As a cloud analyst, I follow the latest cloud-native tech that’s transforming IT infrastructure everywhere. Today, core cloud infrastructure is more or less equivalent across the cloud service providers (CSPs). That’s why the big players now compete to see who can provide their customers with the widest array of tools with which to create their own cloud-enabled platforms. The CSPs offer multiple means to that end — whether through managed services to scale up modern applications or through services making demanding workloads such as AI/machine learning more easily consumable or by powering application development platforms in a native cloud environment. One of the major ways that public cloud platforms serve enterprises is as a platform for enterprise applications.

Innovation has been a key driver of public cloud adoption since its inception. Where it used to take months or even years to amass sufficient IT data center resources to support and build new applications and products, the leading CSPs can provide the equivalent infrastructure in hours. But speed of provisioning is just the start of the cloud story. Next came lift-and-shift, in which data-center virtual machines, applications, and data were migrated into the cloud. That same cloud-powered dynamism is now transforming the realm of enterprise apps — enterprise resource planning, customer resource management, and supply chain management, to name a few.

As big as they are, the hyperscalers can’t simply displace the leading enterprise platforms, if they even have such ambitions. Instead, the cloud providers see an opportunity to team up and expand their presence in key accounts via these major enterprise app portfolios. In my research I’ve looked at industry factors like why SAP chose to partner with leading cloud providers as a platform for SAP S/4HANA — and how the underlying cloud services can augment that platform. I’ve also considered the Salesforce decision to launch Hyperforce, a public cloud-hosted offering that propels Salesforce into wider geographic availability while tapping into CSP innovation.

By being a platform to host and help you differentiate with your major enterprise app platforms, the CSPs can engage at new levels. That combination can empower users by abstracting away complex upgrades, tapping cloud services, and allowing greater scope for innovation based on enterprise apps themselves.