It moves HANA. It moves HANA not. It moves HANA …

By Roy Ferrari

 I read a lot of articles about “how to” and “how not to” move HANA to the cloud. I would love to share some of them but they all written by people with a vested interest. Typically, they are written by the cloud vendor themselves, and that’s totally vested … and usually tainted. 

 So if they’re not going to do it – at least not credibly, I will certainly give it a shot. By the way, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as it stands today, does not have its own cloud solution. Instead, we work with a variety of cloud partners. So, I feel I can be somewhat neutral in the discussion. And as someone with a good amount of experience with SAP HANA in the cloud, I also feel I can credibly add to the discussion.

 Also note that if you would like to discuss this topic further, you can take advantage of the upcoming SAP TechEd event to:

  • Meet me at HPE Booth 300
  • Attend my theater session, also at Booth 300: “Your Right Mix – HPE explores how Mission Critical Connections to your S/4 digital core influence your hybrid cloud deployment options.” It will be presented at the following days/times:  Tuesday, September 26 - 11:30-12:00;  Wednesday, September 27 - 14:30-15:00; Thursday, September 28 - 11:30-12:00

Get complete information on all HPE activities at the event on the HPE SAP TechEd site.F3_700x100_TE17LV_HPE_cityscape.jpg

 Not the Road to Mandalay, but the one to the cloud

I’ve always been a fan of quoting Rudyard Kipling’s “Six honest serving men” when trying to make a point, 

“I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew.

Their names are..”

 Let’s use the following “honest serving men” – What, Why, When, Where, How and Who - to talk about our move to the cloud.

What? If you ask ten experts what they mean by cloud, you will basically get a dozen different answers. That happens mainly because there are many different varieties of clouds, with each type being hyped by the company selling it. 

But what it comes down to is that it’s your data running on someone else’s computer. It can include:

  • Having a third party managing your system for you in their own Data Center
  • Running your system on a physical server that you share with many other companies (including your competitors) at that same third party
  • Paying for your application to just run somewhere else (SaaS) when the hardware and services don’t matter. You have SLA from the vendor and that’s their problem.

 In SAP terms, SAP has conveniently split out many of the components of ERP and sell them as SaaS offerings to compete with the newer solutions in the market such as Workday and Salesforce.  For SAP clients, your old HCM system is now SuccessFactors and your SRM solution has been replaced by Ariba.

 If you use these applications as they already sit outside of your datacenter in an SAP managed facility somewhere (in the cloud) … guess what? You are already well-started on your journey to the cloud.

 WHY?  The main reasons people give for moving to the cloud is cost and focus. Makes sense. Most companies want to focus on their business, not on managing IT. For this and a number of other reasons, including IT asset acquisition costs, it should also be less expensive to rely on IT in a data center run by an IT company that is already staffed by certified SAP professionals. You focus on your business. You save on both FTE’s and DC costs. Nice! 

But if you write a strong SLA and contract for an application you have to then give up the control.  If you change your process along the way, it could be more expensive for the vendor to change their process than it was for you, therefore you have to be prepared for additional costs for changes.  

The other reason to move to the cloud is for future growth and innovation. Benefits of the cloud include the ability to innovate and grow and you need to be able to do both of these.  SAP suggest you use SCP as the basis for innovation, keeping your S4 as vanilla, meaning you can upgrade S4 easily as innovations occur.  Bear this in mind when making your decision.

 When? With SAP, the deadline is 2025 for every client to be off R3 and running S4 on a hybrid clouds. Some may have on-premise as part of the solution, but that is also part of a hybrid solution. In general, the sooner you make the move, the better off it will be for you. Yes, it can be a lot of work, BUT SAP is building a system for the future. If you want to be a player in the future, at least begin the process by planning to get off SAP or move to Suite on HANA or adapt to the new process built for real time business. Start planning and even doing. It’s your choice when to start but remember: you don’t be tomorrow’s Blockbuster Video.  

BTW: I asked a client at a SAPPHIRE NOW presentation how long it took them to get to ROI from their HANA upgrade that they were presenting on. Their answer? Twelve months. I smiled because I had tried to sell them HANA for two years before they purchased it. If they had listened to me, they could have fully paid for it and more by the time they actually did make the decision. 

How? The best advice I can give here is KISS: Keep it Simple. But don’t just move what you have on premise today to the cloud. 

If you do decide to go for the BIG JUMP approach, you will go right to where you will be in 2025. You won’t need to run your business on this new system until you are ready, but it makes sense to get to where you need to get to as soon as possible. 

The SAP Eco system has a plethora of partners that can do this for you. Just make sure they understand you, your business and the brief. ALSO don’t forget to ensure you have capacity to both expand and innovate.  You don’t want to be locked in to 2017 in 2025. 

Where? This is the hardest question to answer because it depends on your location and your industry. For example, there are restrictions on taking data outside of certain countries. If this applies to you, you will need to make sure that your data will need to be physically placed somewhere where the jurisdiction on data management meets the criterion that you are judged by. Note that some cloud vendors may tell you it doesn’t matter, when actually it does matter when your clients’ data ends up in the hands of unscrupulous people and it’s your fault. It’s also important to note that the recent Equifax hack has raised the security stakes big time, reinforcing the fact that the more and better control you have over your data, the better. So as a rule, always know that you can go and kick the box where your data resides. 

Who? This one I will leave to you, as it is your main question.  However, I think it’s important to make sure that whatever solution you select runs on HPE hardware. But with nearly 50% of market share in HANA and the best technology, it’s likely that it would anyway. This will give you the ability to grow to massive scale and link together multiple cloud solutions.  That’s the advert from me, that’s my angle.   

I will add though that the fewer backs you have to pat once you make the move means you have fewer throats to choke if there is an issue.  Try to get as close to a single SLA as you can with one company that you can trust.  Multiple SLA’s will bite you, as they all point at each other as being the fault. At the same time, however, don’t put everything into one basket (or DC).

 Let’s talk at SAP TechEd

I hope you enjoyed meeting “Six honest serving men” and found their advice to be sound. Again, please stop by and meet with me at HPE Booth 300 at SAP TechEd if you’d like to pursue the discussion. 

 I would finally add that just because it’s fluffy and white, it doesn’t mean it’s a cloud.


medium_euferrarro1387.jpg Roy Ferrari has been working in the IT industry in the UK for 21 years, holding both UK and EMEA sales and sales management roles with mainly smaller companies such as Red Hat and Rogue Wave. In 2011 Roy joined SAP, initially working in the General Business team as a HANA before moving to HANA Enterprise Cloud team in 2014. He has a reputation for having excellent HANA knowledge. Roy claims to have “sold more varieties of HANA than anyone else in the world”, including HANA software, S4, HEC and HANA hardware … and the claim has yet to be challenged.  He has also sold the largest single node HANA system available (48TB). These skills and history brought him into the SAP Global team Alliance team.

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