1 2 3 34 Previous Next

SAP Cloud Computing

510 Posts

The usage of cloud computing has also a beneficial effect on cost. A good key performance indicator for determining the true value and cost of IT solutions is TCO (Total cost of ownership).

 

 

What is TCO?

 

A widely used definition of TCO in AWS community is:

 

TCO is the initial purchase price of an asset plus its operating costs.

 

It’s important that an organization considers not only the purchase cost, but also the corresponding long-term cost of an IT solution. Lower TCO means higher value over time.

 

tco.png

 

 

Why is TCO so good?

 

Calculating the TCO of products and services has important advantages:

 

  • TCO is an understandable KPI to both business and IT
  • TCO is well suited to compare different IT-solutions over a set period of time

 

Therefore, the TCO analysis is a determining part of cloud computing consulting.

 

 

How Can Customers Lower TCO with Cloud Computing?

 

  • With cloud computing, customers do not need to invest large amounts of money in IT infrastructure. Instead, they benefit from lower variable cost.
  • Cloud providers offer usually several pricing models for static and dynamic workloads. So customers only pay for the resources, they actually use.
  • Cloud providers share internal cost savings(economies of scale) with their customers. Continuous price reductions for cloud services are the result.
  • The arising savings are getting even higher, the more cloud computing you use e.g. volume discounts.

 

 

How to Calculate TCO?

 

On Premise

 

To calculate the TCO for an on premise IT solution you need to regard all cost-effective components. The most common TCO components are:

 

  • Servers and Network
  • Operating System and Virtualization Software
  • Floor Space
  • Power and Cooling
  • Data Center Personnel
  • Redundancy (Durability and Availability)
  • Resource Management and Software Automation
  • Software-Defined Networking

 

Some of the mentioned components like floor space seem to bear no direct relation to an IT solution. However, they are necessary. The key is to include these resources partially. If you don’t distribute the comprehensive IT cost to the individual IT solutions, the calculated TCO will be definitely imprecise.

 

On Demand

 

Calculating the TCO for an on demand solution is simple and transparent. Because the cloud provider takes care of all mentioned TCO components, you just have to add the cost for each required cloud service. And that's it! Applications like the AWS Simply Monthly Calculator help you to calculate a precise result.

 

Compare the results

 

The calculated KPIs are a perfect basis of decision-making. On premise or on demand? TCO will help you to find an answer!

 

Note:

 

To get a better understanding of practical TCO calculation, check out the simple TCO Calculator of AWS.

 

 

Previous Part: Elasticity

I'm heading the technical operations of TwoGo by SAP, our cloud based ride sharing app, which got to be the first SAP cloud service which delivers software changes on a daily basis into its productive service.

In addition I'm doing a lot of evangelization inside and outside the company on DevOps culture and Continuous Delivery practices and one of the topics which again and again creates deeper interest is: feature toggles.

 

What is a feature toggle?

 

The operations point of view:

From an operations point of view, feature toggles separate the software deployment from the activation of the new feature or functionality.

In the on-premise world the deployment and the activation of a features is always one and the same event: you ship software to your customer which directly enables the customer to use the feature.

In the shiny new cloud world, feature toggles can separate this couple. We can deploy software on our productive system, while the new feature we've deployed is still not accessible by (every) user, as it's hidden by some conditional.

Many successful cloud companies work in such a phased delivery model. Facebook actually calls this type of software releasing dark launching, as the user might already get some coding shipped on this client, which is just not visible/active (dark) to him/her.

 

The development point of view:

On a code level, a feature toggle is a simple conditional statement (if, case, ..) which checks whether a certain piece of code should be activated or not.

Here's some feature toggle code from TwoGo:

FeatureTogglesCode.png

 

what you can see is that for TwoGo the user object contains a list of features which must be activated for this user. In this case, the feature "Invite Friends" is checked and if the user does not have access to that particular feature, the code jumps out of this method as this particular function should not be made accessible to the user.

 

How to activate feature toggles?

 

In order to activate a feature toggle, we no longer need to deploy the related coding to our productive service, as the actual coding is already deployed (maybe since weeks), but it was just never activated. In order to activate the related piece of code, we need some administration view that allows us to activate features (in our case for a (group of) users).

This is how we activate features for TwoGo users:

FeatureTogglesAdmin.png

We use an administration UI, which allows us to activate feature for certain users or user groups.

 

What are the benefits?


Using feature toggles allows us to do phased rollouts of our new functionality. We can activate new features only for certain users/groups (e.g. use our own team as gunee pigs) to test the new functionality. Does it work? Does it scale? Is it used at all?

In the worst case we might even deactivate the feature again, in case it does not work/scale/...

 

Any drawbacks?

 

Where there is light there is shadow. Feature toggles bring complexity into the code. The complexity which is now put into the code with feature toggles was -most likely- handled before (e.g. in on-premise) in source code versioning systems by tons of different branches/codelines (and a lot of double maintenance).

So complexity will not go away, it will just be somewhere else.

 

With feature toggles you need to enforce clean code, as you might end up in conditional statements everywhere in the code. So remove feature toggles from the code, when they are no longer needed.

(The same would you do with your old and no longer shipped/supported branches/codelines.)



This Blog I will show Integration of SAP On Premise applications with Third Party Cloud applications. In my last SAP Project, I got opportunity to work with Third party Cloud applications (Procurement) Integration with SAP ECC/ BI On premise Application. Believe it or not, it was not easy integration as my Client was not at all in Cloud Platform and all Cloud things are new and looks Challenging initially. As we started the project and understand what Cloud can bring us, things start setting down. In a hybrid landscape, we not only have to factor in the implementation time and cost of complex integrations across heterogeneous systems consisting of SAP, non-SAP, and custom applications, We also have to consider the ongoing support and maintenance of these integrations. In the journey to cloud Integration, it is critical that we need prevent data inconsistencies, Security concern and information silos, and ensure they have seamless end-to-end business process integration across their SAP on premise and Third Party cloud applications. Basically there are three Broad Category Cloud Integration Strategy work in SAP Landscape. 1)Pre-packaged scenarios – A number of 3rd party providers have developed easy to integrate solutions whereby they have already developed the integration point by leveraging Cloud for Customer APIs. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, Google and Bing maps, where activating the integration only takes a few minutes by providing API keys. 2)Web service APIS - If you need an integration scenario that isn’t available in the standard delivery or through a partner solution, you can build your own scenario using the existing SAP Web services. As standard, SAP C4C provides a number of web services and Odata interfaces SAP has invested in hundreds of functionally rich prepackaged integrations called iFlows across all of our cloud solutions (see sidebar). iFlows make it faster and easier for customers to realize the value of hybrid landscapes. The prepackaged integrations are supported through upgrades and product releases by SAP.With prepackaged integrations, customers get access to SAP’s deep domain knowledge and best practices for hybrid deployments of on-premise and cloud applications. 3)SAP HANA Cloud Integrations SAP HANA Cloud Integration is a new cloud-based integration technology with process and data integration capabilities This was natively built on a multi-tenant cloud infrastructure, which supports the integration of SAP’s cloud applications to SAP, non-SAP, and custom applications (on premise to cloud and cloud to cloud). This technology helps customers rapidly realize value from the prepackaged integrations (iFlows) delivered by SAP. Customers don’t need to procure additional hardware, set up a new middleware landscape, or invest in monitoring for the underlying integration technology. On this technology, they can extend standard integration content provided by SAP and build new custom integration. Again, it’s not required to use above Integration Strategy, if you are heavy in SAP Process Integration (PI) Platform, you can still use SAP PI for your Interfacing with non-SAP or Cloud applications which was case for my last project. Several Customers having SAP Net Weaver PI can leverage it for integrating their on premise applications and cloud based applications Customers without an existing integration solution can leverage SAP HANA Cloud Integration for easy consumption of SAP’s Cloud solutions SAP aims to enable Companies or enterprise to take full advantage of the cloud and derive the intended business outcome. Through above integration technology, functionally rich prepackaged integrations (iFlows), and a rich set of open APIs, SAP PI, it can be seamless SAP and Cloud Integration without any Bottlenecks and Future Benefits.  Thanks, Regards Manish Mundra SAP Cloud Architect

The capacity planning for IT resources is a quite complicated task. Because business can be unpredictable, it is hard to calculate the required resources. Besides, you always have to provide enough servers to handle the maximum workloads. The following diagram illustrates this circumstance.

