Migrating SAP to the Cloud? Some Considerations

Cloud – it has to be one of the most prominent buzzwords in the tech industry for the past several years. In a nutshell, Cloud Computing is the use of remote servers hosted on the internet rather than the use of local servers/storage on site.

It all sounds very fancy on paper, especially when providers boast about all the benefits their customers can receive, be it cost reduction, scalability, performance, productivity…you name it, you can achieve it. But in practice, how easy is it to shift an application onto the Cloud? Not too bad? Ok, what about an SAP system? That sounds like a bigger headache, right? Well let’s take a look at the key considerations when wanting to migrate your SAP systems to the Cloud.

Business Requirements

The most important thing to know before you begin your migration journey is that the Cloud hosting provider you’re opting for can provide the resources you need. A full analysis of your businesses existing hardware, application servers, web servers, databases, storage etc. will ensure that you know exactly what your business requires to seamlessly migrate to the cloud.

This detailed analysis will also make choosing a provider easier in what is fast becoming a competitive marketplace, topped by AWS, Azure and most recently Google Cloud.

Licensing

Licensing can be expensive, but there’s no escaping it’s necessity. A review of your current licensing agreements could avoid some nasty surprises when the time comes to unplug those unsightly On-Premise racks. It is important to ensure that your current SAP licensing is transferrable to the Cloud provider you’re opting for, as some additional licensing may need purchasing. AWS have partnered with SAP to offer official ‘SAP HANA on AWS’ packages, including options to “bring your existing licenses”, allowing for an easier migration with the peace of mind that your current licensing and support will remain valid upon switchover.

Migration Strategy

Is your businesses SAP landscape simple enough to migrate in one go? Or would it be something that you would need to do gradually over a period of time? If it is the latter, it is important to prioritise your SAP applications to ensure those that will reap the benefits most are moved first.

It would be common sense to assume you move your largest applications first to start reaping larger cost savings and performance benefits sooner, but this might not be the best approach. One option could be moving your smaller, simpler apps first, especially if this is your organisation’s first effort at migrating any business critical applications to a Cloud solution. This will enable any of the common issues to become lessons learnt when the time comes to move your larger applications over.

100% Cloud or Hybrid Model?

Depending on the size of your business and how you’re justifying the migration, you might achieve the same results by reducing your current On-Premise footprint and couple it with a partial Cloud migration. This is known as a Hybrid model, where your SAP landscape is spread across cloud and local hosting solutions. Commonly, smaller businesses opt to keep certain elements on site, such as DR and Backups. With S/4 HANA, you can also keep your SAP On-Premise edition at HQ, and roll out a Cloud edition to your smaller satellite locations.

Futureproofing

This one requires looking ahead at BAU with the To-Be solution. How are you planning to upskill your staff to operate and support your new Cloud solution? How could this migration impact other business re-engineering projects planned in the future? The questions are endless, but taking the time to capture them before migration starts will allow you to plan a futureproof offering for your business.

Summary

Of course, there are more than just 5 points to consider before making such a monumental shift to the backbone of your organisation, but hopefully this will begin a thought trail to snowball. Before you know it, you’ll have your S/4 HANA Migration Strategy blueprinted and work will be underway!