Hewlett-Packard and SAP aren’t direct competitors on the level of, say, Oracle and Salesforce—but with HP expanding more rapidly into the services industry, it’ll inevitably find itself at odds with the German conglomerate in some areas. Which makes the news of a data-analytics alliance between the two firms all the more surprising. On Aug. 25, HP unveiled the HP As-a-Service Solution for SAP HANA, which delivers SAP’s in-memory technology to businesses as a way to speed up information management and analytics processes. The platform runs atop HP’s Managed Cloud environment. Clients will end up paying a monthly fee for the service; HP’s Migration Factory for SAP HANA will take care of securely migrating user data to HANA. HP is also providing a variety of consulting and management “solutions” in conjunction with its SAP collaboration; for example, it’s offering Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) pricing models for delivering SAP business suite applications and mobility tools via the Managed Cloud platform. HP consultants and data scientists are apparently available to help shepherd companies through their use of SAP products on HP infrastructure. By acting as a gateway for SAP products, HP obviously benefits from a branding and revenue perspective. Such an alliance also allows HP to tout its cloud and analytics expertise. But what’s in it for SAP? For starters, the company gets the chance to introduce its HANA in-memory technology to a broader audience. SAP is rapidly integrating HANA into every aspect of its software portfolio, which makes the technology progressively more important to SAP’s future. But other giant firms—including Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft—are busy crafting their own in-memory offerings; unless SAP lifts HANA’s prominence, it risks being lost amidst an increasing number of competitors. Pairing with HP is a good way to make HANA more prominent, even if it means SAP has to let its new partner make some money off related consulting and management services. When it comes to the increasingly competitive world of data analytics, such alliances may end up being the best choice for all companies involved.   Image: Sashkin/Shutterstock.com