IT has traditionally been a back-office function, providing technology for the business to pursue innovation. But as technology evolves, companies are finding new ways to get the technology they need, deployed more easily and in the manner that best suits them.
This is most apparent in the popularity of cloud software in the enterprise due to its easy adoption and ability to provide previously expensive technology resources as a service. Cloud software has mostly been applied in a one-off fashion for specific parts of the business — an expense application here, a customer relationship management system there — but now can extend into the very core of the enterprise.
SAP S/4HANA offers existing and brand-new SAP customers the opportunity to install a completely re-architected, reimagined ERP system in whatever deployment model they choose by leveraging SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud provides infrastructure, managed services, and data center operations as a service, allowing companies to take advantage of the in-memory computing power of SAP HANA — and the end-to-end functionality of SAP S/4HANA — without having to undergo a lengthy installation or commit to significant hardware maintenance and resources, as SAP will perform those activities as a service. Companies can be up and running with SAP S/4HANA faster than they thought possible and still have a deployment that is perfectly tailored to their organization.
Choice in Deployments
Major technology upgrades have traditionally been cumbersome. While new solutions bring new functionality that can offer opportunities to improve efficiency and employee productivity, an implementation project can be full of roadblocks. Whether it’s solution selection, steering committees, project deadlines, change requests, or configuration issues, these implementations have opportunities for error. But with enterprises needing to transform business processes quickly and also deliver a user experience as intuitive as consumer-grade applications, they must find another way.
With SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, companies can deploy SAP S/4HANA for their organization using whatever method they would like (see Figure 1). It’s not just about on-premise versus cloud — a company could seek to retain existing on-premise functionality and implement cloud only in the areas that make the most sense for the company’s business needs.
For example, a company’s corporate headquarters could be on premise while another regional office, subsidiary, or acquired start-up could be on a cloud deployment. In the past, running this type of two-tier deployment resulted in complicated integration, data replication across multiple systems, and a lack of clarity as to data reliability. But with SAP S/4HANA, all users in the cloud installment at the subsidiary would have the same data model and the same user experience as if they were running on premise. For IT, this means consistency at every level of the enterprise and the savings that go with it.
Your Systems, Your Way
Long-term SAP customers often have modified and customized their installations over the years to fit their specific business processes. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud allows an enterprise to keep those modifications while still running in the cloud. Cloud deployments are designed to be less expensive, but there’s a trade-off on customization, and enterprises can make only limited customizations and modifications. By using SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud to deploy SAP S/4HANA, companies maintain control and their unique customizations while accelerating the infrastructure deployment.
When considering cloud deployments for ERP systems, organizations must also consider their industry solutions. SAP has dozens of industry solutions to tailor ERP systems for the unique requirements of each industry, such as retail, oil and gas, and government, to name a few. But many of them are not yet available in the public cloud edition of SAP S/4HANA. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud provides a method for companies to run these solutions in a private cloud, giving the choice of the cloud to companies that may not have been able to consider the option before because of their essential industry solutions. They can keep those solutions and maintain consistency across their entire SAP S/4HANA deployment.
With SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, companies can deploy SAP S/4HANA however they would like: It’s not just about on-premise versus cloud.
An Option for Small and Large Companies Alike
When cloud software first started to reach the enterprise market, it was assumed that only small or midsize companies would be interested. But with the agile methods of development that allow companies to maintain hybrid operations, this is no longer the case. Large companies also want to take advantage of commoditizing their data center operations, using cloud software to allow their IT staff to focus on innovation rather than operations. SAP S/4HANA has a profound impact on business process efficiency (for example, taking the financial close process from batch-oriented to real time), but it can be difficult for IT to work with the line of business strategically when they are also managing infrastructure. We have seen much interest in SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud come from large, long-standing SAP customers looking for a way to accelerate their entry into the SAP HANA world.
Many SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud customers deploying SAP S/4HANA, however, are new to SAP software — in fact, one customer had no prior ERP installment of any kind, subsisting on spreadsheets and small business accounting software. This example shows that SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud can truly work for companies of all sizes.
But it’s not just about a company’s size at present — it’s also about looking ahead to the future. As the company grows, SAP S/4HANA running on the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud will grow with it. SAP takes care of running the systems and provides services to the company however they want, tailoring it to their specific situation all while getting expertise straight from the source.
Focusing on the Business
With shortened implementation times and tailored deployment models, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud offers a great option for companies looking to explore SAP S/4HANA. They can implement software quickly without being bogged down in project management tasks, freeing their IT teams to focus on value-added activities rather than their traditional time-consuming operational tasks. And all the while, these operational tasks are managed by SAP — and who knows SAP HANA better than SAP?
With adoption times significantly reduced, companies can achieve a quicker time to value and keep their focus where it needs to be: on the business. For more information on how SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud can meet your needs, visit sap.com/hec.