 

capacity_chart_1.png

 

But this approach has substantial disadvantages. A major part of the provisioned resources is wasted (see next diagram).

 

capacity_chart_2.png

 

Moreover, many companies are not able to predict exactly the upcoming traffic in the next weeks, month or years. This fact regards websites as well as business applications.

 

Cloud Technologies are the key to solve this problem. Virtual servers in the cloud with elastic scaling provide the following features.

 

  • You can scale up and down your capacity. And you only pay for the resources, you are actually use.
  • Scaling up and down is done automatically. The capacity is adjusted on the basis of different criteria (e.g. network in/out or CPU utilization).

 

This simple approach avoids unnecessary investments in on-premise IT-infrastructure. You actually save money! Besides, it’s no longer a problem to handle unexpected traffic. That means, you increase your agility! For example, your marketing department can start advertising campaigns, without worrying about the IT capacity.

capacity_chart_3.png

Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services allow you the following operations with virtual servers:

 

  • scale up, as the workload grows
  • shut down resources, that are no longer required
  • you can do all this operations instantly and fully automatically
  • when you scale down, you don’t pay for the infrastructure
  • you can do this with all kinds of servers and technologies e.g. web servers or application servers like SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP etc...

 

With these features, companies are well positioned to meet even extreme requirements. They save money and increase their agility.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Previous Part: Innovations

Next Part: Cost Efficiency


In today's changing world, its really challenging for a new business to buy on-premise software and investing in the IT infrastructure that goes with it. With the current churn rate of the S&A 500 approaching 80% it’s clear that mature enterprises risk being eclipsed by upstarts unless they follow a path of relentless innovation and improvement. The cloud must play a strategic role, but mature enterprises need to approach it differently.

There are some key's points which need to address before replacing existing On Premise solutions or moving into Cloud

1) Familiarity with Cloud and On Premise Solutions:

All in IT world cloud right now and that’s part of the problem. Even on-premise vendors are trying to disguise their solutions as cloud solutions to try to meet modern business demands. However, all systems aren’t created equal. Some solutions are “fake cloud” - old on-premise apps just running in a data center – without the same web-based and ease-of-use benefits of their cloud-native counterparts.Be sure to drill into the solutions from all the vendors on your short list.  Ask if they’re 100% web-based, if they’re designed from the ground up for the cloud, and how many customers like you are running their cloud solution.

2) Cloud  vs Performance

So, it’s not really cloud versus on premise; it’s cloud versus Performance or Inefficiency. There are new cloud solutions that can take market share from inefficiency in almost every area of your organization, and for a lot less money than you think. It’s time to re-evaluate everything through that lens. Just because there wasn't a viable solution in the on-premise world doesn't mean that there isn’t one in the cloud today.

3) Due Diligence for existing Business Processes Deployed

On-premise Application have historically been deployed in individual silos - one solution for financial consolidation, another for planning, others for reporting and analysis – with different experiences and painful integration between the tools. Why? Because companies acquired these apps over the years, and the apps were never designed to integrate with one another.

Cloud-based suites are designed with the benefit of hindsight – often with functionality that’s broader than any individual on-premise apps you’re using. For example, you can meet your business intelligence and your financial planning needs with one integrated suite, bringing together planning, reporting, and analysis in a single environment. Lot of Companies try to replace on-premise processes 1:1 with their cloud-based counterparts, which undermines the full value of cloud tools.  Before deploying the cloud, rethink your processes and determine how you can integrate solutions and processes to maximum productivity and create a more efficient organization.

4) Check your Pain Points in Existing Landscape

Always check your pain points in Existing Landscape and see where the cloud can add value on top of legacy solutions and/or improve efficiency around the existing infrastructure that is in place. Look to see where the cloud can replace paper, phone calls, or Excel, or otherwise streamline inefficient workflows.

If you’re late to the cloud, there’s still plenty of time, but at some point you will have more and more lean and mean competitors that got their start in the cloud era, so the time to start making that transition is now. The best place to begin is by chipping away at inefficiency where ever it lurks. It’s less risky than rip and replace, and a lot less risky than doing nothing at all

5) Hand Shake with your Service Providers and Business Partners

On-premise vendors are not really open to feedback. The are always looking for new contract and budget where they can benefit out of it. In the new world, cloud vendors, who operate based on subscription and retention, are incredibly motivated to listen to feedback and continually improve their applications. They’ll often provide peer-to-peer discussion communities and voting platforms to help prioritize new features and updates in each release. These collaborative channels close the gap between provider and customer. It’s also much easier for peers to share best practices because, with cloud solutions, every customer is running the same, most updated version of the software.

Overall, the cloud Solutions is much better geared to the pace of today’s businesses versus their on-premise counterparts. They provide out-of-the-box benefits like a lower total cost of ownership, superior flexibility, and user-intuitive features. But making the most out of cloud solutions requires a cultural change; a dedication to using those added features to better analyze business performance and industry trends to make the best decisions for organizational growth.

Thanks,.

Regards

Manish Mundra

Cloud Solution Architect

 


 

Hi All,

Hope you all like my last blog regarding "Cloud Solutions will replace On Premise systems". In this blog  we will see more detail focus on Cloud Adoption in Small to Medium size business and keys areas for SMBs to understand

In Today's world Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are becoming increasingly important to technology and communications services providers as a means of growing their business. The enterprise market is saturated, highly competitive and very mature with long-term established relationships. In pure number terms, SMBs are prolific and while sales channels and approaches will need to be adapted to reduce the cost per sale, SMBs overall provide a wealth of opportunity, especially as they turn to new technologies for business gain

SMBs that are currently ‘cloudless’ need education on the benefits the cloud could provide. Spill over effects do exist in SMB communities e.g. word of mouth, but service providers need to do much more to create the required change. Service Provider need to educate SMBs on positive impact of cloud  along with issues like Data security and demonstrate their capability to deliver in the cloud

For small businesses with 100 employees or less cloud computing is relevant only insofar as it offers easier, more cost-effective ways to obtain needed IT capabilities that do not require sophisticated in-house IT expertise. Mostly, this is a matter of software and software applications offered as a service (SaaS).

