A year ago, SAP offered to simplify migration to S/4HANA Cloud with its all-in-one, subscription-based Rise with SAP service, which means companies don’t need to separately manage the cost. software licenses, support and cloud hosting. . However, customers have always had to do business with at least three partners: SAP, a systems integrator, and one of the big three hyperscalers.
CIOs may soon be able to cut out one of them, as SAP allows IBM to offer cloud hosting alongside the consulting services it already offers under the Rise with SAP umbrella.
IBM calls its combination of consulting, implementation and application management services from IBM Consulting with managed technical services from IBM Cloud “Breakthrough with IBM for Rise with SAP.”
SAP names IBM a “premium provider” of Rise, for the company’s provision of hosting and consulting. This is a new designation, hitherto unique to IBM.
“Right now, IBM is clearly the leader in this space,” said Brian Duffy, president of SAP at Cloud. “There are very few players who can do that, and we as an organization are very selective about who we want to make that offer.”
Duffy wouldn’t say who else could qualify.
Oracle has its own cloud platform and consulting services, but probably isn’t interested.
SAP does, in fact, have other partners that do consulting and cloud delivery, said Liz Herbert, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. She gave NTT and Fujitsu as examples and suggested that since Accenture already supports Rise with SAP and resells cloud services from hyperscalers, it may one day qualify, as do some of its peers with cloud reselling companies. .
That would give SAP customers more choice, Herbert said, but the choice comes with its own set of problems. “Customers feel like they don’t have enough clarity about the trade-offs between these different choices,” she said.
And there are a lot of trade-offs for CIOs to consider. Customers who already have existing agreements with IBM for consulting or infrastructure might be attracted to the new offering, but equally, some might try to avoid overspending with a particular vendor, Herbert said.
Charles King, president and principal analyst at Pund-IT, pointed to another trade-off: putting all the eggs in one basket rather than allocating them. IBM has developed systems based on its own Power servers, in its own cloud, specifically for SAP workloads. But on the other hand, “Since IBM Cloud also supports hybrid cloud services with all major public cloud platforms, customers can integrate these services as part of their SAP environments as well.” they want it”.
Barriers to S/4HANA Migration
CIOs migrating to S/4HANA face many hurdles, said Peter Rutten, vice president of research in IDC’s global infrastructure practice. One is the cost: his research puts the average cost of third-party consulting on an S/4HANA migration at $1.5 million, with general business interruption costing about the same. If companies need to move from a non-SAP database to HANA, it will cost an average of $4.9 million, he said.
Time is another factor, Rutten said. Migration projects typically drag on for a year or two, and completing them requires a bewildering variety of services and tools, which only about half of companies find effective: “They need much more and much more better.”
Help is what IBM wants to offer, said Hillery Hunter, CTO of IBM Cloud: “It’s really about helping enterprise customers move their domain in a modernized direction and move their domain to cloud and hybrid cloud environments.”
Hunter pointed to other hurdles companies have encountered so far in moving to the cloud: reliability, control of their environment, and security. These are areas where IBM can do something, she said.
For added reliability, IBM will offer the private edition of SAP S/4HANA Cloud in IBM Cloud Multi-Zone Regions (MZRs) as part of its Rise with SAP support. The MZRs are each served by three or more independent data centers, so if one fails, the others can continue to support the application for customers in the region. IBM claims this can increase availability from 99.9% to 99.99%. MZRs include Dallas, Washington DC, Sao Paolo, Toronto, Frankfurt, London, Sydney and Tokyo.
For security, Hunter said, “We’ve implemented many different types of services that enable industry-unique data privacy and the use of secure enclaves, advanced cryptography, and other things like that, things that help create a structure for more sensitive data, for more sensitive workloads to migrate to the cloud.”
There are two aspects to giving customers more control. One is at the start of the project, customizing the implementation and choosing what data to load. The S/4HANA Cloud Private Edition, launched in 2021, differs from the S/4HANA Cloud multi-tenant offering and the S/4HANA Cloud Extended Edition offering by offering greater configuration and modification scope and the ability to selectively migrate legacy ERP datasets to S/4HANA rather than having to create a clean, clean ERP implementation.
The other is its continuous monitoring: “We see an intense need for access to a common logging and monitoring location, the ability to view your entire domain no matter where it is, to consistently,” Hunter said. “We strive to help our customers have consistency across their hybrid cloud fleet, i.e. in the cloud, on-premises, perhaps across other cloud environments as well.”