Under a new "co-innovation" partnership, Google and SAP will work together to help enterprises move into the digital business era using the public cloud. Through that partnership, customers using SAP's HANA in-memory database will now be able to securely run that system on the Google Cloud Platform.

Announced ahead of the start of the Google Cloud Next '17 event currently taking place in San Francisco (March 8-10), the partnership is significant for Google's enterprise cloud ambitions. SAP, which has more than 5,400 HANA enterprise customers, already offers the database system on Google's cloud competitors, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

As part of its new working relationship with Google, SAP will also make the express edition of HANA available to developers via on-demand deployment through Google Cloud. The companies will also work together to make SAP's platform-as-a-service offering available on the Google Cloud Platform, and integrate SAP apps with Google's G Suite for productivity.

'This Is Only the Start'

"With the size, scope, and scale of both our companies, we see a great opportunity to completely transform the way end-to-end business processes and enterprise software are run in the digital economy," Bernd Leukert, an executive board member for SAP products and innovation, wrote Wednesday on the company's blog. "And this is only the start. With machine learning becoming increasingly important, SAP and Google will also collaborate in this area, taking full advantage of the business and technology capabilities of both industry leaders."

Leukert said SAP will reveal more about that collaboration with Google at its 2017 Sapphire Now conference, to be held in Orlando in mid-May.

The new partnership makes Google Cloud the first public cloud vendor to offer the SAP HANA express edition to developers on demand, Nan Boden, head of Google's global technology partners, wrote Tuesday on the Google Cloud blog. That will enable developers to build custom applications for enterprises "with the flexibility of on-demand, near instantaneous deployment" via Google's Cloud Launcher marketplace for enterprise partner applications, she said.

New Integration with G Suite

In addition to bringing HANA onto Google's cloud, SAP applications will also be integrated with Google's cloud-based G Suite for productivity, formerly known as Apps for Work, to enable SAP customers to more seamlessly access Google apps, including Gmail, Calendar and Sheets.

The new level of integration between SAP and Google Cloud has already paved the way for easier collaboration among users at Colgate-Palmolive, Boden said. A customer of SAP for 23 years, Colgate-Palmolive last year moved all its employees -- around 28,000 worldwide -- into G Suite, she said.

"The implementation took only six months and, after only three months, they're already working differently, collaborating more easily," Boden said. She added the company expects to gain more benefits through other SAP-Google partnership efforts such as "combining Google's machine learning with SAP's business process expertise as well as integrating SAP's Digital Boardroom, a co-innovation between SAP and Colgate, with Google Slides."