SAP cloud transformation: Hype or really a transformation

We are all aware of how infrastructure hosting management has evolved over the past 15 years — from customers setting up and managing their own SAP infrastructure, to outsourcing it to a data center provider, and now migrating and hosting on cloud.

When I talk to customers about transforming their SAP landscape to the cloud, I am often asked, “Is this move really a transformation or is this just hype? Isn’t it just moving from one infrastructure to another even bigger infrastructure?”
In this blog, I would like to share why migrating your SAP landscape to the cloud is truly transformative and delivers far more than just a migration to a new IT set-up.

Let’s take a detailed look at the widely used landscape and platform characteristics and compare what cloud and non-cloud platforms provide. Hopefully, this analysis will clearly show the transformative experience that cloud migration can deliver for your business.

Isn’t it just moving from one infrastructure
to another even bigger infrastructure?

Flexibility and agility

Non-cloud

Most non-cloud platforms are rigid, requiring a complex planning and execution process to implement upgrades or enhancements.

It’s possible to achieve flexibility similar to cloud, but it places a large burden on your IT team, which must constantly learn and update its skills to support the applications.

Cloud

Flexibility and agility are core features of the cloud. Upscaling, downscaling and temporary landscape provisioning is quick and easy. This provides an advantage in scenarios like SAP version upgrades, conversions and major releases.

Processes are simple and easily understood. Your service provider or IT team can manage it on their own, with no dependency on the cloud provider and no need for knowledge transfer or training.

Pricing and transparency

Non-cloud

Non-cloud is primarily a Capex model. There are a limited variety of commercial models available, and it’s usually difficult to calculate the cost per server/instance.

Fluctuating usage will cause cost reductions or increases. Component and service-based expenditure details will be unavailable in most cases, and complex to understand even if they are.

Cloud

Cloud is not just a move from Capex to Opex; it also provides commercial transparency. Many different cost models are available, and commercials are easy to understand in detail — even at the component and service level.

Usage-based pricing is readily available, which helps enterprises resize and utilize cloud’s inherent flexibility to achieve commercial benefits.

There are substantial discounts for long-term hosting commitments, as well as cost-effective pay-as-you-go models for short-term usage.

Additional services and features

Non-cloud

Non-cloud platforms only provide the basic features and applications. The ability to implement additional platform features and services provided by SAP’s partner network are limited or not possible at all.

Cloud

Cloud provides a variety of readily available IT applications and features such as IoT, Al/ML and industry solutions. With a certified partner network for applications and services, cloud providers can help enterprises identify and engage the best service providers to meet their requirements.

Collaboration and co-innovation

Non-cloud

There’s little to no collaboration with product vendors to provide innovation. In most cases, collaboration (if any) is limited to certifying the platform to host SAP instances.

Cloud

SAP works actively with major cloud providers on innovation, integration and developing new products and features. The hyperscalers are an integral part of the SAP product roadmap, and have aligned their own platforms to meet the application requirements

Moving between technical application management (TAM) providers

Non-cloud

Moving from one infrastructure service provider to another is typically complex and time-consuming, requiring considerable knowledge transfer. Most infrastructure provider setups aren’t globally known and understood from a technical and process perspective.

Cloud

The processes for hosting and managing SAP applications on cloud are well known in the technical community, making it easy to switch from one service provider to another.

Moving between cloud infrastructure platforms

Non-cloud

Making the change from a non-cloud setup to a cloud provider requires detailed planning, knowledge sharing and incumbent involvement.

Cloud

Comparatively, moving from one cloud platform to another is much easier.

AI/ML tools and automation

Non-cloud

There’s limited or no availability of these features on non-cloud platforms.

Cloud

Many such features and services are available to help transform your setup.

Security

Non-cloud

Typically, only the most important, globally required security norms are taken care of.

Cloud

Cloud platforms can address a wide range of global and/or region-specific security requirements. Special task forces are established to manage security aspects.

Platform compatibility and readiness

Non-cloud

Divestitures and acquisitions (D&A) come with their own set of requirements, including new applications or setting up a new landscape. This can be challenging and time-consuming for non-cloud platforms.

Cloud

With a variety of “plug and play” style features and services, an SAP setup on cloud is well-suited for D&A scenarios.

Multi-region availability

Non-cloud

Rarely available, which can create challenges for region-specific infrastructure requirements, such as disaster recovery or regional business unit setups.

Cloud

By its very nature, cloud’s distributed setup easily supports region-specific requirements. Services can be restored easily if one region goes down.

Skill availability

Non-cloud

Non-cloud platforms are highly specialized, so finding team members with the right knowledge and experience can be difficult. Also, almost no certification process is available.

Cloud

Generally, there’s an excellent availability of certified and experienced resources. Global cloud providers extend support with free training and vouchers to expand the talent pool.

Industry-specific solutions

Non-cloud

Limited availability of industry solutions that can be integrated with SAP.

Cloud

Cloud offers many industry solutions and features available which can be easily integrated with SAP.

Readiness for S/4HANA transformation

Non-cloud

Procuring the required hardware can be a long, complex process. A temporary landscape is usually expensive and requires detailed planning. Non-cloud also limits the ability to integrate new features and services for a complete digital transformation.

Cloud

Implementing the infrastructure for S/4HANA on cloud is fast, and there are multiple options available for a temporary landscape that supports all the new features and services.

Collaborative SaaS (like Ariba or Success Factors)

Non-cloud

Can be integrated with a non-cloud SAP setup, but may face compatibility and connectivity challenges.

Cloud

Easy to implement, because SaaS products and services are inherently cloud-based.

When you look at the situation this way, it becomes clear why more and more players are abandoning non-cloud platforms and moving to the cloud. SAP on cloud can indeed deliver a transformative experience to help your business achieve operational excellence, agility, scalability and security.

To learn how Atos can leverage the cloud to transform your SAP landscape, visit us here!

By Anand Chandwadkar, Global Business Development SAP on Cloud, SAP Practice

Posted on: October 4, 2021

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About Anand Chandwadkar
Global Business Development SAP on Cloud, SAP Practice
Anand is Global Business Development Director SAP on Cloud at Atos and member of the Atos Expert Community. With more that 20 years’ experience in the SAP domain, he has a solid background in SAP on Cloud business development, SAP technical solutions & architecture and delivery. In these roles he has covered everything from transformation (Cloud, SAP on HANA, S/4HANA, Data Center), to SAP implementation, SAP version upgrades, Unicode conversion, application maintenance and support. For the past several years he has been working intensively with all leading hyperscalers around SAP on Cloud transformations designed frameworks and strategy for customer Cloud + S/4HANA transformation.

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