For more than 25 years, I’ve been helping companies maximize their investment in SAP, one of the most popular and comprehensive enterprise resource planning solutions available.
This is a critical time for companies that rely on SAP, as the 2025 deadline for migrating every traditional SAP solution to HANA — SAP’s in-memory, hybrid database management system — is rapidly approaching. At that point, support for traditional databases will end, not only for SAP’s flagship ERP but also Business Warehouse and all other SAP products, including Hybris (C4), and Ariba — even Solution Manager must be migrated to HANA by 2025.
While many companies hesitated to implement this revolutionary in-memory technology when it was first introduced, HANA has matured, and migrations have become more mainstream. Working in the HANA market since the beginning, I’ve seen HANA adoption rates double every year — yet I estimate that fewer than 20 percent of SAP customers have made the move thus far.
Don’t wait to migrate
Companies that ignore the deadline for too long are at risk of being unprepared. I cannot suggest strongly enough that companies begin planning now, both for migration expertise and to secure the necessary infrastructure for this next generation database, where memory is counted in terabytes rather than gigabytes — a challenge especially for ad-hoc PoC and Sandbox systems. Waiting too long means only those with the biggest IT budgets will get the job done, which could leave a lot of organizations stranded.
Once migrated to HANA, companies will benefit in several ways, such as cost-savings due to lower licensing fees and better transaction response times. One of the biggest benefits I’ve seen is that ad-hoc reporting can be done in almost real time. That’s because HANA increases agility and is responsive to business changes in a competitive landscape —a major benefit for SAP customers going from legacy solutions that generated reports on what happened the day before.
With HANA and an optimized environment, business will get near real-time reporting, creating value for decision-making based on what is happening now.
The benefits of SAP on the cloud
This is where the benefit of cloud comes into the game. Companies can accelerate their proof-of-concepts, deploying and gaining experience with new features, faster. This approach also enables companies to more easily scale their applications processing and memory needs on a consumption basis.
Between those benefits and the looming HANA deadline, moving to the cloud is almost a no-brainer — but most companies will need outside expertise to navigate the plethora of rules and special considerations necessary to implement in-memory solutions on hyperscale infrastructures, and do it in a way that maximizes their investment.
Most companies tend to leverage new technology investments as a means to deliver higher levels of value, be it a focus on cost-optimization through automation, delivering more agility and responsiveness in a competitive market or simply innovating to stay ahead of the curve. In my experience, some companies and their solutions providers miss opportunities to properly focus on the value chain or “business outcomes,” instead focusing on the technology before assessing business needs and opportunities to maximize value.
Rackspace uses its “Process First. Technology Second” approach, working with customers, through workshops and assessments, to pinpoint business needs and challenges first, and only then designing technology solutions to solve those challenges. Rackspace then offers additional ongoing value through management and optimization. While other companies may offer application support, or infrastructure management, only Rackspace offers true end-to-end SAP solutions.
Why Rackspace for SAP
That’s what attracted me to Rackspace. I was most recently working for a mid-market SAP service provider, seeing migrations to HANA becoming a tsunami, consuming a terabyte per week in new hardware resources. Looking across the cloud service provider landscape, I saw that Rackspace, as a leading multi-cloud vendor, has the freedom to recommend the right combination of cloud and services for each individual business’s unique needs.
Based on my experience, this is exactly what customers should be looking for: an end-to-end solution provider with expertise at scale and proven methodologies in place and an “unbiased” technology perspective. This answers a major concern I often hear: companies don’t want to deploy everything in the public cloud. Mission-critical production systems, for example, may be best managed in a private managed cloud or on-premises. We understand— companies want the flexibility to both “kick the box” and not be forced into a one-size-fits-all public cloud solution. That’s another reason I think Rackspace’s way of thinking about SAP is spot-on, and it’s why I’m thrilled to join the team.
As your company plans for its SAP future, consider partnering with Rackspace. You won’t have to worry about technical debt or lock-in, and you’ll have the flexibility to deploy as you see fit. This is quite rare in the SAP space, which is often sold through value-added resellers, or VARs, which too often lack the expertise, interest and support when it comes to infrastructure management. Their focus is primarily on SAP and software.
Meet us at SAPPHIRE NOW
I’ll be at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando May 7-9 with my fellow Rackspace SAP solution experts; please come visit us in booth 356 to discover how Rackspace can help you with your SAP applications — with compliant, managed services across infrastructure, applications, data and security. Sign up now to schedule a time!