Where are you in your SAP ERP managed cloud journey?

By IBM Services

What is SAP ERP?

SAP defines ERP by considering “…all the core processes needed to run a company: finance, HR, manufacturing, supply chain, services, procurement, and others. At its most basic level, ERP integrates these processes into a single system.”

Migrating SAP ERP applications

Migrating SAP ERP applications to the cloud is top of mind for many IT leaders. A recent Frost & Sullivan report cites that 26% of US-based enterprises have deployed SAP’s cloud-based S/4HANA system for at least some of their SAP workloads, and another 44% plan to do the same.

However, it’s not just a matter of moving to the cloud. The challenges range from finding skilled professionals to manage SAP applications, to identifying which apps to migrate, to security considerations. A well-qualified managed services provider can reduce the burden on IT resources and streamline deployment.

Here are three questions that you need to ask to a cloud service providers about managing your SAP ERP environment:

  1. How can you ensure my SAP applications stay up and running?
  2. What innovative technologies can be integrated to add value?
  3. What’s the path to a successful cloud SAP deployment?

Learn more: What to look for when choosing your cloud provider  

Managing the move to SAP ERP in the cloud

“Many companies use SAP to run their mission-critical business processes and intend to move them to cloud. But a few are still delaying — not because they don’t want to make the move, but because concerns around information protection, resiliency and regulatory compliance are holding them back,” writes IBM director of enterprise applications solutions Madhuri Chawla

She points out that among more than 270 U.S. businesses surveyed by Frost & Sullivan, 68 percent said they faced “insurmountable challenges in migrating their workloads or data” when moving from the enterprise data center to a cloud environment. Chawla adds that “58 percent of companies said they have inadequate cloud expertise in their organizations.”

Frost & Sullivan and IBM compiled a list of six concerns and lessons learned from users to highlight key considerations about ERP cloud deployment and how managed cloud services can help:

Security: Seventy-eight percent of businesses found security to be a top issue when considering deploying ERP in the cloud. Taking a managed cloud services approach can reverse this concern. When asked about the most valuable benefits of managed cloud services, 76 percent of users cited increased security for SAP and Oracle workloads.

ROI: The IT department may be sold on cloud, management may not. Presenting a strong business case can move projects forward. The IBM and Frost & Sullivan report found 70 percent of users cited faster delivery of services, 68 percent noted the ability to provide better customer service, and 66 percent pointed to optimized ERP workloads through managed cloud services.

Calculate potential savings for your SAP apps

Migration: The thought of transitioning vast workloads of business-critical applications and data from the data center to the cloud can be overwhelming. Managed cloud services can help by delivering a clear strategy and the experience to execute it. In addition, migration-tested automation tools and practices can accelerate the process while mitigating risk.

Line of business: According to the report, 69 percent of IT leaders said line of business (LoB) staff are concerned about allowing IT sole determination over how applications are deployed. At the same time, LoB control has resulted in unauthorized cloud applications or “shadow IT.”  Managed cloud services can bridge this trust gap by improving responsiveness to LoB. According to the report, of current managed cloud services users in the U.S, “70 percent state that managed cloud services have given them the ability to deliver services and applications to line of business users faster.”

Compliance: For some organizations, particularly those in Germany, France and Russia, data sovereignty restrictions are an issue. Data created in those jurisdictions must physically remain there. Managed cloud services can actually aid compliance. Seventy-six percent say it improves their compliance reporting for SAP and Oracle workloads.

The right partner: Finding the right service provider is critical. Users in the study found the most sought-after attributes to be:

  • Integration of ERP workloads with in-house applications
  • Demonstration of a secure cloud platform
  • Provision of security service level agreements
  • Customization of cloud service parameters
  • Existing and beneficial relationship with ERP vendors

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Are you looking for a cloud managed service provider that delivers the security, choice, management and global presence you need for your critical enterprise applications? Visit our IBM Services for Enterprise Applications site.

You also might find useful the following links: Managed Services for SAP ApplicationsOracle Application Management and Digital Workspace Services.



1. Global USD 47+ Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Markets to 2023, AP Press Release, January 25, 2019



2. SAP Service Providers, IT Central Station