IT leaders’ expectations, benefits and challenges when moving SAP to the cloud

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Moving SAP to cloud IT leadersThe following is an interview with Lynda Stadtmueller, vice president of cloud services at research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Thoughts on Cloud (ToC): Frost & Sullivan recently surveyed more than 260 senior IT key decision makers and influencers who have evaluated the use of managed cloud services for SAP or Oracle workloads. What were the most interesting outcomes?

Lynda Stadtmueller (LS): The most interesting topics were the value that leaders place on human expertise in managed cloud services and the high percentage of SAP users who have already adopted HANA. We also gained some insight into how leaders view costs and the widespread adoption of managed cloud services.

ToC: What surprised you the most?

LS: The most surprising insight was the value that managed cloud services users place on expertise and advice from their providers.

Sophisticated analytics have essentially led to “hands-off” managed services, but 82 percent of managed cloud services users consider the advice they receive from technology partners as either very important or extremely important. This expertise is something machines can’t give, such as how to develop business cases, build strategies and optimize legacy workloads.

Automated platforms can introduce tremendous value for complex workloads. But once the environment runs like clockwork, there remains the question of whether you’re doing the right thing. Are you effectively planning for the future? What are the trends and the challenges going on in your industry and the technology industry?

That’s the vision a good provider can offer as a thought leader.

ToC: Were there any other insights from the study that you did not expect?

LS: I was surprised by how many SAP users who have adopted HANA are using managed cloud services to help them run their new SAP environments.

SAP developed a wonderful, cloud-based HANA platform and businesses want to use it, but leaders recognize that they might not have the in-house skills to optimize these HANA workloads. To gain more value on their investment, they’re turning to skilled managed specialists help them manage their SAP HANA environments.

ToC: You also asked leaders about potential concerns and challenges around managed cloud services. Was there anything about their responses that you did not anticipate?

LS: Cost has always been a major consideration when deciding whether to move to managed services, but our results showed that the majority of users considered predictability of costs as more beneficial than reduced costs. In fact, predictable costs ranked fourth in overall benefits of managed services at 68 percent, while 54 percent of users cited reduced capital expenditures as a major benefit.

It’s a matter of knowing of knowing what you’re spending, where it’s going and how much value it’s generating for the business. This helps ensure that you’re investing in the right places and can tightly manage costs. To that end, predictably managing costs and resources for SAP and Oracle workloads was among the top five benefits reported by managed cloud services users.

ToC: The study also found that only 3 percent of the leaders surveyed believe that they will never migrate to managed cloud services. Did you expect that number to be so low?

LS: It didn’t surprise me. These workloads are critical, but can also be very complex. 86 percent of leaders are either already using managed cloud services or plan to adopt it in the next 18 months. They understand the value of working with specialists who manage these workloads every day for a wide variety of businesses.

ToC: Are there any other insights from the study that you want to share?

LS: There are several. I recommend reading the whitepaper in which we share the expectations, concerns, benefits and, more importantly, lessons learned when moving to managed services.

Read the Frost & Sullivan whitepaper to learn more about the six concerns of IT decision makers when moving SAP workloads to a cloud environment and the benefits that managed cloud services can provide. 

IBM Cloud Managed Services Global Portfolio Manager

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