There are basics Cloud Offering to SMBs which are very important and useful for their growth and keep pace in current markets are below

1) Web Hosting: Even the smallest businesses today typically have some sort of web site, hosted somewhere. Yet simple web hosting is certainly a ‘cloud service’ by any reasonable definition

2) Email: Many very small businesses, in addition to having a web site somewhere, still rely on some basic free email service from Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, and so forth or use email accounts provided by their phone or cable company. Email, too, although decades old now, is clearly a cloud service

3) Cloud Business Applications and Services: There are various Cloud applications in the market with pros and cons. SMBs need to choose them based on certain key parameters

a) Be clear about what you really need and can use from Cloud applications

b) Understand what a proposed cloud service can do for you and what its impact will be on your current business

c) Obtain temporary expert technical advice and assistance in evaluating and implementing the product from someone who already has some experience with it.

Google apps for Business, MS 365  and similar products from other vendors are some examples. These combine email and web site services with basic office productivity and collaboration applications. They feature easy-to-use wizards, dashboards, and control panels to simplify set up and management by relatively non-technical users. There is a growing range of applications as services products that are either entirely cloud-based or that combine cloud-based services with cloud access to downloadable software like Adobe Creative Cloud,MS dynamics online, Sales force Sales etc.

4) Use Trial version of Cloud applications:

Finally last but no the list, almost all cloud computing products relevant to small businesses offer trial versions that let you get experience with the product at little or no cost. Use them before committing to full implementation.

There is no better way to determine if they will really work for your small business by actually using it.

Thanks,

Manish Mundra

SAP Cloud Architect

 

In the last couple of years we have seen a trend of shrinking IT budgets. At its best, the IT budget stays the same over time, and the IT department can only focus on “keeping the lights on". At the same time, the Line-of-Business (LoB) budgets are increasing and the LoB managers are able to make buying decisions on cloud solutions in a subscription model, that offer them new functionality and a solution to their problems. The IT department is struggling to stay relevant when the budgets are shrinking and they are overrun by the LoBs.

 

Pic3.png

But what can the IT department do to regain the control of the IT landscape and win back their relevance? First of all, we have to acknowledge the existing situation and then look for the solution to the problems.I see three immediate problems:


1) There is a clash in culture between the business and the IT departments

The classical role of the IT department is to run the company. For the IT department, efficiency means doing things right.

A Line-of-Business organization is different. Their classical role is to innovate their own department. When making decisions, the key question they ask is: Is it resolving my business issue, my problem, or my growth expectation? In other words, their goal is to do the right things.

So the IT- and business departments have completely different roles, but they also have different KPIs and expectations. This leads to totally different ways of running projects. The IT employees usually have a linear and very structured approach in projects. They are trained to anticipant every single issue they face and resolve them in an early phase of the project, that can run for 18 months or even longer. The Line-of-Business approach, on the other hand, is to run projects in an explorative cycle, where Innovation and business outcome improvement is key. They start the project with a yes-we-can mentality, brainstorm and then run many iterations when planning, implementing and adjusting. Furthermore, they want to see results fast, so having to wait 18 months to see the first prototype is not an option for them.

Pic1.png

2) The LoB is depending on the IT department to get real value out of the cloud solutions

Most cloud solutions only have limited value if they are running standalone, without integration to other systems. Once the cloud solution has been purchased, the LoB expects the IT department to take care of the integration and other technical tasks as well as support. Security is often not a top priority for them and handled with ignorance. But companies usually have strict security and compliance standards defined for the existing environment. Any new solution needs to comply with these, which means that both integration possibilities and security standards (just to mention two) need to be evaluated and confirmed before purchasing the new solution. If the LoB buys a cloud solution, without involving the IT department, there is a high risk is that a seamless integration will not be possible, and security standards are not met.


3) Shadow IT is a growing problem Cloud.jpg

The IT department has a hard time keeping up with the rapid pace of new technologies and solutions entering market. It is also their job to ensure that any new software solution fulfills pre-defined standards. As a consequence, The IT department is being perceived as slow and complicated, which is one of the reasons why the LoB departments buy cloud solutions without involving their internal IT department.


Not long ago, the IT departments had the full control of all the technology decisions that were made. But this has changed rapidly. Money that was once assigned to the IT department is now often ending up in the individual LoB departments instead. With a corporate credit card, it’s easy for an LoB manager to buy Software-as-a-Service without having to go through the formal IT process.


But what’s so bad about shadow IT? Even though there might be benefits such as fast procurement, shadow IT is generally inefficient and unsafe because it implies a non-centralized IT management that strengthens organizational silos, inhibits cross-functional collaboration and increases security risks. IT resources and especially public cloud should be managed with governance and control to the benefit of all.


 

I’ve brought up three problems that I see relate to each other closely. The clash in culture between the business department and IT department, the high dependency on the IT department to get the full value of cloud solutions, and the problem of shadow IT.

The solution(s) that fix all these problems might not be easy, but I think that the above addressed issues all come down to one thing:  The IT department needs to start working closer with the business, and understand their language and their goals, so that they can better support the business priorities and help them be innovative.


The new expectation on the IT department is that not only should they manage the on-premise applications necessary to run the company, but they should also offer possibilities for the LoBs to innovate in order to change the company. If the IT professionals change from a reactive to proactive way of working and go from taking orders and fixing problems, to understanding the overall business drivers, goals and objectives of their company, they will become an important business partner who provides a service with increased value to the organization.


Pic2.png


But I’m not saying that only the IT department needs to change. There are two sides of the coin, and the LoBs also needs to approach the IT department and involve them in their needs. The LoB users need to let the IT department be in control of both the internal resources as well as any 3rd party cloud products in use. In the end, one has to find a balance between the usability and new functionalities that cloud solutions offer, on the one side, and the technical topics such as integration and security on the other side. It is important that both IT and business are involved in the evaluation process.


If this shift in mindset can be implemented successfully,I believe that the IT role will shift from a tactical, cost reducing, keeping-the-lights-on approach to a more strategic role, focusing on business growth and improving competitiveness.


Conclusion:

The new opportunities driven by innovative technologies utilizing cloud deployment models provide room for a paradigm shift in the relationship of IT and business. Rather than being in the relationship of vendor and customer – a move towards joint value creation opens up and the IT can become a true business partner to the LoBs and by that gain control over the IT spending and the holistic landscape.


This is a topic that will be discussed more in the openSAP course “Transforming to hybrid landscapes” that also covers the hybrid transformation from a technical perspective. This online course is free of charge, runs over 5 weeks and apart from an introduction to the hybrid topic the course covers integration, security, operations and transformation aspects for hybrid landscapes. I invite you to join the course to learn more about this important topic!


In my next blog, I intend to handle the question of HOW the IT department can transform to a strategic business partner, so stay tuned!

Even in the year 2015, many companies are not  familiar with cloud computing. This is largely because decision makers do not always realize the associated value proposition. In the upcoming blog posts, I’m going to talk about the most common reasons, why companies use cloud computing. The target group of this blog is companies, which have (almost) no experience in this area.

 

Innovations

 

Go to your system engineer and ask:  „How long does it take to get a new server for my software project?“.

 

What’s the answer? Five weeks? Ten weeks? Or even six months?

 

That's horrible! And let’s say, you need the server for an important evaluation (e.g. a new framework/technology). What are you doing with the infrastructure when the experiment ends?

 

It’s important to know, that experiments provide the basis for innovations. Many successful business models and products were developed by a „trail and error“ process. So if you can perform fast and cost-efficient experiments, you definitely have a competitive advantage. The following graphic illustrates this issue.

 

innovations.png

 

This is called the „build-measure-learn“ loop and a common approach for experimenting. The section „Prototype - Measure - Data“ is very critical, because prototypes and data analysis need runtime environments. Cloud computing can help you to to provide these environments in a convenient way.

