Nearly three years after the release of SAP S/4HANA, most SAP customers understand that the next-generation business suite is an important and key component in blazing a path forward to becoming a live, digital business. Less understood, however, is what such an evolution with SAP S/4HANA means from a technical perspective. For this reason, it can be easier for a business to envision the benefits of a digital transformation than it is to appreciate the necessary steps to get there.
For many SAP customers with complex, legacy on-premise systems who are still plotting their SAP HANA path, the evolution to becoming an agile, scalable, and real-time enterprise is similar in many ways to where we are today with fully autonomous cars. While lane departure warnings, blind-spot monitoring systems, and adaptive cruise control are regular features in many vehicles, we’re still a long way off from being able to watch a news program while “driving” to work in the morning. This is the lane that SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud fills as a private managed services enabler for key offerings such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP BW/4HANA, and SAP BusinessObjects solutions. It outsources a lot of the “driving” to SAP as the host of the cloud service offering and so that the organization can get familiarized with next-generation functionality and control the pace of innovation.
SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud accelerates the path to digital transformation by providing a cloud environment to run any SAP HANA workload without requiring the SAP HANA expertise that would otherwise be needed to set up an on-premise instance. Furthermore, it provides service level agreements (SLAs) that span both the infrastructure and application stack while giving customers the control, security, and comfort that are appealing components of an on-premise environment. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud allows an organization to be nimble, scale quickly, and accelerate their return on investment (ROI) on SAP solutions via functional application and technical services. This lets the IT department be more “hands-free” in the management of the SAP solution and focus on how to apply new SAP innovations with their business counterparts to create new revenue-generating offerings, identify new markets, and respond to unfamiliar competitors. As companies become more comfortable putting workloads in the cloud and relieving themselves of the traditional management and maintenance tasks associated with running an on-premise environment, the eventual shift to a public cloud will not seem as jarring as, say, riding in a fully autonomous car without ever having experienced any of the features beforehand.
SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud accelerates the path to digital transformation by providing a cloud environment to run any SAP HANA workload without requiring SAP HANA expertise.
A Digital Accelerant
In today’s business environment, where multinational conglomerates increasingly must move with the speed and agility of a startup, an enterprise doesn’t have the luxury of taking months or years to deliberate the many decisions that arise when charting a course to digitally transform the business. Moving to SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud provides the breathing room organizations need to ponder decisions at their own pace. These decisions include determining a hierarchy of business outcomes the organization is trying to achieve, as well as the related infrastructure decisions such as the scoping and planning involved with deciding which capabilities are priorities within the SAP S/4HANA framework. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud frees the company from having to make decisions that don’t contribute to the bottom line, such as how much to budget for infrastructure capital expense or how to acquire the necessary skills to implement a new SAP solution. In today’s fast-moving and data-driven economy, companies face increasing pressure to respond to customers in real time — among other digital imperatives — so unless running an on-premise data center is a core competency of the business, companies that continue to devote precious resources for that purpose are essentially handcuffing themselves in the race to be a digital innovator.
SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud also frees an organization to pursue business outcomes that put a spotlight on improved customer interactions, enable its next skills revolution, and utilize digital assets more effectively. This means creating a future-proof, SLA-driven environment that provides a path to keeping pace with SAP’s innovations. For instance, SAP S/4HANA was built to be cloud-ready, with its code-consistent architecture, meaning no new training efforts are required for users; a migration from on-premise to SAP’s private managed cloud (SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud) or public cloud will have a common user experience (UX).
Controlling the Pace of Innovation
An increasingly common use case and entry point for a move to SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud is to consume analytics in SAP BW/4HANA to meet the external pressure to come up with a big data strategy. In SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, organizations can spin up a production data warehousing environment in SAP BW/4HANA in a matter of weeks, with little of the business process re-engineering that would be required in architecting an SAP S/4HANA deployment. Here, too, customers are freed from having to possess the skills and expertise for running an SAP HANA environment; they are freed from hardware configuration and architecture decisions, and in a relatively short deployment cycle, they can use a best-in-class analytics platform to address key business issues. Not needing dedicated SAP HANA skills and expertise means not only a quick deployment, but also that the company can better capture the pace of innovation.
A Digital Partner
Today, companies face enormous pressure to digitize the business and deliver on evolving customer expectations for immediacy and customization in the procurement of goods and services. But moving off a highly customized, legacy, on-premise infrastructure can be a complex process that can slow down an organization’s path to becoming an agile, live business. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud provides organizations with a jumping-off point to experience SAP solutions at their own pace, and mitigates many of the implementation and infrastructure challenges companies have with getting started on a digital path (see Figure 1).
With SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, companies can accelerate the roadmap to innovation through digitization while still maintaining the appealing components of their on-premise environment. The digital revolution is as much a cultural change as it is an infrastructure change, and neither happens overnight. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud ensures that companies can adapt to these significant changes at their own pace while business and IT goals align in service of the digital imperative. For more information, visit www.sap.com/hec.