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7/27/2011
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Microsoft, Capgemini Partner On Azure Services

Redmond looks to consultants to drive adoption of its Windows Cloud platform in vertical industries.

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Office 365 Vs. Google Apps: Top 10 Enterprise Concerns
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Microsoft said it would team with IT and business consulting company Capgemini in an effort to broaden the reach of its cloud computing offerings.

Under the deal, Capgemini will build customer solutions that run on Windows Azure, the cloud-based version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, in 22 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and Brazil.

Capgemini said it plans to develop Azure-based offerings tailored to a number of vertical industries, such as financial services, the public sector, and energy and utilities. The consulting company also will coordinate offerings from third-party software providers that have developed Azure-based apps for those niches.

The deal calls for Microsoft and Capgemini to invest in joint sales, marketing, and technical training activities. They also plan to jointly study data quality, security, and sovereignty issues related to the cloud.

Capgemini will train 1,500 developers and architects on the cloud platform. Many of them will be based in the company's Windows Azure Center of Excellence in Mumbai, India. "Together, we are well-positioned to deliver cloud services that will help customers keep ahead of the technology curve while at the same time reducing costs," said John Brahim, deputy CEO for Capgemini Europe a statement.

The companies have already secured some customers for their joint offerings, including the Dutch police.

"Police officers identified a gap between police legacy systems and the growing trend for app stores and cloud. To counter this, we wanted to transition to a cloud-based model for better information sharing, both internally and externally," said Willem Broer, a program director with the Dutch police. "To connect our legacy systems with new Web parts, Windows Azure was a trusted choice for our technology management program."

The agreement could help speed the adoption of Azure in enterprises.

Because it lacks a large, in-house consulting army like other cloud technology providers, such as HP and IBM, Microsoft needs to partner with third parties that can help get its offerings into the hands of customers. Because cloud represents such a significant architectural shift for enterprise IT, bundling the technology with consulting services that can lead a broader overhaul of a company's tech operations is key.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ERP is old news, but enhancing legacy software with mobile, analytics, and social apps can deliver substantial new value. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek: SaaS can create new data silos unless companies follow best practices to make those apps work with on-premises systems and data sources. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

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