The Right Path to SAP S/4HANA: the Overview
Your enterprise has made the decision to move to SAP S/4HANA, and now it’s time to explore possible solutions. Your IT team is faced with a number of choices. A few are easy. A few aren’t.
One easy choice is whether to work with an SAP migration consultant. Unless you have a particularly deep bench of SAP expertise, the answer is yes. In fact, your leadership has probably already decided to do so.
A harder decision is choosing between deployment models, because with SAP S/4HANA you have a new choice: on-premises or in the cloud.
Because it was once the only option for SAP solutions, an on-premises deployment is the most common option. It provides the most control and can help you take advantage of existing SAP expertise in your organization. The downside is the larger capital expenditures.
There are also details involved in this decision, such as choosing the hardware platform and the delivery model (appliance or Tailored Datacenter Integration [TDI]) that I’ll dive into detail on in our next blog post.
Cloud: Software as a Service
With the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP is offering its enterprise resource planning capabilities as software as a service. This means you can get the business-enhancing capabilities of SAP’s newest offerings with a low cost of entry, automatic updates and, hopefully, a lower total cost of ownership. One big thing to note, however, is that there’s no easy way to migrate the information in current SAP instances to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, making it only suited for greenfield implementations.
If you can’t do without the information in your current SAP systems, this makes it a no-go for you. If you’re new to SAP or look forward to a greenfield implementation as a way to start fresh, this option might be perfect for you. I’ll look at a few more differences in my next post.
Cloud: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
A third option lies in between the last two: It’s your own SAP S/4HANA implementation, but running on public cloud servers. Some of the major cloud vendors offer specialized cloud instances designed to provide SAP S/4HANA with the support it needs to operate well. Nonetheless, as with all IaaS, you have to pay close attention to bandwidth and connections. Are the systems and clients connecting to your SAP cloud instance also in the cloud, or connected to the cloud with enough bandwidth? This is a question that leadership has probably not yet considered when committing to a move to SAP S/4HANA.
And of course, if you select this model you’ll face a further choice of which public cloud provider to trust your SAP S/4HANA implementation to.
The Operating System: Another Easy Choice
These are, by far, not the only choices. For instance, unless you select SAP S/4HANA Cloud, you’ll also need to choose an operating system. Because SAP S/4HANA only runs on Linux, your only choice is which Linux distribution to select. Luckily, the leading operating system for SAP applications, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, is available both on-premises and in the cloud. In fact, it’s the basis of SAP’s S/4HANA Cloud.
What makes SUSE’s operating system such a strong choice that SAP itself chose it when building its SaaS solution? We’ll look at those details next time too.