The Cloud is a top priority for most organizations’ Digital Transformation strategies today. It’s a way for companies to leverage their full potential and unlock competitive advantages such as increased scalability, flexibility, collaboration, mobility, innovation – and more. For those enterprises that employ SAP and are considering migrating to the Cloud, they should consider implementing a three-step approach:
- Step 1 – Identify End Goals Before Migrating Your SAP to the Cloud – These are the results that you want to achieve from your Cloud migration.
- Step 2 – Operate Your SAP Platform from the Cloud with Added Value –You can derive more value from additional features and functionality that a Cloud platform can provide.
- Step 3 – Continue to Innovate and Modernize Your SAP Environment – Realize how you can further innovate your Cloud environment through data analytics.
Step 1: Identify Your End Goals Before Migrating Your SAP to the Cloud
There are fundamental questions companies ask after they move to the Cloud that they should have asked before making the move, such as “Shouldn’t operating SAP be cheaper in a private data center?” “Why are we not seeing the benefits that Cloud migration was supposed to provide?” “Why are our operations still siloed?” and “Isn’t running SAP in the Cloud similar to the way we ran it on-premises?” As our company’s CTO observed, “Many customers seem to fully understand and leverage the Cloud only after they’ve moved to it.” This approach wastes time, resources and opportunities.
Before moving to the Cloud, it’s best to identify your end goals – what you expect to achieve, and how you will derive the most value from modernizing your SAP platform. This step is critical because each company’s IT environment and business processes are unique to them. Knowing which services can provide the maximum benefits is essential so that you carefully plan your Cloud migration to reach your objectives.
Step 2: Operate Your SAP Platform from the Cloud with Added Value
In this second step, it is important to leverage advanced capabilities the Cloud provides to SAP functionality in the way of automation, availability, reliability, advanced networking, performance management, and flexibility. New features that were not accessible to you before migrating to the Cloud are now available.
However, new tools and processes will need to be defined and configured for monitoring, backups, security patches, and other operations, including new standard operating procedures (SOPs). Additionally, keep in mind that steady-state teams will need to be trained to run the new processes. If these are set up early, the operations teams can run services like SecOps, FinOps, and system installs even during the migration. Setting up these operational processes early can also act as quality assurance (QA). This can further ensure effective and efficient operations in a steady state.
A move to the Cloud requires a total change in mindset. Getting SAP to the Cloud is not enough. A comprehensive service catalog needs to be defined to enable tooling and automation. Operating SAP on the Cloud is very different from operating it on-premises. New processes are needed regarding infrastructure (IaaS), financial operations (FinOps), security operations (SecOps), and automation.
Step 3: Continue to Innovate and Modernize Your SAP Environment
After migrating to the Cloud and setting up the new operating models, how can you further innovate and modernize to generate the most value from your SAP environment? Most companies can benefit from rapid business insights with innovative analytics through the creation of a data fabric for the entire enterprise.
The data analytics system could utilize AWS, Azure, or GCP Cloud storage, Data Lakes, Machine Learning, and advanced analytics visualization. Additionally, there are prebuilt data models to plug into SAP to analyze, predict, and receive rapid business insights. For example, an email requesting a new build request can be integrated into Service Desk to create automated workflows and utilize tools such as Jenkins, which is flexible to create and deploy complex workflows, or Azure DevOps, which is faster to adapt. In many cases, organizations use both tools; in such cases, Azure Pipelines could be used to support integration with Jenkins. Additionally, Terraform could be used to create Cloud Infra Build, and Ansible to create SAP Infra and SAP App configuration.
Every enterprise needs to securely run SAP against both internal and external threats. Minimized downtime patching is another area of continual platform innovation to modernize security operations. Cloud tools for continuously acquiring, assessing, and acting on new information to identify and remediate vulnerabilities and minimize the window of opportunity for attackers help transform SAP operations. This helps to effortlessly detect any vulnerabilities in Cloud operations, SAP, and associated applications around the environment and systems in all security layers.
All the steps covered above can help enable automation, saving critical planned downtimes in an organization. The opportunities are endless; start with the end in mind and bring Cloud to SAP.