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Expert’s Guide: Smart Steps Toward SAP Modernization in the Cloud

Director, Solutions Architecture
Monday, January 10, 2022 in Cloud, Enterprise, SAP

The unprecedented needs over the past two years – including supply chain challenges, remote work and distance learning – ushered in an unparalleled era of rapid digital transformation and cloud adoption around the globe. With cloud maturity where it is today, many CIOs are now turning their attention to the future of their multicloud strategies, particularly when it comes to mission-critical workloads like SAP® applications that are core to a company’s business operations.

SAP S/4HANA® is steadily becoming a core platform for the digital futures of enterprises worldwide who are currently running legacy ERP systems. With SAP’s mainstream maintenance for these applications set to end in 2027, companies must develop their strategies to modernize their SAP environments in time. Historically, organizations opted to host SAP applications on-premises due to their business-critical nature and high levels of dependency. And avoiding major changes or disruptions to the IT environment was often considered the smartest choice.

However, multicloud is the norm today. Cloud deployments have proven to be secure, high performant, robust and agile, even for the most mission-critical SAP applications. IT organizations clearly understand cloud’s potential benefits, including improved scalability, enhanced integrated security and more responsive flexibility. Still, for many it’s not a snap decision and there are numerous complexities to account for when migrating systems to the cloud in support of a company’s SAP modernization strategy. To begin with, there’s no single path that works for everyone; each company’s journey is unique. The process requires comprehensive planning and methodologies supported by cloud and SAP expertise, time-tested best practices, and proven technologies and services.

Below are a few questions every IT leader should ask themselves prior to diving into an SAP cloud migration:

Why modernize?

This is the fundamental question that will drive your digital and business transformation. Each enterprise has unique goals and business drivers – what are yours? Clearly define your business objectives, the challenges you are facing today, and the impact and benefits you want your modernization transformation to address. According to recent research by IDC, availability, security, resiliency/reliability, performance, scalability/flexibility, and support concerns are top of mind for decision makers when they look into cloud migration. It’s important that your organization takes the proper time to fully validate and understand the ‘why’ behind your modernization project to guide your migration to the cloud and provide a clear view of how your business will ultimately benefit.

What do I need to do?

You should identify and evaluate your current production landscape, the impact of integrated or dependent systems, and your needs for QA/DEV environments. It’s also important to analyze your data to determine the amount of essential data to be moved, versus data that should be archived to improve costs and performance in the future.

Additionally, the process of modernizing legacy SAP implementations should only proceed with your full understanding of application and system interdependencies, allowing you to make fundamental decisions about which applications and systems need to be moved to the same target environment versus other potential deployment options (such as a general-purpose cloud or keeping them on-premises).

How do I select the right cloud partner?

Before you begin the cloud vendor selection process, clearly establish your goals and benchmarks. Develop a list of technologies and services that a vendor must offer for you to reach your established business and IT goals. Understand any additional capabilities that are important to you and your team. Does the vendor’s portfolio offer services that can give your business a competitive advantage in the marketplace? And, very importantly, establish your criteria for partnering with a vendor that prioritizes trust as a fundamental element of their services. You can learn more about Virtustream’s cloud security and compliance services and our state-of-the-art Trust Platform here.

The Virtustream advantage

There are many factors around SAP migrations that must be carefully considered, such as uptime requirements and the size and customization of an existing legacy environment. Most businesses simply cannot afford extensive downtime during the migration process. Because of this, choosing the right cloud services provider (CSP) can make the difference between a successful modernization project and one that stumbles right out of the starting blocks.

For Virtustream, the keys to our xStreamCare Services™ for modernizing SAP environments in the cloud center on our decade of proven experience, more than 3,000 SAP migrations to date, and the expertise of our certified SAP and cloud professionals. Additionally, our comprehensive reference architectures, paired with build automation at both the infrastructure and application levels, create a faster time to cloud for enterprises looking to capitalize on cloud benefits quickly. Furthermore, our SAP experts can identify and mitigate migration roadblocks and issues before they impact your business.

Cloud talent is hard to come by these days, and your in-house SAP experts are likely already stretched thin. By offloading SAP hosting and management distractions to Virtustream’s certified experts, you can reclaim your IT talent and funds previously caught-up on simply keeping the lights on. To address this, Virtustream can be responsible for automatically handling software updates, patch applications and day-to-day operations, while your internal IT team focuses on more innovative projects to support the business. And should you ever have the need for our experts to be on-site, our Residency Services may be the perfect solution to your short- or long-term needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Virtustream can help your organization on its modernization journey, click here to get in touch with us today.

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