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TOP 9 REASONS TO MIGRATE SAP SYSTEMS TO MICROSOFT AZURE

The debate continues – to keep an in-house technology stack for your business software solutions or to migrate those systems to the cloud?

An IDC survey estimated that between 2019 and 2021, 54% of SAP customers plan to adopt SAP S4/4HANA. Among them, 73% are choosing to run SAP S/4HANA in the cloud and others are considering hybrid deployment scenarios.

Indeed, cloud technology has come a long way in recent years, and migration has undeniable benefits – no need for expensive hardware upgrades, access from any remote device, rapid elasticity and service customization based upon the changing needs.

That’s why CIO’s are no longer asking “if cloud migration is necessary”. They are asking “when,” “how,” and “how much” resources to migrate.

For users of the popular SAP products, cloud migration is no longer an “if” question either.

SAP migration to Azure allows spinning up VM’s in minutes and SLA’s that provide for 99.9% VM availability for all of these SAP cloud products:

  1. SAP Business Suite – ERP, CRM, SCM, SRM and more.
  2. SAP HANA to deliver your BI.
  3. SAP S/4HANA – ERP solution for large enterprises.
  4. SAP BW/4HANA for all data warehouse needs.
  5. SAP Business One – the premier ERP business suite for small businesses.
  6. SAP Hybris – Premier enterprise-level CRM solution.

However, the most crucial reason for migration is the first-in-market partnership that SAP and Microsoft fully formalized in early 2019.

Enter SAP and Microsoft Azure Partnership

SAP and Microsoft have been working on joint cloud offerings since November 2017.  In a competitive cloud marketplace, it is interesting that such partnerships have not been negotiated by other major cloud providers.

Microsoft has been investing in SAP apps for a long time – to run many aspects of its own $89.5 billion global empire – human resources, finance, logistics, and supply chain, and more. In February of this year, it completed the move of the last of its SAP landscape to Azure. Estimates by its own SAP team are that the budget will be cut by 10-20% by this application transformation.

Microsoft can serve as a model to other enterprises that move their SAP systems to Azure. Staff can ditch the worry about keeping the in-house infrastructure running and spend more time innovating. And they can begin to utilize AI and Machine Learning to gather and analyze data and learn from that.

Fast forward to Fall 2019 when the two companies unveiled their “Embrace”  initiative— a long-term strategic partnership aimed at harmonizing and interweaving the scope of offered services for the companies’ customers. The acceleration of S/4HANA on Azure adoption is one of the key partnership premises.

The main goal of this partnership is to minimize the costs and complexities of running SAP on Azure and enable seamless integrations between SAP and Microsoft solutions. In addition, the companies promise to develop architecture references and guidelines for deploying  SAP instances on Azure.

9 Reasons Why Running SAP in the Cloud Beats On-Premises Setups

Running SAP apps (ERP, SCM, SRM, CRM, etc.) on on-premises hardware requires constant OPEX investment. Not to mention the need for support and regular maintenance that forces you to keep an IT team on-call.

Migrating your SAP systems to Azure can help you reduce the reliance on in-house solutions and attain several additional benefits:

1. Lower CAPEX. Migration to SAP in the cloud means ease of scaling through the use of their remote servers. Scaling down is just as easy. This type of agility can give a business a competitive edge and generate tangible TCO savings. According to Forrester, the surveyed enterprises managed to save $7.2 million in anticipated hardware costs by moving their SAP applications to Azure (instead of upgrading their data centers). Further, the study says that post-migration some managed to achieve a 20% YoY in operational cost savings.

2. Automated Backup and Disaster Recovery Systems: Azure Site Recovery that seamlessly integrates with SAP can protect all your critical workloads by replicating the disks. In addition, you can create  System Replication between the on-premise and cloud instances to protect your database. Depending on your needs, you can build multi- or single-region disaster recovery systems to maintain the desired RPO and RTO Values.

3. Faster Access to Updates and New SAP releases: As SAP has announced, its new in-house version of S/4HANA, will be supported through 2030. Those with all other earlier versions will not be supported after 2025. This means an inevitable need for considering SAP in the cloud. In this case, all the software is automatic, even security. You always have access to the latest innovations both from SAP and Azure. Plus, you can benefit from a set of market-approved journeys that would take you faster towards your ultimate business goals.

