By Jon Swartz
Two cloud-computing giants made land grabs Tuesday in the fight for market turf.
Microsoft Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +0.07% beefed up its Azure platform to bring those services to any infrastructure, modernize data centers and extend Azure to edge-computing devices, while Alphabet Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +2.25% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +2.40% Google announced a major new enterprise partnership with Anaplan Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209228864/composite PLAN -2.27% .
Microsoft’s play comes as hybrid-cloud computing extends to what the company calls multi-cloud and multi-edge computing, with customers like Siemens Healthineers /zigman2/quotes/203113177/delayed XE:SHL +0.09% and Kroger Co. /zigman2/quotes/206215053/composite KR 0.00% increasingly adopting the model. More important, the enhancements to Azure products and services will allow them to work more seamlessly for customers who also use cloud platforms from Google and Amazon.
As the pandemic has changed the way people and organizations work, more industries are either adopting cloud computing or greatly expanding what they already have, according to Julia White, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure. Microsoft made its announcement during its annual Ignite conference for developers and IT professionals this week.
“Companies are accelerating their plans and scalability,” White told MarketWatch, pointing specifically to the travel, health and retail industries. “What has forced change is competition as much as the pandemic.”
Microsoft’s move comes amid a flurry of moves in the hybrid cloud market by International Business Machines Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203856914/composite IBM -1.97% , which acquired Red Hat; VMware Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209864107/composite VMW +0.09% , Google with Anthos, and Amazon.com Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -1.00% AWS with Outposts.
“Microsoft is attempting to be relevant in places where enterprises use AWS and Google Cloud,” Gartner analyst Ed Anderson, who was briefed by Microsoft ahead of the announcement, told MarketWatch.
Google announced a new partnership with enterprise giant Anaplan to run its platform for enterprise planning and business performance on Google Cloud. This marks Anaplan’s first implementation with a major cloud provider, building on its 4-year relationship with customer Google.
The onslaught of COVID has put a premium on real-time decision-making and planning for financial institutions, retailers, and government agencies for vastly different tasks, according to executives from both companies.
“We see companies going through a dual shift, brought on by the pandemic and the demand for revenue planning, forecasting,” Google Cloud Chief Executive Thomas Kurian told MarketWatch. He pointed to retail, where inventory management and delivery logistics have been upended by store closures and the changing shopping habits of Americans the past several months.
Financial institutions are also undergoing significant shifts. By 2024, 70% of new financial planning and analysis projects will extend beyond the finance domain into other areas of enterprise planning and analysis, according to a Gartner report .
”With COVID, many more companies, especially in financial industry, see the need to be more focused on where the business is going rather than where it has been,” Anaplan CEO Frank Calderon told MarketWatch.