 

  • Setup your servers within minutes, when your experiment/prototyping starts.
  • Terminate your servers, when your experiment/prototyping ends.

 

Under these conditions, you simplify workflows and encourage a culture of innovation. Your „build-measure-learn“ loop gets faster and more cost-efficient. Besides, it is not so bad when an experiment fails, because the „collateral damage“ is quite low through the usage of cloud computing. That’s the reason why on-demand solutions are perfectly suited for this kind of use case.

 

A common SAP related example is SAP HANA. It can be expensive and time-consuming to provide an on-premise runtime environment for this technology. This fact can deter an organization from working with SAP HANA. However, within the scope of innovations, it’s important for IT departments to gain hands-on experience. One easy way to solve this problem is the use of cloud technologies. The SAP Cloud Appliance Library allows a simple provision of different SAP solutions. You find more information right here.

 

The lesson is clear: Experimenting is a critical innovation skill! And cloud computing can help you to improve it!

 

In the next posts, i am going to discuss further topics in the context of cloud computing as simple as possible.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Sources

 

How to Use Experiments to Build an Innovation Culture by Tim Kastelle


Next Part: Elasticity

When I first published my first blog on the topic of SAP Cloud Computing, I had no idea what the response might be. I was astounded by the number of viewers and the support that I received from SAP community. It appears that the enterprise cloud revolution is generating significant interest and as a result I’ve opted to follow-up the original post with some additional points to take into consideration as we progress with the enterprise cloud journey.


1. Business drivers are always first

p1.jpg

SAP’s cloud portfolio is rapidly evolving from a “nice to have” into a competitive necessity, where business leaders  are investing heavily to achieve a wide range of strategic objectives, driven by both top-line revenue and bottom-line cost optimisation factors. Organisational need to expand the IT capability of business cycles through a fast-track approach is spanning capital and operational expenses. To conduct robust economic analysis of these overly complex models, SAP customers need to consider two different drivers – those that substantially affect revenue and those that fundamentally affect costs. A sound enterprise cloud business case should clearly articulate both drivers with careful consideration given to both financial and non-financial benefits creating total cost of ownership model. For example SAP TCO needs to be organisation specific covering all significant components  of  a SAP  environment (hardware,  software, and  operations) with  the complete  lifecycle  of  SAP  systems from (plan, purchase,  roll-out, operate,  maintain,  fix, change,  and  improve). By obtaining the SAP TCO Model to calculate the costs of different scenarios, it is possible to compare the cost in the context of the main business drivers.


2. Consider current and future strategic fit

Future.PNG

SAP customers need to adopt the cloud computing strategy based on their specific business requirements. As a result a High-Level SAP strategy should take into consideration the overarching corporate and IT strategies as well as specific business unit strategies and valued driver. Failure to take into consideration the specific business unit strategies and value drivers reduces a sense of ownership/buy-in from the business and is likely to be heavily criticised for not having a clear business case that is linked to business unit value drivers and objectives.  According to Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014, "enterprises should design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and ensure that future integration/interoperability is possible." This requires customer’s adoption of baseline standards for identity, authentication, federation, and encryption. Assessment of application architecture must generate insight for cloud suitability, analysing opportunities based on application requirement’s fit for a cloud environment.


3. Know exactly what you want

p222.pngScenarios1.PNG

If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you’ve made the decision to move to the cloud or are perhaps delaying the inevitable. SAP’s portfolio of cloud offerings contains overwhelming selection of options. SAP customers need to understand what they want to achieve, the benefits they can expect from the existing suite of tools and all of the implications associated with a move to a cloud based solution. One way to achieve this is to conduct an end-to-end value chain analysis to identify critical value drivers / capabilities and the key applications used in the delivery of those capabilities. Organisations need to clearly define what goes on the cloud and what doesn’t - otherwise they could end up creating unnecessary complexity. Consider playing it safe by using a cloud based solution for non-production systems (that do not hold sensitive data) thus in turn reducing the initial infrastructure costs and risks associated with operational disruptions and change management.


4. Go for a Test Drive

Scenario22.PNGSAP CAL 1.png

We have to recognise that growth is a process of trial and error, and in order to grow our enterprise cloud environments organisations need to adopt some trial and error-fast approach when dealing with SAP projects. SAP Cloud Appliance Library – CAL allows you to go through trial and error cycles much faster and at lower costs utilising some of SAP’s rapid-deployment solutions. For example - AWS offers test drive program to provide customers with the ability to quickly and easily deploy and then experience SAP software based solutions on the AWS cloud. These Test Drives have been developed by AWS and SAP partners and are provided free of charge for demonstration and evaluation purposes. These exercises may yield some unrealised benefits providing businesses with more velocity for adoption and more chances for making a difference in their respective industry. The idea of a quick deployment where customers can deploy their system in less than 1 hour was almost unimaginable only a few years ago. This is fast becoming a reality with examples of successful deployments. Barriers to entry are significantly reduced and some of the early adopters will start to rationalise their complex IT scenarios by having an unprecedented functionality while the competitors are still waiting for their business case approval. 


5. In managing unforeseen future risks consider ‘Standards’

S33.PNGS222.PNGS444.PNG

 

When we closely examine any piece of technology which offers a new paradigm we must look beyond the immediate need, and consider the standards to which cloud applies to SAP applications. For enterprises, this also introduces the risk of getting locked into specific clouds through the use of proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs). Cloud computing encapsulates the growing market momentum for improved standards which will enable cloud environments to work as a single entity. In terms of Platform-as-a-Service, SAP launched Hana Cloud Platform (HCP) as an enabler of organisation to accelerate IT and business cycles built on open standards offering customers an enterprise-ready environment in the SAP cloud. SAP customers need to ensure that their cloud service providers are going to be around for the long haul and that any unforeseen interruptions are not going to have a material impact on their business operations. By choosing a cloud based solution that leads the development of industry standards and/or is closely mirroring global standards the customer is reducing the risks associated with a forced transition to an alternative provider.

Nash Gajic

SAP Cloud Considerations

Posted by Nash Gajic May 26, 2015

This publication is a part of my final semester of Master of Business ERP – SAP University Alliance program at Victoria University and I will use this opportunity to provide a sound basis for considering the form in which Cloud computing can be used for SAP applications and some of the key things to look for on this journey.


Nash Gajic


Over last 40 years SAP has developed a large portfolio of business solutions deploying many different technologies with most of these developed before cloud and virtualisation concepts. In the world of information technology the term cloud has been treated as one of the most common buzz words and despite the fact that cloud computing has been around for many years. Confusion and misconceptions remain across organisations as to how private, public and hybrid clouds exactly work.


1. Cloud Distinctions

2.jpg

 

Cloud computing comes in many variations, however in the most general sense it means that an application, a service or a platform can be used via Internet where users subscribe to a set of services used within that structure.  This implies continuous network access, location independent resources, quick scalability with a rapid release and measurable service levels.


This raises the question of what are cloud deployments and who is managing the different layers? According to cloud management types as illustrated in figure 1, we can clearly differentiate some of the models used, and the scale of personification to which cloud environments can be deployed.

