Technological advances have created a wealth of opportunities for companies to boost productivity, lower costs, and remove friction. But because changes in your IT landscape come with considerable investment and risk, they also introduce uncertainty and complexity. You need to know exactly which tools, systems and platforms will fit your needs today and tomorrow. Or do you?
“For a long time, companies trusted their core ERP to take care of everything,” says Tim Leys, senior manager SAP development at Delaware. “Now, more and more enterprises choose best-of-breed solutions to tackle specific business needs, like an HR-module from one vendor and a CRM solution from another. Most of our SAP customers today realise that the operation backbone is only part of the puzzle. They have numerous non-SAP solutions in place, e.g., to build digital platforms and data lakes, or to enable citizen development via low-code platforms.”
“The reality is that, from a technical standpoint, platforms like Microsoft Azure are ahead when it comes to running pilots, collecting data, implementing AI, etc. for building data lakes. At some point, however, most SAP customers will want to re-embed this intelligence in their business processes. That’s exactly where SAP makes the difference in terms of integration and transparency.”
To make this best-of-breed approach work, companies need a solid, reliable, and future-proof cloud architecture. “You need to be able to swiftly and securely replace each element with something else,” says Tim. “For vendors like SAP, this requires unprecedented levels of openness and a clear emphasis on integration.”
Business transformation as a service
Nowhere is this as evident as in RISE with SAP, a bundle of existing SAP assets that helps organisations get started with cloud SAP solutions worry-free, e.g., by offering a single license and including routine services like hosting. “SAP calls RISE ‘business transformation as a service’,” says Tim, “because it bundles everything an organisation needs to realize its long-term ambitions, within a single offer.”
But there’s more to it. “RISE also fits in with SAP’s ‘clean core’ principle, which is a key requirement of a future-proof enterprise architecture. In the past, customisation was the main approach for companies to align their IT landscapes with their unique business situation and processes. If you want to be flexible, however, you need to be able to add and discard applications without impacting your ERP. The RISE offering therefore includes SAP’s standard extension platform: SAP Business Technology Platform.”
In this way, RISE also marks an effort by SAP to move its customers towards a public cloud environment. Public cloud services, like RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, are delivered over an open network, offering efficiency in a shared environment. “For larger enterprises with tons of legacy systems, that’s quite a challenge,” says Tim. “Hence SAP’s focus on increasing the flexibility of public cloud, for example by allowing companies to program their own logic.”
Is it RISE or fall?
SAP’s ECC deadline for 2027 is approaching fast. Does that mean companies need to dive head-first into RISE to make sure they don’t miss the boat to becoming an Intelligent Enterprise? Well, it depends.
“There’s a few things to consider here,” says Tim.
- For companies with highly customised systems, it will become harder and harder to find an easy fix when processes don’t work like they should.
- Building customer experience web services on legacy systems is hard, hence the growing need to build hybrid landscapes that can integrate and embed intelligence into the business processes.
- You’ll have to make the switch from ECC to S/4HANA eventually. This means you’ll likely have to redo many integrations you established today at some future date.
- Last but certainly not least, you’re missing out on a range of crucial and business-critical innovations, like embedded analytics.
“In any case, making the switch is a big, impactful decision. For some organisations, our advice may be to start by implementing a single Line-of-Business or industry-specific solution built by partners with in-depth industry expertise and experience and go from there. What’s important now is to get started.”
“Whatever your situation, our goal is to offer the support you need. Whether that’s by helping you make tough decisions, answer technical questions, train your people, or set up the necessary governance frameworks.”
In a set of blog posts we will highlight some pieces of the puzzle of where the added value is with RISE with SAP. Going from integration & analytics to extended warehouse management and other line-of-business solutions. Where some Delaware experts will guide you trough past project experiences and share their expertise.