SAP, as a globally leading enterprise software vendor, has historically been a mainstay for many organizations’ growth. From marketing to operations and supply chain, many organizations have depended totally on SAP products to run and meet customer demands efficiently.
In the new normal, moving to digital and transforming conventional processes to reduce costs, to improve customer experience, and to strengthen the performance of their SAP deployments has become unavoidable. There has been an incessant pressure on SAP users to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives.
Consequently, SAP also plans to end support for the SAP business suite, and all its users are required to move to S/4HANA, which is its next-generation platform comprising integrated and intelligent ERP applications, in hybrid or public cloud models. For enterprises that are yet to deploy SAP, this is the perfect opportunity to skip the previous iterations and directly upgrade themselves to cloud-based ERP software and other applications.
One of the most significant challenges for enterprise IT decision-makers planning to undertake the cognitive enterprise journey is the lack of internal transferability skills required to migrate existing SAP applications to S/4 HANA.
Moving to S/4 HANA would need in-depth deliberations, analysis, and readiness for culture and mindset change. It was evident from a 2019 survey conducted by the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group, according to which 56% of SAP customers have plans to move to SAP S/4HANA. However, the majority of them were stuck when it came to execution, as pointed out by a Frost & Sullivan report (click here to read the report).
The custom SAP installations may need retooling, escalating budgets and timelines. The customers were deferring the transition because of their experience in previous SAP deployments undertaken years and even decades ago.
Based on the extensive deployment exercise they went through years ago, some function leaders may not be ready to endure any business disruption combined with a costly and time-consuming approach to make changes to their processes.
This could be a daunting exercise for many others as there might be concerns around security, availability, downtime, and other dangers. While these concerns are valid, there is very little reason for most businesses to wait to commence the cloud migration to S/4HANA, considering the 2027 deadline given by the SAP. They must start the preparation at the earliest to avoid any last-minute risks.
By collaborating with an experienced technology partner, enterprises should create a robust plan for the effective transition.
How IBM can help
IBM’s strengths lie in having sufficient tools, technologies, and expertise to ensure that existing SAP environment transitions to the cloud effortlessly. For enterprises that use VMWare vSphere, the predominant virtualization engine for SAP business applications, the change becomes even more seamless.
A focused and customized approach ensures that downtime risks, compliance, performance, and security concerns are mitigated. With the only cloud to offer production-level SAP-certified VMware environment, IBM is well positioned to provide insights to help enterprises maximize business and IT benefits by developing best practices and dedicated SAP ERP teams.
Further, IBM has demonstrated robust capabilities to orchestrate large, complex programs and to deliver a flawless transition by embedding AI, automation, and IoT across platforms. These aspects help businesses mitigate the end-to-end impact of transforming operations with SAP S/4 HANA while achieving the desired outcomes.
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