 

3.png

 

Figure 1. Cloud Management Types (Inspired by David Chou,Microsoft)

 

Software as a Service (SaaS) is an application delivery model based on a standard, highly scalable software solution provided to multiple customers, with some basic configuration, with limited or no customisation. SAP’s SaaS deployed solutions like Business by Design, SuccesFactors, Ariba and Concur all share the common benefits of fast and effective deployment with accelerated return on investment, offering vast number of ‘out of the box’ capabilities with lower up-front costs. The analogy of a hand-tailored fully customised versus a generic made reflects not only the different price and the time, but also the degrees of fit to which SaaS is being deployed.


Platform as a Service (PaaS) is an abstraction of software frameworks used with the underlying operating system that allows application development without the knowledge of underlying layers. In simple terms, the cloud customers are managing their applications architecture layer without any need to manage their operating system admin tasks. Microsoft Azure offers a reliable PaaS model which has Web, Storage, Content Delivery, SQL Azure, access controls and the mass utilization of resources. This offers some phenomenal benefits with redundancy built in through the platform using vendor’s architecture scalability. As a result, applications that are scheduled to run in the PaaS model need to be adapted to this environment that may require a certain degree of technical skills required to design feature-rich applications. Important things to consider are the innovation concepts needed to maintain this model building add-ons when developing new solutions. This model contains some natural risks such as cross-platform integration points and ownership of updates. For example PaaS integration may require further tests to sustain business process related transformations, things like routing, application programming interface (API) calls and ongoing integration with other solutions. In simple terms, Microsoft’s approach might not be entirely synchronised with SAP’s and vice-versa.


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) can be defined as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management or service provider interaction (ODCA 2015). Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a typical example of IaaS, where AWS provide server, network, storage resources and gives the customer the choice of operating system. The virtual environments available through AWS behave exactly like local infrastructure enabling the customers to configure the infrastructure according to their demand.

SAP configuration access is done through SAP Cloud Appliance Library (CAL) which is an on-demand solution that allows you to quickly deploy SAP Systems in your cloud account of the supported cloud providers. In my personal experience this can be done rapidly and efficiently using SAP’s pre-configured solutions. Key factors to consider in this instance are security, scalability and availability.


Each deployment model contains characteristics suitable for specific solutions which can be summarised as follows:


4.png

Figure 2. Cloud Computing Definitions (Source: NIST Sept. 2011)


Reviewing the summarised characteristics, it is evident that the each deployment models has its advantages and disadvantages, with the most desirable model being dependent on the organisational requirements and budget. 


2. Security Considerations

5.png

Cloud security is surely the most controversial topic in cloud computing technology and probably the most discussed subject. Confidentiality of data and availability of core applications are of utmost importance for any cloud environment. Data location, portability and business continuity of the vendor, are paramount factors for any organization moving to the cloud.

Data center location plays an important part in considering major U.S. cloud service providers and the USA Patriot Act (“Patriot Act”) which allows U.S. law enforcement and national security agencies unrestricted access to any data, anywhere in time. Privacy fallout from the recently exposed NSA (National Security Agency) surveillance program strongly indicates it is necessary for SAP customers to consider the location of their cloud data centers and their responsibilities within the operating jurisdictions.


Previously discussed concepts of cloud computing are implying that the cloud creates a shared responsibility model between the customer and cloud service provider combining an additional layer into a security framework. This implies that no matter which deployment model customer chose it is crucial to clearly define and understand the responsibilities of each vendor who is part of delivering the service (Missbach et al. 2013).

Cloud security policy considerations should also cover cloud provider’s internal risk framework and policies around intellectual property used in the enhancement of security for the provisioned service. One of the most important objectives is to do a risk assessment that drives the development and implementation of a cloud security policy. The risk assessment should cover an entire enterprise infrastructure containing from the physical access to the data center, through the whole stack up to the database and SAP application itself.


In comparison to traditional landscapes cloud environments are multi-tenancy which in simple terms refers to the concept in which a single instance of a software application serves multiple customers where each customer is called a tenant. A tenant can potentially be any application inside or outside the enterprise that needs its own secure and exclusive virtual computing environment. This environment can consist of all or selected layers of enterprise architecture, from storage to UI. This implies that cloud environments require additional security considerations to achieve acceptable security standards like conventional SAP landscapes. It is important to note that in private clouds the entire responsibility of designing a multi-tenant architecture resides with the organisation.


According to the table below we can clearly differentiate degrees of customer control, and the scale of security considerations for each layer of IaaS offerings:


Infrastructure layer

Public - IaaS

Private Cloud - Hosted

Private Cloud - On Premise

Datacenter

No control

Limited control

Full control

Network

Limited control

No control

Full control

Storage

Limited control

Limited control

Full control

Hyper-visor

No control

Limited control

Full control

Operating System

Limited control

Full control

Full control

Database

Full control

Full control

Full control

Application

Full control

Full control

Full control

Backup/Restore

Limited control

Limited control

Full control


Table 1, Degree of Customer Control  IaaS model (Source:  SAP on Cloud)


Note the degree of control varies as some of the cloud providers may have different restrictions. In order to cover some of the ‘shared responsibility model’ concepts, we will briefly cover Amazon Web Services as the first public cloud supported for the classical business suite by SAP.

Security considerations of Amazon AWS are based on shared responsibility where in simple terms; Amazon takes the responsibility from the virtualization layer down to the physical security of the cloud datacenter facilities. This implies that SAP customer keeps responsibility for the guest operating system, the application software installed including updates and security patches as well as the configuration of the security group firewall provided by AWS. SAP customers can further enhance security by implementing host-based firewalls and intrusion prevention, encryption and ID key management.


3. Service Levels


The objective here is to provide some practical examples of a cloud journey, focusing on the question how to forecast the necessary resources required to fulfil the SLA and how to measure and bill their actual consumption in the cloud.


SAP systems are usually categorised as business critical systems for operational and financial statement purposes in every organisation. In theory cloud computing offers infinite resources; however the reality demonstrates that all the resources have their limitations.

One needs to consider how predictable the total demand is compared to the size of the available cloud environments, with the baseline being the worst case scenario. Considerations must be given to each entity engaged with the clear sets of expectations being defined around cloud provider, cloud user and in particular cloud auditor. The quality of the provided services must be defined in Service Level Agreements (SLA) using measurable criteria so that their adherence can be verified accordingly. A typical SLA will contain levels of service using various attributes such as: availability, performance, operations, billing, and penalties associated with violations of such attributes.


Availability is usually expressed as a percentage over a year period, and unfortunately does not cover the frequency of system downtimes - only the total downtime aggregated over the year (Missbach et al. 2013). In order to define more accurate definition of availability good SLAs should contain alternative measures of availability. In addition the maximum acceptable downtime has to be defined. Performance of an SAP system is defined as the ratio between the available resources and the current load.


This can further be assessed based on the type of the implementation. In case of new SAP implementations (Greenfield) estimating the maximum expected system load is part of the agreed SLA. For existing SAP systems moving to cloud infrastructures the necessary information can be derived from measurements using the most recent SAP Early Watch reports (Missbach et al. 2013). Using tools like SAPS-meter can be of great benefit in providing the necessary data before the migration to a cloud infrastructure, but also for the ongoing monitoring of the SLA and even the automatic generation of billing.


4. Summary 


In concluding my first blog I would like to finish off with a summary of the key criteria that I would consider in an enterprise cloud deployment model:


Business Criticality plays the most important part purely because of the fact that most of the customers cannot afford to experiment with their very core business processes. This weighting of the costs against risks will play critical part in decision making process even in the case of the most comprehensive IaaS offerings (e.g. 99.95 %) where the availability is essential but not entirely sufficient component. IaaS recovery times and recovery times objectives will be a focus point in years to come.


