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Building a Business Case for SAP on AWS to Unlock New Value for the Enterprise

By Navjot Sharma, Sr. Manager at Deloitte Consulting
By Manas Srivastava, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect at AWS

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When done right, cloud adoption can increase your speed to innovate, enable cloud security controls to protect your assets, and offer transformative opportunities for your business. Leveraging SAP solutions in the cloud provides a platform for unlocking new value for the enterprise.

This post will explain how to build a business case for running SAP on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and how Deloitte can help guide this migration. Deloitte is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Premier Consulting Partner and Managed Services Provider (MSP) with the AWS SAP Competency.

We’ll also explore how organizations can realize the agility and scalability benefits offered by the AWS platform, and access advanced technologies to derive additional value from their data, including machine learning, predictive analytics, and stream processing.

These potential benefits enable AWS customers to make better decisions, envision new business models, and unlock previously unimagined sources of value.

Cloud-Enabled Transformation

Organizations that adopt enterprise resource planning (ERP) software often find the experience to be transformational, giving them new levels of operational insight and leaps in efficiency.

Over time, however, these applications accumulate technical debt and can hold organizations back from realizing the benefits of evolution enabled by new technologies—particularly the rapidly maturing realm of cloud infrastructure.

AWS offers organizations increased speed of deployment, operational agility, software integration options, and flexible cost management. SAP understands this and is evolving its portfolio to take advantage of the AWS Cloud’s flexibility and economics.

SAP’s next-generation SAP S/4HANA digital core runs on cloud infrastructure and leverages the power of SAP HANA’s real-time transactional/analytical database to enable the business agility demanded by digital transformation.

Accelerating the Shift to SAP HANA on Cloud-Native Architecture

The partnership between AWS and SAP goes back more than a decade. Not only is SAP one of AWS’s largest customers, but more than 5,000 customers run SAP on AWS. More than half of those businesses are using SAP HANA-based solutions.

SAP is encouraging its customers to adopt SAP HANA on a cloud-native architecture. The company has been transparent about its plans to accelerate this shift by ending support for legacy applications after 2027 in favor of SAP S/4HANA.

While customers will still have the option of running SAP HANA on-premises after that time, migrating to SAP HANA in the cloud will help companies realize the full range of scalability benefits and enhanced software offerings. This deadline provides a finite amount of time for customers to migrate, but it’s important they begin thinking through the process right now.

The companies that take advantage of the opportunity to modernize can realize the transformational advantages of scalable, reliable, and automated cloud infrastructure, while potentially relieving themselves of the need to buy, test, provision, and maintain their own hardware and software.

Deloitte calls these organizations “kinetic enterprises,” a term that encompasses their ability to quickly adapt to change by overcoming the operational inertia that can occur when technology holds back progress.

The potential benefits of migrating legacy ERP systems to a cloud-native architecture are many. Cloud service providers assume responsibility for managing underlying infrastructure, removing the cost and complexity from their customers’ shoulders. Customers pay only for the resources they use, and can choose among a wide variety of configuration options.

For example, you can select SAP HANA Certified Instances of up to four nodes and totaling 48 TB of memory for online transaction processing and up to 100 TB for online analytical processing.

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Enterprise-Class Monitoring and Management

Leveraging resources like Amazon CloudWatch and AWS Systems Manager through Deloitte’s Open Cloud platform make enterprise-class monitoring and management features available to every customer, regardless of size.

Customers have access to a rich set of field-tested applications in areas like data warehousing, data lakes, supply chain management, blockchain, and machine learning—all without the need to pay license fees or to install and test software.

Reduced storage costs and added flexibility are achievable through resources like Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes, a type of durable, block-level storage device that can be attached to a single Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance for data that requires frequent updates.

Customers can flexibly shift Online Transactional Processing (OLTP) storage choices between general-purpose SSD (gp2) and the high-performance provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) to obtain the optimal balance of speed and cost and to take advantage of lower-cost Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon S3 Glacier options.

