Blackbaud, Microsoft Team Up In The Cloud

BALTIMORE – Blackbaud and Microsoft announced an expansion of their social good technology partnership that will allow the firms’ clients to access free services as well as purchase solutions across both platforms. The backbone of the deal is Blackbaud powering its social good-optimized cloud, Blackbaud SKY, with Microsoft’s cloud-computing service, Azure.

“This newly expanded partnership between Microsoft and Blackbaud will allow both companies to better meet the unique technology challenges nonprofits face,” said Justin Spelhaug, general manager of Microsoft Tech for Social Impact. “By combining Microsoft’s cloud platforms and expertise with Blackbaud’s leading industry solutions, we will create new opportunities for digital transformation to empower nonprofits to make an even bigger impact on the world.”

This morning’s announcement during bbcon, Blackbaud’s 17th annual conference, comes just days after Microsoft launched its Tech for Social Impact Group, dedicated to accelerating technology adoption and digital transformation with the nonprofit industry to deliver greater impact on the world’s most critical social issues. Spelhaug said there are more than 70,000 nonprofits using Office365.

The expanded partnership between Microsoft and Blackbaud will focus on three key areas, according to Kevin McDearis, executive vice president and chief products officer at Blackbaud:

  • Deeper integration between Microsoft and Blackbaud solutions, with Blackbaud’s cloud platform for social good, Blackbaud SKY, powered by Microsoft Azure;
  • A commitment to pursuing nonprofit cloud solutions that bring together the best of both companies’ innovation for a performance-enhanced experience for nonprofits — from funding, to mission operations, to program delivery; and
  • Joint sector leadership initiatives that make innovation, research and best practices more accessible to nonprofits.

McDearis explained that this is a consolidation of sorts. Blackbaud has had its product stack in multiple cloud locations, such as Amazon. This collaboration brings all of the solutions under one umbrella.

Blackbaud has been developing on the Microsoft stack for more than three decades, said McDearis and is one of Microsoft’s top Azure-based providers. “Blackbaud’s expanded Azure commitment will be one of the most significant partner bets on Microsoft’s hyper scale cloud,” said Spelhaug.

Details of the investment are not publicly available but the companies plan to share more about the partnership in coming months. Blackbaud also announced its plans to become a CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) partner for the Microsoft platform, simplifying the purchase, provisioning and management of Blackbaud and Microsoft cloud offerings.

The deal includes exploring how both companies’ cloud artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics innovations can be leveraged. “Every 1 percent improvement in fundraising effectiveness makes $2.8 billion available for frontline program work,” said McDearis.