As companies try and tackle the adoption and implementation of cloud within their environments, it becomes a necessity to form a strategy around the approach. This approach will baseline and provide a framework for the various dependencies tied to cloud – a common pitfall amongst current adopters. As cloud early adopters, particularly of its own solutions, SAP IT learned the importance of a strategy harmonizing the business and the technical components in order to reach a successful cloud deployment.
Let’s start from the beginning, what “Cloud” means for SAP. Cloud Computing has become the latest buzzword within the IT community. It since has grown into a phrase that can describe a broad range of technologies in the fields of: Automation, Applications, Platforms, Networking, Virtualization, and Storage. SAP currently aligns its definition of Cloud Computing with NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) which defines the technology as: “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” (Mell & Grance). SAP has begun to align all of its software offerings with the current market demand and trends of cloud technology as well grow in the cloud space with acquisitions such as Ariba and Successfactors. In order to stay competitive in the marketplace, SAP has begun external offerings of SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) to its diverse customer base supporting large organizations/international corporations in their core business operations. The goal of these technologies is to:
- Provide SaaS applications to extend our leadership in business software to the cloud.
- Provide PaaS capabilities to allow our customers and ecosystem to extend existing and create new solutions.
As SAP has become a key player within the Cloud industry in terms of SaaS and PaaS, making it ever more important for its own user base to adopt solutions such as: HCM (Successfactors), Travel OnDemand, Virtualization (Landscape Virtualization Manager, Cloud Appliance Library) and Collaboration (SAP JAM). In order to do this SAP IT had to transform its core competency from a traditional functional/operational (see figure 1.1) role to a strategic advisor; this has been a key factor for success in recent cross reaching technology implementations such as Cloud, Mobile and Big Data.
SAP IT was required to demonstrate success in the cloud in two ways, a cost/efficiency benefit as well as a technological/functional benefit. By initially tying our IT business strategy (Financial Models, Sourcing, Risks) together with our technology strategy (Functionality, Self Service, Hybrid Approach) we were able to clearly show the traceability of using SAP and non SAP cloud solutions within our environment to our key stakeholders.
This year at SAPPHIRE NOW our SAP runs SAP cloud experts can diagram the transformation of our IT department as well as the benefit of a comprehensive strategy and how all of this has tied specifically to the successful use of SAP Cloud Solutions in order to support our internal customer base.