4. Improved Workflows and Data Sharing: SAP offers a robust suite of business applications, but its in-house systems have limitations for an increasingly mobile workforce. SAP in the cloud fosters effective collaboration without geographical restrictions and enables real-time file-sharing from anywhere on any device. What’s more, Microsoft IoT hub now effectively integrates with  SAP Leonardo, meaning that you can run more advanced IIoT deployments and collect real-time insights from several physical assets.

5. Integrated Offerings To Support Large Scale Deployments: Azure recently made available a number of extra-large instances to support massive SAP HANA deployments. In particular, they now have Azure Mv2 Virtual Machines (VMs) with up to 6 TB of memory for SAP HANA. In addition, customers can choose custom SKU configurations of up to 480 Intel CPU cores and up to 24 TB of memory.

6. Co-Engineered Products: Microsoft and SAP state that they will be co-engineering new services, will market them together, and co-support them. Today, open connectors are already available for Microsoft Face API and SAP machine learning.  CEO’s of both companies state that they are committed to deploying the technologies they offer – a collaboration that will give clients the ability to access the power of a cloud-based system, along with data and analytics that will be not just efficient but will move them to a level of competition that sets them apart.

7. Faster Time-to-Market for SAP Releases. The aforementioned Forrester study indicates that organizations running SAP on Azure can release new SAP instances much faster while reducing the duration of the testing phase and an overall number of error-related delays. All of this results in $3.3 million worth of benefits.

8. Azure is a Best-in-Class Cloud Services Provider. A Goldman Sachs survey of  100 IT executives at Global 2000 companies established that Azure is the most preferred choice for hosting cloud infrastructure due to its service reliability, a diverse array of integrations and innovative platform services. Most SAP products now run beautifully on Microsoft Azure.

9. Clear Customer Journey Maps: Microsoft, in moving its own SAP systems to Azure has done the groundwork so that any business of any size and with any complexity of SAP solutions can migrate with as few landmines as possible. In fact, SAP on Azure is now used by 90% of Fortune 500 companies – its scalability is huge, and it handles more than 5 trillion storage transactions every month. Furthermore, the two companies are offering extensive account support and additional consulting services to those wishing to migrate to the cloud.

Are There SAP on Azure Cons?

There are not so many “cons” as there are challenges to make the migration as seamless and as bug-free as possible. But the integrated collaboration between Azure and SAP, and the fact that Microsoft has been through the migration process too, means that most of these issues are getting resolved fast.

Still, if you plan to migrate SAP to Azure, these could be things to think about:

  • Start with the easier, “low-hanging fruit” first. It is working with these base layers that issues can be identified and worked out before the more serious layers are migrated.
  • Testing the early migrations is critical, of course.
  • Clearing out. With an on-premise server, businesses tend to keep a lot of stuff they are no longer using. Dumping that will make the migration cleaner and, in the long run, save costs.
  • Another potential area relates to backup. It’s easy to think that, once the full migration has occurred, the issue of backup is eliminated. You still need backup. Fortunately, Azure already functions in 50+ regions. Place your backup in another region. Should something go awry in your area, you are still covered.

If Microsoft has migrated its complex and huge SAP systems to Azure and done so successfully, it is obvious that businesses of any size will be able to do so. Further, the potential for a successful migration with as few issues as possible is greatly increased because of the joint support of both Azure and SAP.

Already, several “giants” are heralding the partnership between SAP and Azure. Coca-Cola, Columbia Sportswear, and Costco are just three that claim the partnership will enable them to perform all of their enterprise functions more rapidly, obtain the data and analytics they need, and, ultimately to serve their customers better. With endorsements such as these, it is obvious that SAP on Azure Cloud is a winner.

Conclusion

There are obvious benefits for businesses that make the choice to move to cloud computing – costs, much greater access, pay-as-you-go usage, the ability to scale up and down as appropriate, and security and backup, to name a few.

Beyond that, though, there are significant benefits for businesses that currently use SAP as their business solutions system. By itself, SAP is a great solution for ERP, SCM, SRM, and CRM, and has been for years. In a partnership with Microsoft Azure, however, cloud computing has reached a new level.

As these two giants can collaborate, they can ensure that SAP users can:

  • Get all of the support and guidance they need in their migration process;
  • Benefit from new products, services, and integrations that other standalone cloud providers cannot provide;
  • Have the expertise of app management that SAP offers on a platform that is designed to handle as much complexity as a business might have;
  • Have access to a powerful cloud-based system, as well as cognitive services, AI and IoT functionality that can support new business models.

