IT Infrastructure and Analytics

Moving your SAP Apps to the Cloud: Cost Drivers and Implementation Options

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According to a recent SAP Insider Webcast, 40% of you have not even started to evaluate SAP HANA. The other 60% of you are in various states of evaluating, planning or implementing SAP HANA.  This article is for those of you who are seeking guidance on how to get started and what to look for when migrating.

Digital transformation

Checklist: What to consider when moving your SAP Apps to the Cloud

  1. Determine the type of infrastructure management service.  I’ve listed the most common models below:
    • Unmanaged cloud – you will do all the work
    • Managed OS – the cloud provider will manage the operating system
    • Managed DB -the cloud provider will manage the database
    • Managed SAP basis – the cloud provider will manage the SAP Basis activities
    • 100% Managed – the cloud provider will manage everything (most organizations chose this option, as its easier to deal with just one supplier)
  2. Consider the Cost Drivers. Each situation will be different depending on your journey to HANA.  Here are the typical cost drivers:
    • Complexity of the upgrade. If you are not on the application’s latest version you’ll need to factor this cost in.  Hint: consider using SAP’s software update manager, which will save you time and money.
    • Size of your database. Look for ways to archive what is no longer required. As a guide consider only migrating live, critical, business complete data.  Hint: review your company data retention policy.
    • Impact of downtime. The average business is down about 18 hours during an average migration.  This depends on the size of the application and other variables. Build this into your migration plan.
  3. Implementation Options.
    • Third-party cloud infrastructure. This means doing it yourself with your own IT management team.  This includes the cost of your people, licenses and training or upskilling the team.  Don’t forget to factor in the cost of computing power, storage and network costs.  Typically, this requires a long lead time.
    • Third-party cloud vendor + their managed service partners. You will have multiple providers to managed and trouble-shooting problems could involve multiple vendors and complex problem detection.
    • Fully-managed cloud infrastructure from a single vendor. The vendor should provide the infrastructure along with all IT management services you need to maintain mission critical apps, such as SAP. This option allows your system to be highly automated, fast to provision and one contact point. IBM is such a vendor.

Once a solution is agreed, here are the recommended next steps:

First, its critical and you establish an SLA (service level agreement).  Anything below 99.5% is unacceptable, and 99.9% is optimal – depending on the impact to your business.

Second, document your timeline.  Less time spent equals less time to value.  To accelerate your implementation, you can use standard configurations, get a fixed price, and establish short lead times for final delivery.

Finally, use a skilled resource pool of people who are expert at SAP’s S/4 HANA.  IBM’s best practice for SAP migration includes consolidation of physical infrastructure (to avoid SAP server ‘sprawl’), Virtualize pockets of environments, automate provisioning (ILM, HA/DR, management), and determining where you can establish shared resources.


Don’t be a laggard. Begin your transformation to the cloud today!

  • IBM is offering a complimentary one-hour SAP HANA infrastructure deployment workshop. Contact to request a workshop. Includes a whiteboard session, facilitated discussion and recommendations of deployment options and estimated project schedule.
  • Get my book, “SAP in the Cloud – an executive guide,” for more details and creating the best cloud solutions for your organization. It is available on the SAP Insider website at this LINK and at local booksellers.

Global SAP Solutions Executive

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