Believe it or not, it’s already been more than half a year since SAP introduced RISE with SAP, our business-transformation-as-a-service offering designed to simplify the intelligent enterprise journey for our customers — on their terms and on their timeline.

In the months since SAP CEO Christian Klein made the initial announcement in January, we’ve witnessed several important trends take shape, more than a few lessons, and a sign of what’s to come in the remaining half of this year.

A Solution Built for Customers

The development of RISE with SAP was sparked by continuous conversation and engagement with our existing SAP ERP Central Component customers. Specifically, we posed the question: How can we make the transition to SAP S/4HANA Cloud that much simpler and more seamless? They were clear that a next-generation business management solution had to have three foundational elements from the jump:

  • Full and robust functionality, even if implemented remotely in the cloud
  • Cloud qualities at a steady subscription price, rather than a large annual maintenance bill
  • Ability to bring over customizations and configurations without having to start from scratch

We focused on these key tenets when developing RISE with SAP, and we’ve seen customers embrace the package in its early going. A few highlights so far include:

  • Electric Last Mile Solutions: The startup is dedicated to improving the “last mile” of productivity for businesses, even building a fleet of vans and a network of suppliers to that end. The company has quickly gone from zero revenue to an initial public offering. RISE with SAP is built to grow alongside Electic Last Mile Solutions.
  • Ecobat: The leader in battery recycling and lead production is laser-focused on embracing the circular economy. As part of this effort, the company focused on the recovery and repurposing of more than 99t of the metal in battery company products. RISE with SAP presented an opportunity for Ecobat to develop an SAP S/4HANA road map customized for its unique needs and poised to facilitate future innovation using solutions like SAP Analytics Cloud.
  • Hillrom: The global medical devices manufacturer played a pivotal role in supporting the healthcare community’s fight against COVID-19 and embraced SAP S/4HANA Cloud to enable rapid innovation. RISE with SAP was important because it allowed CIO Sven Krause to focus his attention on the application layer while SAP managed the operating system and database layer.

What do these important cases have in common? Business leaders from each organization see the scalability and flexibility of RISE with SAP as a sign that SAP is listening to customer feedback shared over the last few years — and leading with empathy.

Lessons from the Launch

The debut of RISE with SAP, like many of our solutions, revolved around four main goals.

  • Help customers drive more revenue.
  • Help customers achieve greater productivity.
  • Help customers build assets with longer, more scalable use.
  • Provide stronger support for customer strategy through SAP solutions and support services.

In pursuing these goals throughout 2021, we’ve learned a few key lessons so far.

Demand is there.
Our pipeline increased from 1X to 4X in a matter of months after the launch of RISE with SAP; what we’re offering is something customers want and need.

Expectations must be clear.
Change management is still a significant challenge and primary concern for many of our customers. Alongside our partners, we have to help them understand what to expect when orchestrating an organization-wide technology — and mindset — shift.

Why is greater than how.
Technology implementations are not just about making things easy for customers. To help ensure a true shoulder-to-shoulder experience for customers from beginning to end, we have to make the why of digital transformation clear well before we get to the how.

And last, but certainly not least, partner education is key.
Some partners were all in on RISE with SAP right away. For others, we had to double down on our communication and collaboration to ensure we were all finding the best way to help customers everywhere. Our partners large and small are rallying around RISE with SAP.

For instance, midmarket partner Answerthink told us: “As a bundled offering, RISE with SAP affords the opportunity to demonstrate to customers that SAP offers more than just a world-class ERP solution, but a business network for global extensibility. The simple offering shows that SAP can help provide connections and achieve business goals.”

Additionally, partner NIMBL told us that RISE with SAP “combines business advisory services, world-class SAP software and platforms with the best hyperscaler infrastructures. This has allowed us to immediately change the conversation, focusing entirely on how and where our customers’ businesses could evolve. We see RISE with SAP as a game-changing opportunity for the entire ecosystem.”

What’s Next for RISE with SAP in 2021

The future of SAP and its customers is not just about implementing SAP S/4HANA; it’s about continuous innovation and improvement, as our customers find new and exciting ways to stand out and differentiate their business. Expect our recent Signavio acquisition and business process improvement advancements to play significant roles in the coming months as a key tool identifying continuous improvement opportunities.

In a second phase of RISE with SAP, we focus functionality to transform, to create new industry-specific business outcomes. SAP’s industry cloud is the open innovation space for SAP, our partners, and customers to create and adopt industry best and next practices, supported by cloud applications that use the intelligent technologies of SAP Business Technology Platform.

RISE with SAP for your industry comes with flexible offerings to address specific business needs: cloud applications supporting best practices, business process intelligence to analyze and optimize your business processes, and services to design and execute your transformation program. Packages are already available for five initial industries: automotive, retail, consumer products, industrial machinery and equipment, and utilities.

All in all, RISE with SAP — and the adoption we’re seeing from our customers — represents an important milestone in our company’s history and a sign that more exciting developments are yet to come.

Jason Schaps is head of Cloud for RISE at SAP, North America.
Mary Sibley is North America vice president for the SAP S/4HANA Center of Excellence.