Infrastructure-as-a-Code (IaaC) templates can be built to provision resources and automate the SAP installation consistently and repeatably. The AWS Quick Start for SAP HANA enables customers to deploy fully functional SAP HANA systems on AWS based upon best practices in less than an hour.

Developers can take advantage of modern, cloud-native platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments that support the latest automation tools and rapid development techniques to build services that easily integrate with the full range of the AWS application portfolio.

Upgrades and patches are simplified through the availability of cloud-based “sandbox” environments that duplicate the production environment and enable customers to test changes on their own schedule without buying and installing hardware. Customers can use AWS Systems Manager, for example, to upgrade SAP HANA instances at scale without incurring downtime.

Enabling a Modern Cloud-Powered Digital Business

Deloitte’s Open Cloud powered by AWS provides customers with an enterprise-level platform that integrates various AWS tools to provide best of monitoring, automation, security, compliance, and account management features.

Some of the key services provided by Deloitte Open Cloud include:

  • Build automation
  • Incident and problem management
  • Account management services
  • Infrastructure services and network support
  • Application/data migration
  • Availability monitoring
  • Security and compliance management

Deloitte can help you move fast, with a host of proprietary tools and preconfigured SAP solutions to get you up and running quickly. Some of Deloitte’s customers have saved up to 30 percent on costs while improving time to market by 35 percent.

Migration at Your Own Pace

Migrating operational systems to new platforms can be a complex process. Some organizations may choose to first move existing workloads to a comparable operating environment in the cloud without restructuring.

Other customers want to immediately take advantage of the benefits of SAP S/4HANA, and move from ECC or other legacy ERP products to S/4HANA as part of their migration. This gives them all the cost-effectiveness and agility benefits that are gained from moving any application to AWS, while also allowing them to take advantage of the significant improvements in functionality and performance inherent in S/4HANA.

With Deloitte Safe Passage, you can start clearn on SAP S/4HANA using a disciplined methodology along with templates, software tools, and proven playbooks based on years of SAP cloud migrations. We call this approach Safe Passage.

Whether undertaking a “brownfield” migration from a legacy SAP ECC system or a “greenfield” installation of an entirely new SAP S/4HANA business suite, customers should seek a target environment that enables them to take advantage of the full range of cloud services.

A clean start with safe passage also enables companies to take advantage of the built-in redundancies of the cloud platform while removing any single points of failure that can disrupt service. Migrated applications benefit from AWS-native features in areas such as recovery, interoperability, performance, security, and availability.

Applications are often faster, more resilient, and operate more efficiently in the cloud than on legacy infrastructure.

Deloitte can help identify key business transformation goals for an organization and recommend a safe passage to S/4HANA that suits an organization’s near- and long-term strategic business and technology goals.

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Extending the SAP Resource – The Art of the Possible

Digital transformation requires real-time decisions. Customers running a cloud-native SAP S/4HANA environment on AWS can gain immediate access to nearly 200 distinct services that extend the technology so you can derive more value from your SAP investments.

These services includes:

  • Customers can integrate streaming data into their SAP HANA platform and data lake using Amazon Kinesis or Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka. Learn more about building data lakes with SAP on AWS.
  • For customers deploying intelligent devices, AWS offers products that aid in provisioning, securing, managing, and analyzing data from the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • AWS’s suite of mobile support products enables customers to build, test, deploy, and manage mobile apps from the cloud and tap into personalization technology.

These are just a few examples of the power and versatility of the cloud in adding value to your SAP resource. Building, testing, and supporting even a fraction of these capabilities on-premises would be prohibitively complex for nearly any company, but cloud customers can take advantage of them at any time, paying only for what they use.

Partnering with a Migration Expert

Working with a skilled and experienced partner can help mitigate risk and uncertainty. Expert partners can help customers evaluate their existing application portfolio, analyze the full range of cloud deployment options and identify challenges that need to be addressed. Deloitte’s analysis also models both migration and operational costs so customers have absolute clarity about their decisions.

