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30% of organisations delayed moves to SAP S/4HANA in 2020

A "holistic" concierge service for you today, Sir?

SAP is back making acquisitions again after a hiatus under new leaders, agreeing to buy fellow German software company Signavio, an enterprise business process intelligence and process management firm, for a reported $1.2 billion. (The previously buyout-happy company has made just two acquisitions since CEO Bill McDermott left for ServiceNow, after having made five in 2018 alone under his leadership.)

SAP this week also began touting a new service line that it hopes will help chivvy gun-shy customers to the cloud, with "Rise with SAP" promoted as a way to "simplify your transformation journey in one bundle, without high upfront investments" and with one responsible party for SLA, operations and support. It claims customers using it will be able to reach up to a 20% reduction in TCO over five years for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition as compared to a traditional ERP deployment.

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(SAP killed off plans in 2020 to end support for its Business Suite 7 software suite by 2025 in the face of growing customer pressure. It is extending support until the end of 2027, with an optional extended maintenance offering running to 2030, and has confirmed a “maintenance commitment” for SAP S/4HANA until 2040. The company wants customers to move to its flagship ERP software, S/4HANA, which — unlikely its existing software — will run exclusively on SAP’s own database, HANA.)

Cutting through the waffle about helping you become an "intelligent enterprise" (and there's a lot of it), what SAP is offering is a bundled set of services, starting with discovery reports to assess key areas for business process improvement. (It is partnering with various service providers to support the migration, with SAP then handling management services, infrastructure, and support.)

Rise includes a set of tools to automatically assess the state of your custom code and further pinpoint migration readiness. It adds cloud IaaS (pick a hyperscaler, or use SAP data centres; go public or private cloud); consumption credits for SAP's business readiness platform (explainer) to build custom integrations and cloud extensions, and a "business network starter pack" that includes functionalities from SAP's logistics, asset intelligence, and supply chain toolkits for improved collaboration with fellow SAP customers in your enterprise network.

"Business process intelligence is built on SAP’s business model and process expertise gained from working with over 400,000 customers across 25 industries. Customers can continuously analyze how their business processes perform, benchmark them against industry standards and easily adapt them to new requirements and business demands," SAP said.

"Intelligence can be embedded in business processes thanks to a direct connection to SAP’s workflow, RPA and AI services" it added.

The new product was welcomed cautiously by users, with Paul Cooper, chairman, UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG) noting that many were delaying moving SAP S/4HANA migrations amid broader challenges. He said: “It has been an extremely challenging 12 months for most organisations, as they have juggled between maintaining ‘business as usual’ operations and accelerating their digital roadmaps.

"Our recent member survey revealed that 30% of organisations had delayed their plans to move to SAP S/4HANA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We therefore welcome ‘RISE with SAP’ as a package to help customers transform their business by moving to the cloud in a sustainable way that suits them. It will be interesting to see if ‘RISE with SAP’ also helps customers build a strong business case to move to SAP S/4HANA.

He added: "For those customers in the midst of business transformation or those worried about the 2027 maintenance deadline (for ECC6), ‘RISE with SAP’ may be an attractive choice as they evaluate their options.”

See also: Howard Boville used to be CTO at Bank of America. Now he’s running IBM Cloud and he’s ready to stand and fight