Organizations must pull off a tough balancing act to achieve harmony in the cloud. IT and line-of-business (LoB) leaders, often having different motivations, need to work hand in hand when executing technology decisions. On one side, IT departments strive for uniformity in systems centering on consistency for users. On the other side, LoB users want the best and easiest-to-use applications, which are also simple to upgrade, access, and modify.
With LoB leaders playing an increasingly key role in enterprise technology decision making — especially when it comes to cloud software — organizations need stronger partnerships between IT and the business. Cloud deployment options, including private cloud, public cloud, and now hybrid deployment methods, are plentiful. The need to tie the processes, people, devices, and data together is ubiquitous, and companies must ensure that the organization is not a jumble of systems that do not communicate with one another.
The hybrid model allows organizations not only to grow in the cloud where and when needed, but to do so without completely replacing their on-premise infrastructure. This approach offers the benefit of being able to use the software, hardware, and services of multiple providers, both those offering private clouds, which are run and managed in house, and those offering public clouds, which the service provider owns and operates.
The hybrid approach allows organizations to utilize a community of best-of-breed solutions suited to their financial and strategic goals and specifically tailored to their needs. With the flexibility and choice that the cloud provides, it is an increasingly attractive option for customers looking to extract the most value from their on-premise and cloud solutions. But doing so most efficiently can be difficult, so customers need expertise and guidance in boosting their operation. Enter SAP partners.
Get the Most Out of the Cloud — Go Hybrid
To leverage the true benefits of the cloud, a single, synergistic platform that promotes harmony is necessary. To do this, cloud software must have a few key attributes: simplicity, security, and scalability. The cloud software must allow users to share information with current software in the enterprise. If this critical need is not considered and expertly guided, complication and confusion will arise.
The expertise needed to make it all work together seamlessly in a cloud environment is no small feat. This is where SAP’s partner community shines. The role of partners is to advise on the exact mix of public and private cloud needed to meet business objectives.1
A partner advising a customer on the hybrid approach will unlock new value by helping the customer add cloud solutions into its core systems without compromising existing investments.
An HR partner, for example, may recommend a phased HR solution approach for customers, such as keeping payroll in house and moving talent management to the cloud. The perfect balance is to achieve business savings and organizational IT harmony. This can be accomplished by the partner that works closely with clients to understand business objectives, as well as challenges and opportunities to meet desired goals.
Some of these “need to knows” include where the applications (cloud or on premise) will be hosted, the customer’s appetite for maintaining and servicing in-house IT systems and applications, and even whether the customer wishes to leverage all or part of its existing investments. A partner advising a customer on the hybrid approach will unlock new value by helping the customer add cloud solutions into its core systems without compromising existing investments. The long-term goal is to make sure that internal stakeholders’ goals and objectives match the technology landscape, today and in the future.
Tomas Fertig, CEO of Seidor, one of SAP’s top cloud resellers, says, “Customers are analyzing their landscapes to integrate on-premise applications with cloud extensions to improve the time to value of IT solutions, as well as diminish their capital investments and shift the IT expenditures to external providers. In some cases, we are even seeing big organizations shift and completely replace their on-premise applications with cloud solutions. We help our customers in their decision process of where and how to go into the cloud, entirely or in a hybrid model. There is a trend to get solutions as a service in the cloud, and projects based on on-premise applications are diminishing. As an SAP partner, our business is changing; we are being asked to offer solutions in the cloud, which also means a change in how we do IT projects.”
SAP partners are helping customers achieve three chief drivers by using the cloud:
Partners are the trusted advisors that can recommend the perfect mix of public and private cloud environments to meet their customers’ unique business goals — in exactly the right way. Customers can then easily add cloud solutions into their core systems without compromising existing IT investments or having to “rip and replace” systems unnecessarily. As a result, businesses achieve flexibility by harnessing optimal cloud choices at reduced costs, all while controlling data and assimilating these cloud solutions into their existing environments without disruption. Let’s look more closely at the three chief drivers.
The hybrid model allows for choice in the consumption of cloud technologies when and where needed. Many organizations with an existing on-premise IT infrastructure choose to first go to the cloud by outsourcing or purchasing software they see as non-mission-critical, such as expense management or human resources functions. Depending on the status of a customer’s transition to the cloud, a partner might recommend that it move core applications and functions such as finance and manufacturing to the cloud over time.
The choice goes even beyond hybrid deployments. For some companies, a private cloud scenario or software running fully on premise provides comfort, as they see these options as more secure. For others, the public cloud is a better choice, as it allows for great cost containment and no requirement of additional infrastructure.
Security is the most important concern for many companies, and the cloud offers hybrid models to meet their needs. For example, mission-critical applications may need to be fully deployed on premise or in a private cloud to maintain full control over data. Companies need to consider their tolerance for risk, as well as the resources needed to host applications and manage the infrastructure.
A transparent solution that extends across several platforms can give the control desired, facilitating compliance with privacy and protection regulations. The real results are delivered when a solution clearly specifies which data is stored in which location, and is accessed securely from any desktop or mobile device.
Fast deployment and compatibility with existing systems and processes is one of the best things about deploying a hybrid cloud model. Companies can quickly add new capabilities and bring innovation to market faster, while continuing to leverage their existing systems and investments. A plan can be created to integrate the best solutions imaginable that also minimize disruption, while cutting costs simultaneously.
Cloud Is Here to Stay and Hybrid Provides Customers with Choice
Due to its flexibility and ease of adoption, the cloud will be popular for organizations over the course of many years. Some projections say that more than 75% of new enterprise IT spending will be cloud-based or hybrid by 2016 (see Figure 1).2 Partners that are successful will be true business advisors to their clients on this journey, helping them choose their path as they move to the cloud. The hybrid approach is the bridge to hosted private cloud, full cloud, or even managed cloud, balancing each to ensure that clients are getting exactly what they want as they embark on a cloud strategy.
A trusted guide can show customers where and when they want to go by recommending a solution that satisfies all their needs. The cloud can not only save organizations money, it can also help them innovate, introduce new technologies, gain insight, and even focus on better service delivery. Partners that help strike the right balance between on-premise solutions and private and public cloud solutions, by understanding and meeting their customers’ needs, are sure to be the winners.
Find out more about how SAP’s cloud portfolio can help achieve and unlock new customer value by visiting www.sapcloudapps.com, or by calling us in the US at +1-877-727-1127, ext. 11001, or internationally at +44 (0) 8450 742990.
1 To hear from a variety of SAP partners about how they are helping customers transition to cloud deployments, see the “Journey to the Cloud” Special Report in the January-March 2014 issue of SAPinsider. [back]
2 Saugatuck Technology, “2012 Cloud Business Solution Survey” (February 2012). [back]