Operating SAP applications in the public cloud can bring significant cost savings and global availability, paving the way for innovation through agility. This article provides guidance and describes how migration from SAP landscape to the cloud can succeed. In addition to the opportunities, the challenges are discussed. Also, there is matter of choice of partner network, with the help of which migration and operation can be successfully realized. Many decision-makers foresee the benefits of migrating the SAP landscape to the public cloud due to better integration possibilities. According to them, SAP and Microsoft are the partners of choice even before the cloud giants AWS and Google.
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General Matters in the Path of Migrating SAP Landscape to the Public Cloud
The chances of a migration of the SAP landscape into the public cloud are seen by companies above all in the faster implementation of the digital transformation and innovation speed as well as global availability. Because of the lack of cloud skills, more than half of companies engage a managed cloud service provider to ensure a smooth migration of mission-critical workloads and the operation of SAP systems.
The use of public cloud platforms has risen rapidly in recent years and only 12 percent of companies do not even care about the public cloud. One-third of the organizations surveyed are still in the evaluation phase, while more than half of the companies are already actively using the public cloud. This also increases the willingness to shift more mission-critical workloads such as ERP to the cloud. Researches estimate that among public cloud workloads, the share of enterprise applications will increase to 17 percent in 2020. Against this background, SAP as a market leader of enterprise applications is of particular importance. Faster implementation of the digital transformation is one of the most important opportunities for SAP migration to the public cloud.
SAP has such a dominant position in enterprise applications that migrating existing ERP processes to the public cloud can have a huge impact on a company’s transformation speed. In order to successfully migrate the SAP landscape to the public cloud, companies should pay particular attention to three aspects – (1) Evaluation of risks (2) The right choice of cloud provider (3) Choice of service partner.
Evaluation of risks
Despite the many opportunities for migration, those responsible still face a number of challenges for which suitable solution concepts must be developed in the near future. Companies have to examine the costs they have to expect in the case of managed hosting/outsourcing in comparison to their own operations. Some of the companies do not have the necessary know-how in the public cloud sector and is also confronted with the high complexity of cloud platforms. In such cases, consulting a managed public cloud provider may be essential.
On the other hand, some companies still have knowledge gaps regarding the SAP license models in the public cloud or the security and compliance restrictions that apply to the SAP data. This should first be checked on their own or with the help of a consulting service in order to best support the cloud migration.
In addition, few companies currently assume that individual SAP workloads are not suitable for operation in the public cloud. With the help of a service provider, decision makers should evaluate which SAP use cases should be prioritized in which time sequence and record this in a roadmap. For many companies, the focus will initially be on the development and test systems, whereas less attention will initially be paid to back-up and archiving.
Companies should first analyze their own starting position and examine which of the above-mentioned challenges and risks actually apply to their own organization. In the rarest of cases, a cloud migration will not be worthwhile. Having carefully evaluated the needs and risks, it is important to identify the most appropriate cloud provider for own organization. If the analysis has shown that own company’s cloud skills are not sufficient and the company is overwhelmed with the complexity of the IaaS and PaaS offerings, then a managed cloud service provider should also be consulted.
Choice of cloud provider
Many people actually view the high complexity of the IaaS and PaaS platforms as a challenge. The large number of providers and the diversity of the IaaS and PaaS services do not make it easy for decision-makers to gain an overview. In addition to the content considerations of the different feature sets and use cases, the price-performance ratio and the different regional availabilities also play an important role.
While SAP-independent workloads often have AWS or Google ahead in the cloud business. SAP cloud platform is clearly the favored platform in the context of SAP operations. Of course, this is mainly due to the fact that it has been specially designed for SAP solutions and thus enables an almost seamless integration of on-premise systems in the cloud. In second place, with a significant lead over the remaining cloud providers, Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Companies need to know in advance what the requirements of their cloud providers should be. If the choice does not fall on SAP as the cloud provider, a strategic partnership with SAP is particularly important to ensure that the integration capabilities of SAP applications work smoothly. In addition, it is important for companies to provide a comprehensive SAP support service in order to bridge their lack of know-how and ensure resilience.
Choice of service partner
Choice of service partner is a critical aspect of the success of migrating SAP applications to the public cloud. Since many companies currently consider the migration of their SAP landscape to the public cloud as a major challenge, it is recommended to seek expert advice in the form of a managed service provider. Together with the cloud platform provider, this ensures a complete service for the company, which ensures the smooth operation of SAP workloads. In addition to the cloud skills, the long-term SAP experience plays an essential role in the choice of a service partner, so that the right combination of both competence areas ensures the best possible support.
The current real-life situation clearly shows that migrating SAP workloads to the public cloud is currently an omnipresent topic on most IT organizations’ IT agendas. More than a third of the executives expect more than half of all SAP workloads to migrate to the public cloud by 2020. This makes it all the more important for companies to familiarize themselves with the topic at an early stage and, if necessary, to prepare for migration together with consulting partners.