Microsoft and Accenture strike a deal

Microsoft, Accenture Strike Windows Azure Cloud Deal

Microsoft signed a deal with Accenture, propping the IT consulting firm up as the first authorized to sell an end-to-end public cloud solution on the Windows Azure platform. Under this new agreement, customers are given the ability to sign a mere single contract for Accenture and its Avanade subsidiary to build, deploy, and manage applications on the Azure platform.

The deal also allows Microsoft and Accenture to compete on more level terms with CSC, which also offers consulting services and app design for its own cloud data centers. Other companies like IBM and HP are increasingly producing similar initiatives.

The deal doesn’t do very much aside from sparing customers from negotiating separate contracts. Accenture and Avanade have been building such systems to run on Azure already – some of them for social collaboration. In 2011, Accenture and Avanade spent 170,000 staff hours on the development of such projects, putting out 40 Windows/Azure-based projects that year, according to Adam Warby, Avanade’s CEO.

“Our clients are increasingly looking to generate the business benefits of moving into the cloud. We can offer the capabilities, flexibility, and innovation to help them on their journey,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology architect and global cloud services lead for Accenture.

Accenture is an outsourcing, consulting, and technology services company with 246,000 employees worldwide. Accenture and Avanade together have trained and certified more app developers for the Windows Azure platform than all other Microsoft partners.

The two companies are skilled in producing mobile apps for Azure and in using SQL Server premises to sync with SQL Azure on the Azure platform. Microsoft, on the other hand, is the leading supplier of platform-as-a-service, with both Microsoft languages and tools offered with Azure, in addition to some non-Microsoft products like open source PHP.