Are you just waiting for a thunderstorm? The challenge of migrating SAP to public cloud

August 19, 2020 Claranet Limited

In this short article James Linnane, Senior Cloud Specialist at Claranet, discusses the challenge of migrating SAP to public cloud. It’s not an easy task, he acknowledges, but get it right and you could achieve some very significant infrastructure costs savings and begin realising all the benefits of cloud native services. 

As I write this, it’s another hot and sticky day in the UK as we experience a rare heatwave. While I desperately try to prevent me and my 8-month-old husky puppy from overheating, I began to think of a hot topic we have recently been discussing with existing and new customers here at Claranet: the growing need for SAP migrations to the cloud.

I’m sure this has left many CIOs equally puffing out their cheeks and wondering when there will be any respite from the heat.

Cloud is no longer an aspiration but an expectation. Migrations that have been pushed down the list are now bubbling to the surface, with more pressure in the board rooms to make use of Cloud. Whereas initial reaction to COVID was to pause and reflect next steps, many organisations are now accelerating their future planning.

Understandably, there is always going to be a hesitation and questions to be answered when considering migrating critical applications into the cloud. But as the title asks, “Are you just waiting for a thunderstorm?”

To name a few of the many questions that spring to mind:  

  • Which existing SAP environment should be used for this project?  
  • Should we create parallel environments for the project phase?  
  • What about test, dev, and all non-production?   
  • Do we have the right skills internally? 
  • Is our current production server sufficient for our future business demands? 

The maturity levels we now associate with public cloud platforms will put you in a better position to answer these questions.

Your competitors may already be making hay while the sun is shining, utilising cloud native services to tap into their data and applications. Innovating and forming concrete strategies that drive top line growth around data analytics, machine learning, or AI.

It’s true that the extended maintenance and support options for SAP Business Suite to 2030 have given some breathing space and working with SAP direct remains a great option. If your organisation can make use of the "out of the box" SAAS delivery model, why wouldn't you?

However, a lot of organisations are finding the integrations and customisations they have in place can’t be refactored in SaaS. This is why one size rarely fits all.

The initial move to the cloud is a great opportunity to work with your partner to refactor and reduce technical debt, clean up your infrastructure, and optimise costs. A rapid migration of existing SAP applications to public cloud can lower infrastructure costs by as much as 30-50%, freeing up funding for reinvestment in business growth initiatives. That’s why it’s important to lean on your partner’s expertise to migrate and integrate with existing core business applications. Enabling SAP’s simplified business processes on a high-performance database really does bring out the best of its digital functionality.

Your partner should have expertise in the underlying infrastructure, and they need to use automation and tooling that is optimised on cloud to deliver the best performance and most reliable service. A data engineering practice is also key to help you gain more value from your SAP data. The same partner should at the very least be able to offer 24/7 management of the infrastructure, underlying database, and SAP application layer as a managed service, all backed up by industry-leading SLA’s.

Working with partners is critical to identifying a structured migration path and a seamless service operation once in the cloud. As organisations migrate their SAP workloads to cloud, they are seeking expert service across both cloud and SAP, and a managed service that both supports them in gaining the full benefits of the cloud when they get there but also helps identify opportunities for optimisation and driving better growth.

One of the expert partners we work with at Claranet is Mandant Solutions, an SAP Gold partner with 20+ years’ technology experience. I will be hosting two "Ask the expert; Migrating SAP to Cloud" panel talks in early September. On the panel will be Sean Liberty at Mandant, Mike Fowler, Principal data engineer at Claranet, and SAP experts from both Microsoft & AWS. It will be a great opportunity to ask any questions on this topic, including best practice and common pitfalls. 

Mike is an absolute expert in his field and often hosts talks with cloud user groups on areas such as data analytics and machine learning. If he doesn’t have the book on his shelf, it's probably not worth knowing. You can find a recent talk by Mike on, From warehouses to lakes: the value of streams

By now you may be wondering how the husky pup and I are getting on. I’m glad to say we haven't melted away into oblivion. He is currently chilling on his newly purchased cooling mat, watching me run around outside, clawing the washing off the line as the rain starts to come down.

British weather! I should have noticed those clouds sooner.

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