Are You Ready to Migrate SAP to Azure?

If your business has an in-house SAP solution, moving to Azure is the next logical step to bring you the competitive edge you want. Successful migration, even though there is great support from the collaboration of SAP and Microsoft, can be a tricky process. Let Infopulse ensure that your migration is as flawless as possible. We migrate, test, fix, and re-test. Ultimately, you are “in” and ready to take advantage of everything that this partnership offers now and in the future.

The Case for SAP Cloud Migration

The age of digital transformation has arrived, offering new opportunities and challenges. Businesses now have to contend with a new generation of smart competitors and rising consumer expectations. To overcome new challenges, enterprises will find it necessary to become more agile, cut costs, deliver value-added products, and improve the experience of both internal and external customers.

Many businesses have already realized one way of preparing themselves for the future is through cloud migration. Large enterprises, in particular, are discovering the speed, agility, and compute power of the cloud, enabling them to get the most out of their SAP solutions. Over 50 percent of large enterprises now use infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers as the primary environment for at least one workload, while 41 percent of all workloads are expected to be run on the public cloud by 2020.

This paper makes the case for SAP cloud migration and outlines a migration strategy.

Why Migrate SAP to the Cloud?

Hardware

According to a McKinsey study, worldwide data storage doubles every two years. If you are like most enterprises today, you face an ever-growing body of complex data to store and analyze. As more data and analytics programs consume space in your datacenter, your company may need to purchase more servers. However, the process of purchasing, setting up, and maintaining new hardware is time-consuming and can be expensive. Once your environments are running on the cloud, you will have the flexibility to scale infrastructure up and down with the click of a mouse.

Commercial

By avoiding the need to purchase hardware upfront, your company can reduce CAPEX spend and shift more of the IT budget to OPEX costs. This will free up cash flow for the rest of the organization as well as reduce other IT infrastructure costs such as power supplies, climate control, insurance, and more. In addition, your company will avoid the risk of over provisioning or the opportunity cost of under provisioning. This is because in the cloud, you pay what you use.

Business Continuity

Companies hosting their own SAP environments, including all the data contained within, are vulnerable if no redundancy systems are put in place. If customer data is jeopardized or business-critical applications are interrupted, millions of dollars can be lost. Cloud service providers safeguard against this with replicated storage in separate geographic locations and failover mechanisms to keep systems up and running.

Simplicity

Migrating to the cloud can help to simplify your IT environment by consolidating disparate systems and unconnected databases. With all applications integrated and updated in real time on the cloud platform, managers will have a truly holistic view of business operations. With the machine learning capabilities available through hyperscale cloud providers, bottlenecks can be resolved before they become an issue and business opportunities can be acted upon.

Forming a Cloud Migration Strategy

Once the business need for cloud migration is recognized, it is key to let those business needs guide the project. There are three key components of every cloud migration strategy: plan, transition, and optimize.

1. Plan

A cloud migration plan consists of an honest assessment of the shortcomings of your current IT infrastructure and future goals. You will need to work with all key stakeholders to determine which SAP environments will benefit most from cloud migration, and consult IT personnel to decide how much cloud capacity your plan requires. Of course, this step also requires careful budgeting to see your plan through.

2. Transition

As you approach the time of your transition, you will have already completed a data cleanse. Start by migrating low risk, less complex workloads. As your team gains confidence, work your way up to migrate mission-critical environments. During the transition period, your team may benefit from workshops to get familiar with the cloud environment and all of the features available on the platform.

3. Optimize

Newly migrated systems need to undergo testing and backup before they are fully operational.  This includes testing of all business-critical processes and failover testing to avoid downtime. Optimization also means automating business processes, scaling use up and down with virtual machines, and using cloud features to unlock business insights previously hidden.

Businesses are moving their SAP applications to the cloud at an unprecedented rate to develop on-demand computing and storage capability as well as eliminate infrastructure maintenance and associated costs. Cloud integration is a necessary step today for businesses looking to future-proof their technology systems. But how do embark on this migration journey? Which cloud service provider will best suit your business needs? Read our latest Whitepaper to get answers to these questions before you plan your SAP migration strategy.