Congratulations! Your organization recently made the decision to move forward with selecting SAP S/4HANA, and you will either be leaving an old ERP or a previous version of SAP ECC behind — a great strategic move but only the first in many more decisions to come on the SAP ERP journey that lies ahead.
The SAP solution portfolio includes numerous components that can be deployed in many ways. To begin moving forward, SAP customers will need to make the following key decisions:
- What components of the SAP Solution Portfolio will my organization need?
- Does the organization need additional applications outside of the SAP landscape to build a comprehensive solution?
- What is the best way to implement and deploy the SAP Technology solution?
Which components of SAP S/4HANA and what other solutions (SAP or third-party) does the organization need?
The SAP application portfolio covers many business processes and technologies, and SAP supports most business and industry specific practices. However, it is possible that the organization may have business requirements that may need a more targeted or industry specific solution. In other words, the organization will need to validate if SAP will satisfy all the “must have” requirements, including supporting strategic process, or if, for example, a point solution like a software solution focused on sales and use taxes, will be necessary to complement core SAP S/4HANA. While defining its solution needs, multiple solutions may need to be integrated to support the end-to-end business process. This overall solution design is a critical first step in defining the path forward.
The recommended method to determine what the future application landscape will look like is to first invest time in developing a comprehensive and detailed solution design of the future processes. This solution design approach will consider various parameters of the business process such as business rules, process triggers, data, integrations, etc. and will validate that the proposed solution will fully support the future state design. Through this approach, the organization will identify which SAP S/4HANA and other solution components will be required to support the design. This will also identify areas where the solution will be better supported by a more targeted point solution which can be integrated with SAP to provide a holistic end-to-end solution.
Once a thorough solution design exercise is completed and the organization has identified the SAP technologies and third-party solutions that will be necessary to support the business, the best deployment strategy can be determined. These solutions can be implemented in various forms using different underlying technologies. In addition, the deployment choice needs to also consider the licensing options available.
Unlike pure SaaS applications like Salesforce, SAP offers multiple options for solution deployment, including Rise with SAP (both public and private cloud editions) as well as on-prem. These options have pros and cons and must be carefully considered before making a choice.
Choosing the right mix of components for integration within the solution depends on various parameters:
- Rise with SAP versus on-prem solution :
- In a typical on-prem deployment, it is the responsibility to provide the infrastructure (hardware and software such as the operating system, network layer, etc.) to host the application. This often increases both the responsibilities and the cost required on top of the application license for ongoing maintenance of the system.
- Another difference to consider is the resources and skills necessary to maintain the on-prem environment. In a Rise with SAP or other SaaS solutions, the subscription price will include set-up and maintenance of the environment. If the organization chooses a different model, it will have to plan to support the application environment internally or through an external third party.
- An additional benefit of choosing Rise with SAP or other SaaS is the flexibility and agility to scale up or scale down as needed, and to solve for disaster recovery and business continuity needs much more efficiently and at a lesser cost than for “on-prem” deployments.
- Rise with SAP model
- Through Rise with SAP, the organization will receive a bundle of software and services centered on SAP S/4HANA. The SAP software will be hosted on one of the cloud market leader platforms (AWS, Azure or Google Cloud) based on customer preference and as defined in the SAP contract. The organization will be able to choose either a public cloud, with more standardized process and limited ability to customize, or a private cloud which will provide for greater flexibility for tailoring the SAP technology to the organization’s needs.
- Rise with SAP also provides additional components such as SAP Business Technology Platform, RPA and AI tools and access to the business network for process collaboration with third parties.
- Rise with SAP is an interesting proposition for organizations looking for an all-inclusive, hands-off solution that allows them to focus on the application functionality and business processes instead of infrastructure maintenance.
- Is Rise with SAP right for the organization?
- There are several questions that can help make this decision:
- First and foremost, will the organization’s application landscape be in the cloud or on-prem?
- How complex are the business processes, and can the organization adopt more standardized processes? This will help determine whether public or private cloud is a better fit.
- How will the organization transition from its current landscape and agreement to a Rise with SAP contract? Is there a current SAP license agreement, and what are the potential migration paths?
- Are the other components identified in the solution design? How do they fit within the Rise for SAP solution?
- There are several questions that can help make this decision:
- Other deployment options include:
- SAP S/4HANA on Cloud – In this model the organization will own the license and choose one of the hyperscalers to host the SAP software.
- SAP S/4Hana on-premise – Similar to the above, the organization will own the license and will have full responsibility for the set-up, installation and maintenance of all technical layers of the application landscape
Both of the above solutions will provide SAP customers with more flexibility to customize applications and exercise more control related to application upgrades to the SAP system.
Choosing SAP as an ERP solution is an important decision, but it is just the first of many that will need to be made during the SAP S/4HANA journey. A new SAP customer beginning to develop an overall solution design should consider the following to develop a comprehensive solution design and deployment strategy:
- Determine which components of the SAP S/4HANA solution and other SAP applications will be needed to support the business.
- Identify whether or not SAP or non-SAP solutions that may be required to support industry specific or complex business requirements.
- Confirm how the SAP S/4HANA and overall solution should be deployed and maintained throughout the digital transformation journey.