For most SAP customers, moving to the cloud isn’t a question of “if,” but a question of “when” and “how.” With a variety of different models available, identifying and prioritizing the most appropriate benefits can be a challenging task.
To gain some clarity on the market SAPinsider recently spoke with Fausto Bernardini, Vice President and Engineer for Cloud Managed Services at IBM, about the benefits of moving to the cloud and advantages of a fully managed model.
Q: What are the pain points and benefits that SAP customers should be considering in planning their move to the cloud?
For most SAP customers, their experience has been with traditional hosting and they’re struggling with how to respond to increased demand. Traditional infrastructure does not provide the speed and flexibility you can gain from the cloud. Acquiring new systems, rolling out new projects, cloning, new system installs, and creating new systems for testing all take a long time. And of course, that’s one of the key tenets of cloud – you’re able to spin those systems up much more quickly without long-term commitments.
But the agility benefit that cloud provides doesn’t have to stop at the infrastructure level. For instance, we’ve built an SAP-specific extension to our cloud setup that allows SAP customers to not only gain those cloud benefits in areas like servers and storage, but also in areas such as spinning up new SAP landscapes, cloning, and performing system refreshes much faster than before.
Another benefit of moving to the cloud for SAP customers is process optimization. SAP is a fairly complex environment to keep running. There are complicated SLAs and specialized skills required. The benefit of working with a cloud provider is the experience that comes with volume. We are running many SAP customers in the cloud and can deliver the benefit of experience and volume, as well as our investments in automation, optimization, and upskilling. There are learned best practices that we apply so the customer doesn’t need to invest in.
Q: Which SAP customers can gain the most benefit from moving to the cloud?
Based on my experience, customers that need resilient infrastructure and the ability to scale up to large databases with many users will gain the most benefit from our Cloud Managed Services. With a fully managed cloud service, we build and manage the infrastructure. We can include OS management, patching, backup, security, compliance, and a variety of other things in the service. There are some things the customer still has to do, but the level of commitment from the customer is much lower. So those SAP customers looking for a lower commitment would make a good candidate for managed cloud.
It’s certainly across all industries. We have companies that ask us to host their entire SAP landscapes including production and support systems. We also see some very large companies that aren’t ready to put their gigantic and global production systems in the cloud, so they keep their production environments in-house, but run the rest of the ancillary support systems in the cloud.
Q: What are the benefits that an IT organization can use to gain support at the executive level for moving their systems to the cloud?
Typically, lower TCO is a strong selling point to the C-suite. There is a much higher level of agility and speed-to-market when moving to cloud but that can be more difficult to illustrate to a high-level team. Typically cloud provides access to higher performance technology than a company might have otherwise.
There are usually much more consistent service levels to the business as a result of using a fully managed cloud model. All of the tooling and automation is the same when it’s handled by a single provider.
For example, if you have some regions that are on a legacy SAP system and others that have upgraded, instead of embarking on a project to unify all of those systems, you can put it on a fully managed cloud environment and have those standards.