Security has to be treated as a continuous process of engagement. Customers need to decide which type of data can reside in a public cloud and which data needs to reside internally for previously mentioned security reasons. This may not be the easiest task to separate due to potential support limitations (SAP might not support different data stores).


Provision for Performance in terms of SLAs which are measurable and to which control the customer will have the ability to regulate the resource utilisation. Keeping in mind newly encountered issues in cloud computing space, for example – single SAP software component does not scale out (e.g. the SAP database) exceeds the capacity of the maximum size of the cloud service providers virtual server capacity (e.g. virtual memory/CPU) the particular component can potentially have a negative impact on the business processes.

 

Integration is something that I haven’t touched upon in significant level of detail, but it definitely requires serious consideration. SAP’s enterprise reality consists of many customised environments which are heavily integrated with other non-SAP systems. Things to consider are the interface scenarios containing very large data volumes and real replication times which need to be transferred within a given period of time. A clear path converging to one platform which contains critical integration is something that we may expect in the near future.

The enterprise cloud adoption is an absolute game changer and by looking at the SAP hosting market in is rather unlikely that we will see an imminent large scale shift in production environments until some of the major concerns are addressed thoroughly.


References:


Missbach, M., Stelzel, J., Gardiner, C., Anderson, G., Tempes, M 2013, SAP on the Cloud, viewed 6/3/2015, <http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783642312106>

 

Donecken S 2013, ‘The 1-2-3 of Cloud Security at SAP’, SAP Community Network, weblog post, 08 August, viewed 21 May 2015 <http://scn.sap.com/community/cloud/blog/2013/08/07/the-1-2-3-of-cloud-security-at-sap>.

 

Mell P, Grance T. 800-145. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD, (September 2011), viewed 21 May 2015 <http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-145/SP800-145.pdf>.

 

Chou D, 2009, “Types of Clouds’, Windows Azure Platform, viewed 21 May 2015 <http://www.slideshare.net/davidcchou/windows-azure-platform>.

 

Implementing SAP Solutions on AWS 2013, Amazon Web Services, viewed 19 May 2015, <http://awsmedia.s3.amazonaws.com/SAP_on_AWS_Implementation_Guide_v3.pdf>.

 

Proof of Concept: Enterprise Cloud Service Quality. Web. viewed 19 May 2015 <http://www.opendatacenteralliance.org/docs/ODCA-PoC-Ent-Cloud-Service-Quality-Re>.

 

SAP Cloud – Missbach M. Web. viewed 19 May 2015 <http://www.slideshare.net/Pramilanagaraj/sap-cloud-michaelmissbach>.


Special Thanks to:

Tony De Thomasis, Alfonzo Venturi, Professor Paul Hawking and Professor Colin Clark. 

More than 65% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud technologies before 2016

Source: IDC Cloud Predictions https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25350114

 

This is one of many studies and predictions suggesting that most IT organizations will transform into a hybrid landscape in the next couple of years. Just a side note on this: IDC defines hybrid cloud as an integration of internal IT environment with private, hosted or public cloud services.

 

We see the same trend valid for SAP’s customer base, which has become more and more interested in adopting cloud solutions to their on-premise environments.

 

SAP’s customers are able to choose between on premise, cloud and hybrid deployments - a combination of both on premise and cloud. This freedom of choice allow firms to transform at their own pace following their individual business priorities and their markets, which, by the way may change at any time.

 

Picture1.pngA hybrid deployment has several benefits for our customers, since they can keep their highly client specific processes and the mission critical business functionalities on premise, while at the same time support other business areas, where they want to be innovative and fast, with a cloud solution. So, a hybrid deployment model allows our customers to combine the best of both worlds.

 

However, the transformation from an on-premise landscape to a hybrid landscape, where cloud and traditional on-premise systems are integrated seamlessly, is not always as simple as it may seem. There are certain key aspects which need to be considered on this journey, such as integration, operations and security.

 

Known and established principles, especially around operations and security, are still valid – but it is the expansion of the existing options, that comes with cloud, which initially increases the overall complexity. In a hybrid landscape the on-premise systems and the cloud solutions have to be orchestrated together to ensure continuous proper business support.

 

Questions often arise, such as “How do I get there?”, “what does the hybrid deployment model mean for my security and operations teams?” and “how can I ensure sufficient integration between the different environments?” There will not be just one “right” answer to all of these questions, since they are highly company specific.

 

SAP is offering an openSAP course, running over five weeks that will handle these topics and provide you with the key areas to be considered on transforming towards a hybrid landscape. The goal of this openSAP course is to give you an understanding for what running a hybrid landscape means for integration, security and operations and how you can start your own hybrid transformation journey.

 

picture2.png

 

What will be covered in the agenda?

The first week will give you an introduction to the topic of cloud and hybrid deployments and go through the business benefits and drivers, the different deployment options and service models, how SAP is supporting a hybrid deployment model finally go through some typical hybrid customer use cases.

In week two you will get a deep dive into the topic of integration, where we will first give you an overview of the different integration technologies and thereafter comparing them. You will see demos of several different integration scenarios and get information about the best practices of how to set it up.

Week three focuses on the very important topic of security. Many of you may wonder if your data is secure in the public cloud and in this week we will talk about what security aspects you should keep in mind to implement, in order to ensure that your data is secure in a hybrid landscape.

In week four, we will talk about operations. How do your operations change when you come from an on-premise environment and adopt cloud? What do you need to do to prepare your own organization for the transformation?

In week five, the course concludes with the transformation topic. Here we will talk about the new mindset that is necessary to adopt when consuming cloud solutions and the importance of developing a strategy for the transformation. We help you define your transformation drivers and to determine use cases for your hybrid landscape.

 

The openSAP courses are open to the public, so you as a customer, partner, and of course anyone working with SAP are encouraged to sign up for this course, that is free of charge. You have the chance to interact with the experts and exchange ideas and experiences with other participants in the discussion forum. I hope this openSAP course helps you to start your individual cloud transformation within your company.

 

Enjoy the weeks of learning, collaborating, exchanging ideas and sharing experiences! Have a great openSAP course!

                I’ve been working on SAP customer projects in cloud-like environments for the past several years. A large portion of these have been BW on HANA in the cloud. Customers will very often point the finger at HANA as the cause of performance issues after moving their BW to HANA and into the cloud, but HANA is rarely the culprit. The same questions always seem to come up, so I decided to jot down some lessons learned.

 

                We all know that BW by itself doesn’t do much. Referencing the famous picture below, we know that there are multiple interfaces required. We need data sources from which to get the data, whether this SAP or non-SAP sources. Some options to get the data into BW are native BW extractors, SLT or Data Services. Depending on the use case, the implementation could use one or more of these solutions. The open hub services allows the distribution of outbound data, but I don’t have much experience with this. Why would you want to send the data anywhere else if it is sitting on HANA? There must also be a way to consume the data. These can include BEX Analyzer, BEx Web or an integration with BOBJ BI using dashboards, BI Launchpad or Crystal Reports.

 

BW.png

(graphic source: SAP documentation)

 

 

I would say 90% or more of the BW on HANA projects I have been involved in included a BOBJ BI implementation. The other common systems I see deployed are SLT and Data Services. From experience, it makes sense for some of these systems to sit in the same physical location as the BW on HANA. What can seem like HANA performance issues to the customer are more often latency issues between systems.

