for a small company, but big companies around the world need more structures for those documents. That’s why this combination is so essential,” Herzig said.
He also noted that this is part of SAP’s work on improving the overall situation of integration with third-party applications and that the company has created a standardized way to do this. In fact, SAP uses a business technology platform – the company’s own integration service – midway between S/4HANA and Google Workspace to power the connection between the two companies.
On the Google side, Workspace VP and GM Javier Soltero, who joined the company from Microsoft in 2019, note that this integration also highlights that Workspace is enterprise ready. “For me, as someone who has been running this business for nearly three years, seeing the support and conviction of SAP and working with us on this, as well as the reaction in the market and the requests we receive for this, is a testament to the company’s viability in Workspace, a topic that has been For the longest time, even before I came here, something hard to see.”
Soltero also noted that Google has always tried to make room for developers to build on top of the Workspace/G Suite ecosystem. “Seeing someone like SAP benefit from that is really a huge milestone for us and definitely proof that we want to continue with this,” he explained.
With SAP already supporting S/4HANA on Google Cloud infrastructure, it’s no surprise that the two companies are also beginning to think about how to build additional integrations beyond leveraging Google Cloud’s core infrastructure services, perhaps also a good example of why they maintain Google has both cloud infrastructure services and workspace under the same company umbrella
“What this partnership specifically represents for a company like Workspace is more than just this technical aspect of ‘Hey, can you share data between a critical ERP system like S/4HANA and a product like Google Workspace,’” he said. , this presents an opportunity to achieve something greater than the sum of its parts and what I mean by that is that in giving the SAP user the ability to access that data through a surface like Google Docs or Google Sheets, you are marrying a hybrid work surface that is collaborative in nature with the very important business data set. And the resulting usage patterns, for us, in particular, are bound to be very different and exciting, in part because of what that means when you have a real-time collaborative surface that is in constant sync with big enterprise data.”
While the two companies are currently experimenting with integration with a select number of customers, the initial set of features will be launched as a standard feature for S/4HANA Cloud later this year.