If your IT work brings you anywhere near the SAP ecosystem, you can probably hear a clock ticking. As you likely know, SAP will end its mainstream maintenance for core applications of SAP Business Suite 7 software and its related products at the end of 2027. By then, SAP hopes that its users will have migrated successfully to a cloud-based solution. The big question: how will your organization accomplish such a challenging migration in time?
Carla Arend, Senior Program Director and Lead Analyst for Cloud in Europe for IDC, told us that, so far, only 30 percent of organizations are currently operating core business applications such as SAP on a hybrid cloud, and just 14 percent have already migrated their applications onto a public cloud. She added that while IT leaders had long understood the benefits of the public cloud, they had been reluctant to migrate core applications there until the pandemic forced their hand and drove them to the cloud so their businesses could stay up and running.
I recently participated in a webinar with IDC to discuss the best steps to take on this urgent SAP modernization journey. As the person who runs the Google Cloud Business Unit for HCL globally across all functions and strategic workloads, including SAP, I’m always reminded of just how much of that work is yet to be done and how challenging it can be to zero in on the best approach for any organization.
Carla’s research reveals that, when it comes to SAP migration, there are three types of IT decision-makers:
- About one-third are “first movers” who already live with some elements of the S/4HANA suite or currently migrating
- “Pragmatists” are in the process of building the business case and have plans to migrate within the next year
- “Laggards” are postponing their move, seeing it as disruptive and perhaps competing directly with other priorities
Which one best describes your organization?
Finding the best approach
The three most common SAP migration and modernization strategies represent different philosophies:
- A greenfield implementation (aka “vanilla”), which SAP says is used by about 45 percent of its customers, means starting with a new environment that meets the needs of your new and future requirements while managing your current legacy environment separately.
- A bluefield implementation, used by about 10 percent of customers, involves moving only the data that is necessary. That means users must archive mountains of data before they make the transfer and weed out many of their customizations to make the new core as clean as possible. Once that process is completed, however, the actual migration becomes easier.
- A brownfield implementation or system conversion (about 45 percent of customers) means migrating the current state as is. It is a complex procedure that requires balancing prior customizations with the future desired state, not to mention the challenges inherent in migrating entire data stores without heavy pre-migration archiving.
Strategies for success
Choosing which path to take is made even more challenging by an equally weighty decision: do you want to modernize on-prem and then migrate, or would you rather modernize and migrate to public cloud in a single process?
At HCL, we can facilitate either a “lift and shift” or a “move and improve” strategy. We strive to:
- Understand what your priorities are
- Help you craft a business case that addresses your unique business goals and quantifies the savings that public cloud provides
- Design a modernization roadmap that addresses your cutover windows, financial reporting needs, and more
- Execute on the plan
After working with hundreds of global customers on their SAP migrations, we created our Migration Factory to deliver cloud solutions that are secure, flexible, reliable, and available and that can scale and adapt to meet your business and core systems requirements. It offers:
- Scripted automated tasks and optimizations to improve overall performance and availability
- A one-click migration platform backed up by a seasoned team of architects and delivery team right from planning, assessment, all the way to operations and support
- Ongoing financial operations (FinOps) models to ensure cost optimization and controls
- Pre-built solutions refined from our breadth of experience
- Full, transparent dashboards of operations and performance
We’ve seen some of our customers realize ROI in the first year from productivity gains and reduced operational costs. After two years, they’ve found substantial efficiencies and savings which they can reinvest back into business innovation. Remember: with the cloud, you only pay for what you need, and the additional Big Data analytics that becomes available can help drive new revenue streams, increase competitiveness, and optimize business processes.
As pandemic-related business disruptions continue and SAP’s 2027 deadline creeps closer, enterprises must start developing their SAP application modernization and cloud migration strategy now. It seems clear to me that moving the SAP application environment to the cloud by whatever method works best—sooner rather than later—is a crucial step on that modernization journey.
To hear the full roundtable and the insights offered from our experts at IDC, HCL, and Google Cloud, we invite you to watch the on-demand webinar now.