 

On to some of more interesting bits. I’ll assume HANA and the applications are sized and architected properly. We won’t discuss diagnosing HANA or application performance issues, but potential issues with network latency and bandwidth and how to manage these challenges.

 

I would say an SAP system could be considered a tightly coupled system. What I mean by this is that the database and application tier must sit in the same location and work in concert to ensure smooth operation. On the other hand, I would argue most SAP landscapes can be considered loosely coupled and it is ok to separate the systems by some distance. Although, there are some architecture decisions that need to be made to ensure satisfactory performance in a hybrid cloud environment. When systems are all sitting in the same location connected by a 10G network connection, latency and bandwidth is usually not a concern.

 

Lessons Learned w/ real world examples


SLT

Disclaimer: This is only an example. These numbers were provided during testing by the customer.  


  • SLT is used for real time replication from varying data sources. A typical use case is replicating data from an on premisis ERP, CRM or a 3rd party DB to the BW on HANA in the cloud.
  • SAP’s recommended network connection for SLT is 1Gbps. It can be expensive for a VPN or MPLS line to have so much bandwidth and it is often overkill.
  • Real world scenario of Fortune 500 company with hybrid cloud implementation; HANA, BOBJ BI and SLT in the cloud replicating from on-premisis ERP
    • Initial data load was a concern, so several iterations of testing were performed over a 100Mbps VPN
      • Before optimization, it took 14 hours to replicate ~350,000,000 records
      • After SLT optimization, 7 hours to replicate ~500,000,000
        • No substitute for well optimized SLT system
    • Initial load peaked at 40Mbps of bandwidth
    • After initial load, VPN bandwidth was throttled down to 15Mbps to sufficiently handle real time replication of ~4 records per second.
    • Sizing depends on scenario, but real world numbers are shown just as an example.
  • SLT should be near the target system
    • RFC traffic is compressed by default
      • In above scenario, network team saw a total of 23.23GBs go through VPN tunnel, but total size of all replicated tables was ~100GBs
      • Since VPN is bottleneck, we want as much compression as possible over the connection
    • The DB connection is not compressed.
    • SLT.png
  • In the event of a network failure, the replication will be retried until it completes, but will lead to longer execution times and increased resource usage

 


BOBJ BI w/ BEx

  • Customer had BEx integration with Portal, but portal stayed on premises
    • Users experienced unacceptable response time trying to display reports
    • After much troubleshooting, portal was moved to the cloud next to BW
    • Performance improved dramatically
  • BEx provides a rich web-based reporting interface, but this can come at a cost
    • Common interface from BOBJ to BW is BICS, which is XML that goes through the Java layer for Webi, Crystal, Analysis reports
    • Simple operation such as requesting a list of documents can have 90 individual HTTP requests
    • The bandwidth typically isn’t the issue, but the latency for so much back and forth communication causes delays
    • This is not an issue with low latency connections
  • BEx performance will be best if both the BW and the BOE servers are in the same location
    • This will ensure the best report refresh times
    • Will make latency between BW and BI a non-issue
  • 1733726 - Performance optimization in WAN scenarios with BICS
  • If BEX is integrated with Portal, then portal should sit next to BOBJ BI in the cloud

 

BOBJ Data Services

  • Every implementation that I’ve come across that had BODS in the cloud required a local WTS for BODS Designer
  • There are known issues with Data Services Designer connecting over a WAN
  • BODS development has been aware of this for several versions, but the issue still occurs as of the 1.4 client
  • Only acceptable solution is to put a WTS server with the client tools in the DC where BW and the BODS job server are located
  • May be an option to put BODS on premise, but typically best to put near BW and BOBJ BI

 

Example architecture



architecture.png


I hope this is helpful. Again, this is my experience over many implementations, but would love to hear any experiences others have had with hybrid cloud scenarios.

SAP implementation projects are highly complex projects based on long lists of functional and non-functional requirements with high organizational and IT dependencies. Such projects normally comprise the complete Enterprise Architecture layers of

 

1. Business processes and organizations

2. Data and information flows

3. Application architecture

4. Technology and infrastructure

 

Enterprises need to have a deep transparency into these layers following a complex blueprint and project plan. The project scope normally covers core and context areas of the layers. The value of Cloud contributes in the instant provisioning and inclusion of services  in context areas.

 

Steer up with cloud services

 

With the evaluation of pre-defined services customers can try and test their scope and fit instead of trusting the blueprinting only which heavily reduces risks. It also moves the evaluation phase to the beginning of the project with the requirement engineering instead of having this after initial implementation.

 

 

1. gear: Gain speed on infrastructure and technology


On the technology and infrastructure with ready to use Infrastructure as a as a service (IaaS). Enterprises gain speed by using pre-configured IaaS offerings which already include the service in provisioning and maintaining infrastructure in the exact scalable size and with pre-defined qualities (SLAs). Enterprises can rent or subscribe to these IaaS offering and do not need to purchase and setup the infrastructure themselves which reduces technology and infrastructure use by several weeks or months.

 

  • SAP offers with its SAP HANA Cloud Platform offering Servicer capacity and performance in different packages for monthly subscription.
  • SAP offers with its SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud a fully managed hosting offering which provides productive and non-productive SAP environments with SLAs suitable for implementation projects

 

 

2. gear: Gain speed on application layer

 

On the application architecture layer SAP provides with its

 

  • Cloud Appliance Library (CAL) pre-packaged SAP products which can be directly deployed on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform or in Amazon Web Services. Therefore enterprises do not need to setup the required solution landscape with its latest patches and upgrades themselves but receive a ready-to use core-application platform which can be configured to the specific needs. This reduces the time spend on installation by several days to weeks.
  • With its Pre-Assembly Service for Rapid Deployment Solutions  (RDS) SAP provides the ability for customers to pre-build a template and ready to use solution environment based on customers specific scope by technically harmonizing the required SAP software products and activate the necessary content packages. The template is provided as a virtual image in the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud or it can be deployed in any defined target data center. Customers can start configuring the solution to their needs instead of installing and testing the software themselves. This cuts the technical preparation phase of implementation projects down to 25%. More information can be found on the SAP Service Marketplace (user account required)
  • With the usage of a cloud-based platform as a service (PaaS) such as the SAP HANA Cloud Platform customers can build extensions and customizations outside the standard solution with using a rich platform providing pre-coded code-elements for database and process and analytics capabilities of the underlying core system, APIs and integration adapters. This decreases the implementation time as the reuse of patterns speed up the project without the need to code and test these elements themselves.

 

3. gear: shift data to the lowest complexity

 

Using a data platform as a service (DBaaS) enterprises can use the latest capabilities of designing and maintaining data and information flows.

 

  • With the DBaaS offering as part of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform from customers can use subscribe to the capacity they need with using the standard integration points and maintain the business and data flows through a hosted Solution Manager. This ensures direct execution from process and data modelling to SAP systems without the need to code it. Test scenarios can directly be defined and executed using Testing tools or the SAP Solution Manager capability. This reduces the implementation time up to 50%

 

4.gear: Full speed with standard process usage

 

With the use of software as a service (SaaS) offerings like

 

- SAP Cloud for customers (CRM processes)

- SuccessFactors (HR processes)

- Hybris (marketing, ecommerce processes)

- Ariba (procurement, SRM processes

- Field glass (workforce management processes)

- Concur (travel and expense processes)

 

customers can reuse pre-defined business functionality and integrate it into their business processes instead of rebuilding the functionality. With the adoption of the given process steps it is often quicker to adjust the internal process flow instead of customizing the solution to the internal process. This saves money and time of future functional updates and extensions as backward compatibility is ensured by the vendor and need to be elaborated by the enterprise.

