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The debate continues – to keep an in-house technology stack for your business software solutions or to migrate those systems to the cloud?
It is estimated that in 2020, on-premises business management software will still have a  . However, cloud solutions will experience higher growth at a CAGR of 10% between now and 2020.
Cloud technology has come a long way in recent years, and migration has undeniable benefits – no need for expensive hardware upgrades, access from any remote device, rapid elasticity and service customization based upon the changing needs.
CIO’s are no longer asking “if cloud migration is necessary”. They are asking “when,” “how,” and “how much” resources to migrate.
For users of the popular SAP products, cloud migration is no longer an “if” question either. And SAP migration to Azure allows spinning up VM’s in minutes and SLA’s that provide for 99.9% VM availability for all of these  :
- SAP Business Suite – ERP, CRM, SCM, SRM and more.
- SAP HANA to deliver your BI.
- SAP S/4HANA – ERP solution for large enterprises.
- SAP BW/4HANA for all data warehouse needs.
- SAP Business One – the premier ERP business suite for small businesses.
- SAP Hybris – Premier enterprise-level CRM solution.
Enter SAP and Microsoft Azure Partnership
SAP and Microsoft announced a cloud partnership – one that has been heralded by numerous corporate clients. In a competitive cloud marketplace, it is interesting that such partnerships have not been negotiated by other major cloud providers.
But the real significance is that, as businesses continue to move rather aggressively into the cloud, there will be considerable rewards from the coordination of SAP in the cloud and Microsoft, which is such a major player in cloud computing.
Microsoft has been investing in SAP apps for a long time – to run many aspects of its own $89.5 billion global empire – human resources, finance, logistics and supply chain, and more. In February of this year, it completed the move of the last of its SAP landscape to Azure. Estimates by its own SAP team are that the budget will be cut by 10-20% by this application transformation.
Microsoft can serve as a model to other enterprises who move their SAP systems to Azure. Staff can ditch the worry about keeping the in-house infrastructure running and spend more time innovating. And they can begin to utilize AI and Machine Learning to gather and analyze data and learn from that.
Azure developed its M-series not just for the complexity of its own cloud-based needs but for other enterprise clients. In 2017, it added virtual machine SKU’s that would be large enough to manage SAP Business Suite modules as big as those needed by Microsoft. This is great news for other large enterprises who use SAP and who want to migrate to a cloud provider that can support their complexities.
SAP in the Cloud Provides Solutions to Challenges of In-House Systems
As stated above, in-house solutions (ERP, SCM, SRM, CRM, etc.) require cumbersome hardware and expensive upgrades. Other challenges that businesses face include the following:
- Growing, even fluctuating bandwidth needs, require server upgrades. Migration to SAP in the cloud means ease of scaling through the use of their remote servers. Scaling down is just as easy. This type of agility can give a business a competitive edge.
- Backup and Recovery Systems: Especially for smaller businesses, these can be expensive upfront investments and involve third-party expertise. With SAP on Azure, this challenge disappears.
- Updates: As  , its new in-house version of S/4HANA, will be supported through 2030. Those with all other earlier versions will not be supported after 2025. This upgrade may come with its own challenges. SAP in the cloud means that software updates are automatic, even security. The challenges of maintaining an in-house system are eliminated.
- Workflow and File Sharing: SAP offers a robust suite of business applications, but its in-house systems have limitations for a workforce that is increasingly mobile. SAP in the cloud fosters effective collaboration without geographical restrictions and enables real-time file-sharing from anywhere on any device.
- Integrated Offerings: Businesses will now have a clear path to migrate their operations to the cloud – two powerhouses collaborating to make the migration as easy and seamless as possible for their clients, not to mention new and exciting innovations that are yet to come.
- Microsoft and SAP state that they will be co-engineering new services and products, will market them together, and co-support them.
- SAP’s cloud service, known as  , now runs beautifully on Microsoft Azure, a platform that has become a powerhouse in cloud computing. Clients will now have the expertise and application management that SAP offers on a platform (Azure) that provides state-of-the-art services.
- CEO’s of both companies state that they are committed to deploying the technologies they offer – a collaboration that will give clients the ability to access the power of a cloud-based system, along with data and analytics that will be not just efficient but will move them to a level of competition that sets them apart.
- Microsoft, in moving its own SAP systems to Azure has done the groundwork, so that any business of any size and with any complexity of SAP solutions can migrate with as few landmines as possible. In fact, SAP on Azure is now used by 90% of Fortune 500 companies – its scalability is huge, and it handles more than 5 trillion storage transactions on a monthly basis.
Are There SAP on Azure Cons?
There are not so many “cons” as there are challenges to make the migration as seamless and as bug-free as possible. But the integrated collaboration between Azure and SAP, and the fact that Microsoft has been through the process, many of these issues have been resolved.
Still, as the migration occurs, these could be things to think about:
- Start with the easier, “low-hanging fruit” first. It is working with these base layers that issues can be identified and worked out before the more serious layers are migrated.
- Testing the early migrations is critical, of course.
- Clearing out. With an on-premise server, businesses tend to keep a lot of stuff they are no longer using. Dumping that will make the migration cleaner and, in the long run, save costs.
- Another potential area relates to backup. It’s easy to think that, once the full migration has occurred, the issue of backup is eliminated. You still need backup. Fortunately, Azure already functions in 50+ regions. Place your backup in another region. Should something go awry in your area, you are still covered.
If Microsoft has migrated its complex and huge SAP systems to Azure and done so successfully, it is obvious that businesses of any size will be able to do so. Further, the potential for a successful migration with as few issues as possible is greatly increased because of the joint support of both Azure and SAP.
Already, a number of “giants” are heralding the partnership between SAP and Azure. Coca-Cola, Columbia Sportswear, and Costco are just three that claim the partnership will enable them to perform all of their enterprise functions more rapidly, obtain the data and analytics they need, and, ultimately to serve their customers better. With endorsements such as these, it is obvious that SAP on Azure Cloud is a winner.
There are obvious benefits for businesses that make the choice to move to cloud computing – costs, much greater access, pay-as-you-go usage, the ability to scale up and down as appropriate, and security and backup, to name a few.
Beyond that, though, there are significant benefits for businesses who currently use SAP as their business solutions system. By itself, SAP is a great solution for ERP, SCM, SRM, and CRM, and has been for years. In a partnership with Microsoft Azure, however, cloud computing has reached a new level.
As these two giants can collaborate, they can ensure that SAP users can:
- Get all of the support they need in their migration process;
- Provide new products and services that other standalone cloud providers cannot;
- Have the expertise of app management that SAP offers on a platform that is designed to handle as much complexity as a business might have;
- Have access to a powerful cloud-based system, as well as data and analytics that will inform business decisions.
Are You Ready to Migrate SAP to Azure?
If your business has an in-house SAP solution, moving to Azure is the next logical step to bring you the competitive edge you want. Successful migration, even though there is great support from the collaboration of SAP and Microsoft, can be a tricky process.   that your migration is as flawless as possible. We migrate, test, fix, and re-test. Ultimately, you are “in” and ready to take advantage of everything that this partnership offers now and in the future.