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SAP Migration: What You Need To Know

Businessman at work on cloud migration

According to Software Connect, SAP represents 11.8% of ERP market share in 2022, second only to Microsoft.

The company offers dozens of ERP solutions to meet the needs of companies of all sizes in many industries.

(NOTE: If you’re new to SAP, visit our article on successful SAP implementations. Professionals who want to gain mastery of SAP’s ERP solutions or other products may be interested in pursuing one of the many SAP certifications the company offers.) 

SAP & Business Operations: Endless Benefits

Traditionally, businesses have compartmentalized data management within specific departments and areas of the business. But this siloed approach hinders the flow of information to other employees and departments for whom that data may also be valuable. 

Not only does this hinder your team, slowing them down when they can’t access all the data they need to do their jobs, but it also increases costs in data management and storage, increases risk in data duplication and/or redundancy and redundant data, and simply makes it more difficult to analyze and act on the information that fuels your business. 

SAP helps avoid these risks and wasted resources by decentralizing complex company information and making it more easily accessible to employees in all areas of the business. This additional efficiency in workflows, functionality, and streamlining of data processes ultimately leads to more useable data, and a more “well-oiled machine.”

SAP centralized systems include hundreds of integrated modules related to all aspects of management and business workflow. The introduction and widespread implementation of cloud-based data storage and management systems over the older, more traditional on-site systems also allows accessibility and contribution from practically any source, regardless of physical location or hardware variables. 

SAP says… “ERP users must migrate by 2027”

To address uniformity and accessibility issues, organizations utilizing SAP are facing an upcoming required migration to SAP HANA by 2027, when the support of legacy ERP solutions on the SAP NetWeaver platform will end. 

This migration will require the transition of all software and data from on-site legacy SAP landscapes to the cloud environment.

Benefits of migrating SAP to the cloud

As daunting as it may sound at first, a migration of SAP services is a fairly simple process and comes with some substantial benefits, such as…

  • Accessibility: A cloud-based SAP greatly increases and simplifies individual and departmental access to data and expands that access to only the boundaries of internet accessibility.
  • Connectivity: With every department accessing the same cloud-based instance of SAP, departments connect by default in the cloud. No more silos, no more walls–all departments and the data flowing in and out of each are now inherently connected. 
  • Resiliency: Advanced security, data redundancy, and recovery systems in the cloud make it much more resilient than older storage methods. Additionally, cloud storage greatly lowers the risk of data breaches and loss due to outside influence, local system or hardware failure, while maintaining business continuity and unrestricted (within the company) availability of data.
  • Scalability: Cloud-based systems are constantly upgraded and provide the ultimate growth and scalability regardless of the size, location, available resources, or any other restrictions of your physical location. 
  • Cost Savings/Predictability: Maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of the provider, freeing business owners from the need to budget for in-house IT personnel or freelance technicians to maintain or repair hardware or software, as well as minimizing space-related costs for the necessary equipment. ERP system costs become far more predictable in the cloud.

SAP Migration Strategies

The two most common strategies for an SAP cloud migration are “Technical Migration” and “Lift & Shift” migration.

Technical Migration

Technical migrations involve upgrading your operating systems and databases to meet specific operational requirements of SAP HANA while keeping your existing SAP software.

Typically this method is used to take advantage of specific features of the cloud-based system, like scalability or automation, while still maintaining a level of control over on-site hardware and software. 

Often, a technical migration is used to “test the waters” and evaluate the learning curve before fully committing to a future migration to S/4HANA.

Lift & Shift Migration

Also referred to as “re-hosting”, a lift and shift SAP migration requires replicating your current SAP landscape from the host (where it currently resides) and transferring exact copies of your top three data layers. These, including the OS layer, database, and application, are migrated directly to the new cloud-based platform and create an identical copy of your business there.

As it’s basically no more than a cut & paste, lift and shift is often favored for being the simplest and most economical migration method. Another key advantage is that this method can be completed quickly, minimizing downtime and disruption to the business.

Following a complete lift and shift, the benefits of a cloud-based system are typically instantly realized. 

Another consideration: SAP migration, though not costly outright, does require an investment in training, learning the new applications and systems at a management level, and tweaking current data processes to best mesh with the new environment.

Migration is inevitable, but why wait? Early adopters in business ownership and management positions will see ROI and reap productivity sooner, and gain a competitive edge over those who wait until the last minute (in 2027).

Do you have questions about migrating SAP to the cloud? We have answers. Simply contact us.

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