The cloud is no longer just a new idea that may happen in the future. It’s already here. And SAP Advisory Services can help put this technology to work so businesses can store and access personal data, consume the latest applications and services, and define their digital transformation journey.

When talking about the cloud, people often toss around terms like “software as a service” (SaaS) and “infrastructure as a service” (IaaS). However, very few understand the distinct differences between the two types.

SaaS is usable, off-the-shelf software – such as SAP SuccessFactors solutions or SAP Fieldglass solutions – made available in a public cloud. Meanwhile, IaaS stretches this cloud-based service by adding complementary IT services to operate a single cloud solution or a set of cloud solutions.

Another fundamental change in cloud technology is the opportunity to shift away from big release upgrades that typically happen every three years. Companies can now take advantage of a continuous deployment model to acquire new features and functionalities when and where needed. This approach may not impact daily operations, but it does allow organizations to rapidly apply and facilitate digital innovations.

Thanks to all these developments, native cloud-based applications can be designed and deployed considerably faster and at a lower cost than any internal IT department could accomplish. However, this also means that the pressure to innovate groundbreaking, sustainable innovations is relentless – and it’s not going away anytime soon.

To truly seize this moment to solve challenges quickly and stay ahead of the competition with less cost and risk, many SAP customers seek the expertise, tools, resources, and support of SAP Advisory Services. The portfolio features multiple services designed to support SAP customers and help safeguard their cloud deployments. They include digital discovery assessment, digital strategy planning, landscape strategy and architecture, organizational change management, quick-start implementations, and a straightforward process for adopting standardized solutions.

Define Long-Term Value First

Like any other IT project, the goal of a cloud migration and upgrade is to deliver more business value. Ideally, this “value” is defined and benchmarked long before a new solution is launched.

At the most basic level, SAP Advisory Services can help ensure that a migration or upgrade:

  • Reduces total cost of ownership
  • Prevents negative impacts on functionality and usage
  • Meets the needs of changing business and IT requirements
  • Replaces custom-developed codes, features, and interfaces with standard functionalities
  • Maintains the same level of performance and reliability experienced before the implementation, at a minimum
  • Sets a more agile foundation for future innovation and digital transformation

If these criteria sound familiar, you’re right.

For years, most organizations have relied on at least a couple of homegrown solutions to cover an administrative area, such as procurement, finance, controlling, human resources, digital marketing, sales, operations, and warehousing. But SAP Advisory Services can allow them to run various applications across single or multiple data centers or clouds by providing the support to help keep their system landscape current and operationally reliable.

Get the Advisory Support to Move Forward

The portfolio of cloud technology that’s available today has grown extensively over the last few years. In most cases, there is a cloud version of an on-premise solution. Just one look at the portfolio of cloud solutions from SAP is proof of that new reality.

With so many choices available and the constant pressure to evolve, it’s no longer feasible to explore and experiment with new technology, hoping an advantage reveals itself. With SAP Advisory Services, companies can gain the guidance to commit to a vision, a strategic plan, and an expert-led framework that helps bring simplicity and certainty to a cloud migration or upgrade.

For example, some of our customers rely on SAP Advisory Services to weigh which cloud technologies best match SaaS principles. During an expert-led design thinking workshop, they may learn that the standardized functionalities, features, and comprehensive processes delivered in a public cloud are a good fit for their business. Decision-makers can also discover the pros and cons of using a shared platform and data center managed by the software provider or implementation partner. More importantly, stakeholders are able to better understand the need to keep technology standardized to realize the full value of the cloud solution.

Other times, our customers may prefer the freedom to customize solutions as close to the on-premise version of the application as possible. In this scenario, they can still achieve the benefits of a cloud-native application, including continuous new features and functionalities. But as with their existing on-premise solutions, their IT organization must continue to maintain individualized, customized, or added functionalities.

Meanwhile, some companies have specific requirements – such as business process requirements or legal obligations – that might not allow the use of the shared platform structure of a public or private cloud. This may even include the use of a data center located in the same country. In this situation, organizations can consider a hybrid solution architecture that combines public and private clouds and on-premise solutions into one landscape.

Make the Right Decisions with Comprehensive Insight

Before our customers choose to move to a public or private cloud, remain on premise, or use a hybrid approach, SAP Advisory Services can lead them through a comprehensive investigation of each element of the initiative, including:

  • Technology: Ideate preconfigured innovations, IT model changes, and more intelligent technologies to exploit novel ways to transform.
  • SaaS or IaaS services: Rent or purchase cloud capabilities when needed, scale as needs change and the business grows, and gauge the cost of public cloud services.
  • Impact on business processes: Determine whether the business benefits from keeping application capabilities and content standardized or customized.
  • Aftereffects of implementation methodologies: Consider the opportunities and risks of near-instant consumption of predefined content.
  • Cloud landscape operations: Overcome the barriers of adoption and change by assessing legal constraints, demand for localization, interface complexity and variety, workforce readiness, and IT resource availability.
  • Migration planning: Evaluate whether a new implementation (greenfield) or a move that maintains many of the functions of the on-premise application (brownfield) is more advantageous and aligned with expected outcomes.

Throughout this process, our advisory experts can provide the knowledge and best practices necessary to help customers accelerate transformational innovation and optimize operations. The value of the cloud solution is measured in terms of potential gains and total cost of ownership, and changes to business and IT processes are detailed – long before the implementation project begins.

Shape the Future of Business Value with Cloud Innovation

Many companies are entertaining the benefits of transforming their solution landscape from historically homegrown, on-premise solutions into a cloud-based solution architecture. And the realized benefits are many, including continuous migration and upgrades, lower total cost of ownership, fast adoption of the latest technologies, and ongoing support.

According to Guido Schlief, senior vice president and head of Services in Middle and Eastern Europe at SAP, moving to the cloud is not unlike the migration projects of the past. Businesses still need expertise, tools, and resources to foster innovation, nurture new ideas, and build strong digital capabilities – all while reaping the value of their existing and new technology investments.

And for our customers, all that know-how is packaged and accessible through SAP Advisory Services. The portfolio can not only enable our customers and their implementation partners to understand the rules of engagement, but they can also identify innovations to help them stay competitive and continue to grow.

Find out how SAP Advisory Services can help you solve business challenges quickly with less cost and risk.

Matthias Uhrig is principal business consultant for Business Transformation Services at SAP.