SAP customers are at a crossroads. They need to move their SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) to S/4HANA, have other SAP applications migrated to HANA database and get all of it hosted on public cloud by December 2027. This is because SAP will discontinue mainstream maintenance support for SAP ECC & other Business Suite products after 2027. While public cloud hosting is not mandatory, the value it brings in terms of scalability and flexibility is undeniable. While the time to achieve the target state is almost five years away, for most organizations, cloud adoption would be a good first step now to start the transition journey.
SAP on cloud is barely five years old, with a small percentage of customers migrated to public cloud and barely seen in several industries. While cloud as a concept has widespread buy-in, SAP being mission-critical makes customers cautious. Naturally, these customers have a seemingly-endless stream of questions.
We can answer all of the questions around the 25+ SAP products with 10+ versions of each, 10+ SAP certified platform combinations with at least five public cloud options. Unfortunately, there are no Short Answers (SA) in the SAP world. We can say “Yes” or “No” to almost every question, but the answers inevitably come with a caveat or a Long Answer (LA).
Recently I was with a customer and a representative from an analyst group. It was our first conversation with the customer on this topic. This is how the conversation went:
Customer: Can we host all our SAP applications on public cloud?
LA: …but there are a few restrictions on the application versions.
Customer: We have all the applications running on n or n-1 version except for one or two. So, are we okay?
LA: …but we need to check on the OS/DB and their versions if they are certified by SAP.
Customer: We are planning to go to XYZ Cloud. Are we good to go?
LA: …but we have to check whether the versions are up to date.
Customer: We are on the latest versions. Are we good to go now?
LA: …but we have to check if the applications are Unicode compatible for this particular combination.
Customer: All our applications are Unicode enabled. Are we good now?
LA: …but if you are using BWA, we need to work on a different approach because it can’t be hosted on public cloud as-is.
You get the picture.
The analyst in the meeting kept insisting on short answers. I really wished I could provide them. But in the 22 years I have worked on SAP, there is one thing I have become certain about: There are no short answers in the world of SAP, and ‘SAP on Cloud’ is no different.
SAP runs mission-critical workloads. Moving to cloud will have a vast number of check points and issues -- 80% of these will have solutions, 10% will need workarounds and 10% will have to be figured out. It is important that every aspect of the SAP landscape, along with the closely integrated applications, is checked before a short and confident “Yes!” can be announced!
It is now four years since Wipro did its first public cloud migration of SAP applications for a customer. We have figured out the answers to many more questions than those that crop up. This knowledge is used in our “Safe Passage to Cloud” framework that has a 50-point checklist. Most assessments are done using our proprietary tools and accelerators to meet customer objectives of faster, easier, precise and cheaper SAP migration and HANA conversions. It is the next best thing to a short answer!