SAP and the Cloud – Not Only, but Also
“…and that is why it is impossible to operate SAP systems in the cloud.” Says the expert. His audience nods in approval. And in the next meeting two hours later, the next expert says, “Sooner or later, SAP systems will be operated only in the cloud…” His audience also nods in approval.
Our world is complicated, which means its business life is as well. Depending on our positions and circumstances, we have different beliefs and different options. That applies to SAP as well, of course. There is no dispute that SAP is critical to the survival of many companies. If SAP systems fail, important processes are disabled, and the entire company suffers as well. That holds every bit as true in the automotive sector as in logistics, the health sector, and banks.
SAP’s Historical Burdens
SAP is a classic. That means people who operate SAP today carry historical burdens with them – “interesting” interfaces, sweat-inducing update cycles, user interfaces that take some getting used to, investments, hardware that was designed for eternity but has been surpassed in reality and is now working at its limits. And all the while, its performance kindles the image of an overtaxed donkey in the Mediterranean.
A smoothly running SAP system requires diverse tasks in the background. It performs its job reliably, but can it also measure up to the dynamics companies need today? One typical requirement are real-time analyses. Is the data – rather, or even better, a meaningful analysis of it – quickly available so companies can make the right business decisions? Or are there systems for tests, trials, and trainings that can be available at short notice?
In the established SAP world, companies achieve these dynamics by using a fine-tuned hardware inventory, hardware distribution processes, or by having departments wait a while for new hardware (invest!). Low operating costs, high efficiency, quick provision, scalability, high availability – it is possible to have all of this in the classic SAP world. But not all of it at once.
The Cloud as a Supplement
Luckily, there is the cloud – not as a replacement for classic SAP systems on legacy hardware but rather as a supplement. With S/4HANA, SAP is creating the prerequisites for being able to use the advantages of the cloud. A completely new cloud SAP. However, this complete renewal is a break in several regards (without mentioning the overused term “paradigm shift” here). Applications and platforms are changing, but this makes it possible to use new infrastructures for increased agility.
SAP Landscapes – As Diverse as Business Life
SAP service providers must be able to use this new plethora of operating models. They need to be capable of structuring and operating SAP in multisourcing or in hybrid constellations. That is because every system operates under different conditions: There are long-term systems that must be available continuously and operate smoothly; development, test, training, and trial systems that have only temporary runtimes; and analysis systems that are operated either permanently or selectively as needed. The requirements placed on SAP systems are as dynamic as business life itself. Whether private or public, the cloud is a new and important component in this dynamic world, one whose presence will increase. Provided it can deliver the proper added value – for example, if modern HANA systems can be provisioned in a matter of minutes and be deleted again after having been used.
At the SAPPHIRE in Orlando (June 5th to 7th) and at the 16th SAP AUTOMOTIVE FORUM in Wiesbaden (July 4th and 5th), you can see it live and discuss how the transformation to a new (hybrid?) SAP world can succeed with us. We look forward to seeing you!