Deloitte’s planning process covers current and future business needs like compliance, vendor relationships, business/IT growth models, and financial considerations. Workshops are held with all stakeholders to develop a migration strategy and roadmap, along with detailed steps and timetables for the fastest possible migration with the least downtime.

From there, Deloitte works to build a strategic cloud operating model that aligns business needs with decisions about infrastructure and application deployment. Training and ongoing support for IT staff also is a critical consideration, since the mechanics of managing cloud applications are quite different from managing on-premises infrastructure.

Among the factors to consider when choosing a migration partner is the company’s track record with both the software to be migrated and the target cloud platform. Ideally, the company should have extensive experience in your industry and the geographic reach to enable your organization to work with local experts. Partners also have tools and methodologies to support the migration based upon their work with other clients.

Deloitte’s SAP practice includes more than 23,400 professionals worldwide. The company has received three consecutive SAP Pinnacle Awards for SAP S/4HANA, as well as other top awards from SAP.

Deloitte, whose practice spans 150 countries and nearly every major industry category, leverages an array of powerful tools to help customers with cloud migration and ongoing operations:

  • The ATADATA cloud management platform encompasses a suite of scalable and automated solutions to streamline mapping, migration, and management of enterprise-class workloads. ATADATA enables customers to identify workloads to migrate, automatically provisions infrastructure, streamlines the cutover process, and provides built-in data protection and recovery across any combination of public, private, and hybrid clouds.
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  • Deloitte’s Open Cloud powered by AWS automates and accelerates leading practices in the areas of application management, infrastructure management, service management, risk/compliance, optimization, security, and automation. These can be delivered to the client’s chosen cloud management platform or on Open Cloud.
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  • Safe Passage is a new portfolio of services and solutions that helps SAP customers migrate to SAP S/4HANA on AWS, while taking advantage of AWS machine learning, IoT, analytics, and other services designed to maximize SAP investments. Whether moving from SAP ECC or implementing a new SAP S/4HANA system, Safe Passage can help facilitate safe, and expedient migration.

Making Cloud the Solution

E&J Gallo Winery, a leading manufacturer and distributor of alcoholic beverages in the United States, implemented SAP S/4HANA on AWS with Deloitte.

The business transformation program was designed to enhance current capabilities and create sustainable, profitable growth. The implementation involved replacing Gallo’s legacy applications with a modern, scalable platform comprising SAP S/4HANA at its core.

The SAP S/4HANA environment and other production systems have been architected with a fully redundant, high-availability design based on the SAP high-availability reference architecture for SAP S/4HANA, and AWS Well-Architected design principles using multiple AWS Availability Zones and Regions.

Gallo’s architecture includes fully automated failover and fail-back within the SAP clusters, as well as a disaster recovery environment in a separate region that is synchronized with production via HANA system replication.

Benefits gained by Gallo include:

  • Single source of truth for financial reporting.
  • Reduction of manual tasks and overall efficiency improvements.
  • Procurement automation with end-user experience simplification.
  • Effective sales order tracking through a global order management solution across diverse channels.
  • Standardized core operational processes and a scalable technology platform.

Gallo chose AWS as the platform for SAP instead of a traditional on-premises approach for high availability and went live on schedule. It was a business transformation program to enhance current capabilities and to create sustainable, profitable growth, and shows the ability to deploy S/4 HANA in a high availability architecture on AWS.

Summary

Many organizations will find the migration to S/4HANA in the cloud to be as transformative as their initial adoption of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Choosing trusted providers that understand both your business needs and technology environment is the shortest path to value.

Deloitte’s collaboration with AWS helps clients accelerate their ability to achieve digital transformation and powerful insights-based outcomes with SAP S/4HANA and the SAP HANA platform. Collectively, we are dedicated to helping you realize value fast with confidence. Test drive SAP S/4HANA with your production data in 5-8 weeks.

Learn what Deloitte and AWS can do for your business, including the FAST/4 program for accelerating your SAP S/4HANA transformation journey.
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