More and more enterprises are running several solutions in multiple cloud environments. As such, the ability to constantly implement intelligent capabilities quickly is becoming a matter of course.
Access to solutions from any device, the ability to scale quickly, and the reliable performance and constant availability of the services are the main reasons why companies are currently using public cloud solutions – to some extent, the most extreme form of cloud software because it is the most standardized. Two out of three companies already use cloud solutions, the majority (51 percent) in private cloud and just under one-third (31 percent) in public cloud. KPMG’s 2018 Cloud Monitor report also confirms that the cloud is becoming more popular every year. As such, the demand for multicloud architecture is also growing.
Multicloud Means More Complexity Initially
“If you have several cloud systems working together,” says Ramin Mirza, head of Cloud Business at SAP Deutschland, “you already have a multicloud setup.” It doesn’t matter whether they are used in combination with on-premise systems or not. “As it stands, very few companies are ready to move all their systems to the cloud.”
But using multiple cloud systems is becoming more common at enterprises. This creates new challenges: “The cloud represents simplification and standardization, but the more cloud systems that need to interact with each other, the more complex things can become,” explains Alexander Kläger, COO of Middle and Eastern Europe (MEE) at SAP and head of Cloud Business in the region since July 2018. This is because often solutions from several different providers are in use, and these solutions need to connect to each other. “What’s more, you have to make sure that the data reconciliation is reliable so that your data is processed securely.”
SAP’s Multicloud Environment: The Intelligent Suite
In an ideal world, a multicloud environment is already integrated and you already have interfaces with common cloud services.
“SAP has gone through some major changes over the last five to seven years,” explains Kläger. After acquiring market leaders such as SuccessFactors, Ariba, hybris, Concur, and Fieldglass, it embedded the solutions “in a seamless integrated portfolio from which our customers now benefit,” he says. SAP’s intelligent enterprise suite already features an integrated multicloud environment.
In addition, SAP has partnered with Google, Amazon, and Microsoft to make SAP solutions available on Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure. “Our development and product management teams work closely with each other to ensure the benefits of this integration are felt by our customers,” explains Mirza.
The advantages of SAP’s multicloud environment are already visible. The cloud business has significantly changed how the IT department and business divisions work together. A few years ago, the IT department was responsible for keeping the business running and for installing the latest releases — at increasing cost; it has since become more of a consultant for business divisions.
“The IT department is the enabler that gives the business divisions an understanding of functionalities and innovations, and helps them react to market changes more effectively,” says Mirza. The cloud was one of the drivers behind this change. Today, the IT department sets the scope for cloud use and only modifies solutions when absolutely necessary.
The following examples demonstrate how business divisions benefit:
- With machine learning, a computer can go through several hundred job applications and produce a shortlist of candidates. Recruiters are then able to concentrate on interviewing those candidates with a real chance of getting the position.
- A machine is also able to check incoming invoices – and does so faster and with fewer errors than a human. SAP Cash Application software uses machine learning models to help automatically match payments to invoices as reliably as possible.
- A high-resolution camera is able to check for tears in newly manufactured rolls of paper at a paper company, for example. By recognizing patterns, it can identify defects at an early stage before the product is shipped.
SAP Digital Boardroom: Real-Time Data from Multicloud
“The cloud enables us to continually build smart functions into solutions quickly,” explains Kläger.
No other solution is better proof of what the multicloud infrastructure is capable of today than SAP Digital Boardroom. Users can make informed business decisions by running ad-hoc analyses of sales, HR, and other business data, regardless of whether the data is stored in an SAP data source or not, or whether that data is structured or not.
“It’s a type of console that takes real-time data from the multicloud and presents it interactively,” says Kläger.