 

Get your tailored roadmap for cloud adoption within a 2 weeks consulting engagement with the Cloud Strategy and Roadmap Service. SAP supports its customer in adopting cloud to their needs with providing the right solution selection, reference architecture, business case and cloud adoption methodology.

 

Decision trees, capability mappings and cloud integration checklists speed up the definition of hybrid landscape between on-premise and cloud-based SAP solution and components as well as third party products. More information on the Cloud Strategy and Roadmap Service can be found on the SAP Service Marketplace (user account required).

It’s difficult to escape the discussion of cloud, on-premise, and hybrid landscapes. But what exactly do these terms mean?

Previously, all systems were on-premise which means they were hosted on servers on the customer’s site and required end users to install software on their computers to run. Cloud systems or software as a service has become a popular choice in recent times. These offerings are hosted on a providers’ server without the need to install software locally, making transactions easier and reflected in real-time. This allows users to work remotely and on mobile devices, benefit from system updates quickly and efficiently, and provides real-time information across all applications and to all users.

 

In order to make the transition from on-premise to cloud a smoother process, companies are opting to use hybrid landscapes as an interim solution – that meanscoursePic.PNG cloud and on-premise systems working together to transition to the cloud without disruption. Businesses and end users have many concerns about changing their system landscapes and fear of the unknown. There are common questions which focus on architectural best practices, integration options, security aspects and how to operate the new environment.

 

With this openSAP course, Transformation to Hybrid Landscapes, you will learn about the benefits of each landscape option to help you make informed decisions about your company’s system landscape, along with best practices and recommendations. You will learn about cloud deployment and service models along with use cases of when customers use cloud, on-premise, or hybrid models. The course will also focus on data privacy and compliance, identity and access management, and interface and network security. Join the experts in the discussion forum to raise questions you may have.

 

The course begins from July 2 and, as with all openSAP courses, is offered free of charge and is open to an unrestricted audience. All you need to sign up is a valid e-mail address.

 

Interested in SAP Business ByDesign? Check out Application Development for SAP Business ByDesign, starting June 3

To reiterate from my first blog (part-1): http://scn.sap.com/community/career-center/blog/2015/04/27/understanding-digital-transformation-in-sis-way:

 

By 2016 80% of the IT decisions involve LoBs:  This will be most influencing factor for all support functions run at back office to support sales and presales teams and to some extend on the individuals at the level of roles they will be playing. This change in IT decision making forces SIs solutions should be focused around individual LoBs concerns and improvement of KPIs involved in their operations rather than traditional integrated solutions.

 

Here we might deviate slightly from people perception to technology but this will still elevate the people perception finally.

 

What will be the focus for LoBs when it comes to decision making?

 

Improved KPIs of their business functions

Leveraging up to date systems and latest technology available in the market

More end user involvement

• Enough visibility of the process in case of cross functions

 

Let us look at some example scenarios which can explain this well:

 

Let us take financial aid systems that governments use to fund education, infrastructure projects etc. needs (Ex: Student Financial aid): Most of these applications are implemented on CRM (With BRF Plus, Web forms as main components) and ECC platform (Fi, PSCD as main component). For different departments targets will be different and may be involving conflict of interest also. Like front office guys KPI might be maximum applications screened/Validated for that academic year at the same time for responsible ministry of the government this might be minimum funds spent for one academic year.

 

Let us take financial aid systems that governments use to fund education, infrastructure projects etc. needs (Ex: Student Financial aid): Most of these applications are implemented on CRM (With BRF Plus, Web forms as main components) and ECC platform (Fi, PSCD as main component). For different departments targets will be different and may be involving conflict of interest also. Like front office guys KPI might be maximum applications screened/Validated for that academic year at the same time for responsible ministry of the government this might be minimum funds spent for one academic year.

 

For front office operations one of the critical pieces here is application form provided to the students. Because of technology limitations these forms might be of BSP, WDA, Adobe forms. Target audience being young generation these applications can’t meet the purpose or expectations of the end users. And for front office guys who validates the applications are constrained by the technology which helps in managing the other departments KPIs better (SAP ECC, CRM combination works better for back office/Finance teams to manage their KPIs).

 

As part of Digital Transformation (basically moving from transactions or system based operations to applications way of managing operations), if the student application is implemented on cloud or on mobile friendly way and integrating the same with BRM for rules management will help front office to manage their operation better at the same time back office can continue with on premise systems helping to manage their KPIs also better. So this hybrid platform can create win-win situation for both departments. Use of BPM (better if cloud based) on top of application processing gives better visibility to both departments by providing insights like what is happening to the processed applications to the front office staff and by providing projections on how many applications will be following for back office actions.

 

Invoicing at manufacturing industry can be another example here, Take the present scenario at a plat where 200-500 trucks need to move out every day and invoices need to be prepared for all these trucks when they arrive at dispatching point.  Most of the times this activity is performed by the staff sitting at dispatch counter, who are not well versed with SAP systems and technology but trained to perform these activities. Sometimes these terminals will have limited network connectivity. As part of our initial SAP projects implementations we have experienced such scenarios in practical where terminals having very limited connectivity or SAP systems having some problem causing huge blockage at main gate with hundreds of trucks waiting to move out.

 

Instead of transaction based operation if a cloud based custom UI5/Fiori app, with use of GPS based tracking and with a proper scheduling calculation, showing trucks information arriving at dispatch bays can provide much effective platform to perform these operations.

 

Hence if SIs can help customers to move from integrated platforms to componentized application platforms, their solutions can be more attractive to LoBs and help them winning the situation. May be BPM, BRM and Mobile platforms (on premise or preferably Cloud based) will help in creating such solutions. May be here we observer the significance of  MBOs (Mini Business object) structures which helps in creating applications in more modularized way.  In the previous examples may be use of Gateway which is representing backend objects with an abstract services is almost playing the same role without data storage capability at staging level. But the application architecture principles will going forward force us to have such staging areas with data storage capabilities. So this will be one of the areas SIs can use their expertise and come up with such solutions. I can foresee HCP database will be playing this role and to some extend it is already in practice also.

 

BlogPic1.png

This is something inline with what S/4Hana offering as  per the technical insight detailed in : http://diginomica.com/2015/02/15/sap-s4hana-deeper-analysis-technical-side/

 

 

This is where people on the ground(Directly) and SIs support structures alignment(indirectly) make a difference having knowledge of operational issues and should be able to read the situation and by applying digital transformation principles effectively. So to meet these needs of the customers SIs back office planning should be aligned and well-armed with architects pools with different streams  who can stand up to the situation  and provide ad-hoc solutions and at the same time help SIs to be equipped with all required solutions while approaching the customers.

 

In the next blog we will see more on back office support structure alignments like what kind of architect pools, SIs can build to meet these digital transformation needs of customers. This might touch upon required changes from conventional Solution Architects understanding (Functional SMEs as Solution architects) of SIs to modern Social Solution Architects (Technology oriented people as SSAs) , as this Digital transformation has to address the technology driven disruption and handle the issues that are social in nature.

Actions

Filter Blog

By author:
By date:
By tag: