The 10 Most Important Technology Partnerships In 2018

Two heads are better than one when looking for a better way to offer clients advanced solutions and services, even when those two heads normally compete with each other, as seen in this list of important technology partners cemented in 2018.



Building a customer solution takes a lot of expertise, often more than any one services provider or vendor can supply on its own. Providing the really complex solutions requires more expertise than many providers have, and that means time to partner up.

Partnering on client solutions is almost as old as IT itself. And 2018 was no exception. The year saw several huge technology partnerships which are aimed at bringing a wide range of expertise to bear in solving client issues. They ranged from competitors working for common goals to complete migrations of services teams to coming together for advanced cloud-based services.

For a look at some of the top technology and services partnerships for the year, turn the page.

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Open Data Initiative

At the Microsoft Ignite conference in September, three leading software companies--Microsoft, SAP, and Adobe--unveiled the Open Data Initiative. The Open Data Initiative is aimed at developing a common data model to improve interoperability and data exchange between Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP C/4HANA and S/4HANA, and Adobe Experience Cloud and Adobe Experience Platform.

The goal of the Open Data Initiative is to help eliminate data silos and provide a single view of the customer to more readily enable AI and advanced data analytics. A common data model will allow the use of a common data lake on Microsoft Azure, the companies said.

Broadcom And HCL Global Services

Broadcom, a San Jose, Calif.-based global provider of semiconductor and infrastructure software, in December said it has signed a global preferred services partnership agreement with Noida, India-based HCL Technology. Under the agreement, HCL is now the preferred services partner for Broadcom's enterprise software products, part of which includes the offerings of CA Technologies, which Broadcom acquired earlier this year.

In addition to services around the CA Technologies portfolio, Broadcom is also transitioning the majority of its own professional services people and expertise to HCL, including its agile, cybersecurity, and devops services. However, the agreement does not include Broadcom's mainframe and U.S. public sector professional services.

Accenture and Zafin

Dublin, Ireland-based global services provider Accenture in December said it is forming a strategic alliance with Zafin, a Toronto-based provider of financial services software, under which Accenture will become the preferred integrator of Zafin's financial software. At the same time, a number of Zafin's professional services employees will join Accenture's global financial services practice.

HP Inc. And Apple

HP Inc., which competes with Apple in a wide range of mobile devices, in February embraced its competitor with an expansion of its device-as-a-service offering. The new relationship includes Apple's iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other Apple devices, which HPE now supports with its own support, managed services, and analytics capabilities for commercial customers in mixed operating systems environments.


DXC Technologies, a Tyson's Corner, Va.-based global services provider, in August said it is joining forces with Amazon Web Services to build a new multi-billion dollar enterprise dubbed DXC-AWS Integrated Practice aimed at delivering IT migration services to clients around the world.

While DXC was already a premier partner in the AWS partner network, the new DXC - AWS Integrated Practice will go deeper to offer clients secure, cloud-first solutions combining the cloud services offered via AWS with DXC enterprise services, which the two said will help make it easier for clients to innovate in their industries while increasing their agility and their ability to adapt to dynamic market conditions.

Accenture And Google Cloud

Google in July unveiled a new collaboration with Accenture to develop the Accenture Google Cloud Business Group, or AGBG for short. The AGBG brings together cloud experts from both companies to help enterprise clients build cloud solutions tailored to their specific industries and needs. The partnership initially focused on retail, consumer packaged goods, and healthcare verticals.

The AGBG is helping clients use artificial intelligence and machine learning to build next-generation business processes, do cloud migrations and managed services related to Google Cloud Platform, deliver managed SAP services on Google Cloud Platform, and take advantage of other Google applications.

T-Mobile And Nokia

T-Mobile and Nokia in July signed a multi-year $3.5-billion agreement aimed at helping T-Mobile, the third-largest carrier in the U.S., to deploy 5G across the country using Nokia's 600MHz and 28GHz millimeter wave 5G technology.

Using 5G, Nokia and T-Mobile said they will develop, test, and launch the next generation of connectivity services expected to cover a wide range of industries, including enterprise, smart cities, utilities, transportation, health, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, and government agencies.

Apple And Google Cloud

Apple in February finally officially confirmed via a document posted online that it uses the Google Cloud Platform as part of the infrastructure for its iCloud storage service. The document confirmed a CRN report from March of 2016 that Google had landed Apple as a customer for the Google Cloud platform.

Apple and Google did not initially confirm the report. But a document posted online by Apple shows that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company does use Google Cloud Platform for meeting part of the requirements of iCloud storage. The iCloud service provides backups to data on devices including iPhones, iPads and Macs.

Atos And Google Cloud

Google in April unveiled a partnership with the $15-billion IT services giant Atos aimed at driving enterprise adoption of artificial intelligence. Paris-based Atos entered into the agreement with Google Cloud to create solutions in three key areas--hybrid cloud, data analytics, and machine learning--along with the digital workplace. To accelerate product development and go-to-market strategies, Atos said it will create three AI and machine learning customer innovation labs and R&D centers in France, Britain, and the U.S.

Atos is a $15 billion global service provider that also develops products including high performance computing systems and solutions targeting IoT. The company plans to develop and expand its Canopy Orchestrated Hybrid Cloud with Google Cloud Platform as Atos' preferred public cloud platform. Atos also unveiled plans to develop a machine learning practice leveraging Google Cloud's APIs and develop a Google G-Suite practice.

Nimble And Microsoft

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Nimble CRM in February forged a new alliance with Microsoft as a way to penetrate the crowded software market.

Nimble became one of the first ISVs to enter Microsoft's Third Party Offers program that connects solutions to distributor marketplaces. Nimble further enabled Microsoft partners to bundle its software, which integrates social platforms and CRM data into popular office productivity suites like Office 365 and G Suite. Nimble markets its CRM apps for small businesses, and as such typically does not compete directly with Microsoft's Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM applications. And for Microsoft, when channel partners sell Nimble with Office 365, sales of the latter get a boost.