Beyond infrastructure: How to approach business transformation at startup speed

Steven Jones is a Technology Director and KK Ramamoorthy is an SAP Digital Consultant at Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Our customers are seeing big business benefits by moving their SAP workloads to AWS. For example, Visy, a leading packaging and recycling company in Australia, is seeing performance improvements of up to 46% and provisioning times for SAP deployments reduced to days versus weeks or months after moving their SAP systems to AWS. Many other customers that have also migrated their SAP workloads to AWS are seeing similar benefits (see the case studies).

While these are tangible and important business benefits, the move to AWS is often just the first step in our customers’ innovation journeys. After they build a foundation on AWS infrastructure, customers are working to transform their entire businesses, and save money, experiment, and go to market more quickly with applications that can extend or integrate with their SAP investments.

We see customers working to realize their own business transformations by focusing on four pillars: Big data & analytics, IoT, Apps & APIs, and DevOps. All of these focus areas are supported by a strong foundation of machine learning and compute services on AWS. Many of these solutions themselves can be built directly on AWS or by using SAP Cloud Platform (SCP), which is available in four AWS Regions around the globe.

Diving into details, here are the opportunities that we see for you in realizing your business’s transformation journey using the four pillars, and we invite you to come see them in action at SAPPHIRE NOW.

Big data & analytics

Data is produced everywhere. A Veritas report, however, found that 52% of data remains as dark data. That is, only 48% of produced data is collected and classified, while only 15% of that is analyzed to gain insights and drive actions. Imagine the potential if you could ingest all this data into data lakes, and subsequently cleanse and analyze it with powerful analytical tools.

A survey by Aberdeen in 2017 found companies that implement a data lake outperform similar companies by 9% in organic revenue growth. You can build your data lakes on AWS using these services:

See the customer stories on big data & analytics with AWS.

Internet of Things (IoT)

If you knew the state of everything and could reason on top of that data, what problems would you be able to solve? This is the question many of our customers are asking when it comes to business processes powered by IoT. AWS IoT Core provides the underlying technology for you to achieve the business outcomes you seek from knowing the state of everything.

With AWS IoT, you can deploy, secure, and manage your devices at scale, perform computing and machine learning inference at the edge using AWS Greengrass and AWS Lambda, and run sophisticated analytics on massive volumes of IoT data using AWS IoT Analytics. Check out some really interesting customer stories on IoT with AWS.

Apps & APIs

Apps power the enterprise. Customers and employees increasingly ask for simpler ways to transact business processes. They want the flexibility to access data from a variety of devices. In fact, Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. “Voice first” apps are becoming a reality, and your users are expecting the same with enterprise applications.

Moreover, we are hearing from our customers that they don’t want to customize their core business applications due to increased complexity and maintenance costs. Rather, they are looking at extending SAP functionality using cloud applications by consuming core SAP functionality as APIs and building custom extensions as microservices that scale as demand grows.

With Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), you can deploy and orchestrate your Docker container apps, securely access your SAP services using Amazon API Gateway and Lambda, build data-driven web and mobile apps using AWS AppSync and AWS Mobile Hub, and federate user identity across all services using Amazon Cognito. See our customer stories on Apps & APIs with AWS.


DevOps is the combination of processes and tools to increase an enterprise’s agility in building and deploying technology solutions at a rapid pace. Automation is one of the core components of DevOps. Treating infrastructure as code provides a unique opportunity for customers to automate many pieces of SAP operations within AWS. You can increase your business’s agility with the following services:

Explore our customer stories on DevOps with AWS.

Building on a strong foundation

To support your innovation ambitions, AWS solutions are built on a solid foundation of compute, storage, and network capabilities with machine learning connecting all facets of the solution.

With Amazon SageMaker you can build, train, and deploy your own machine learning models quickly without having to worry about the infrastructure. For a vast majority of your machine learning use cases, you can use out-of-the-box solutions like Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Lex, Amazon Comprehend, Amazon Translate, Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Polly, and AWS DeepLens that are only an API call away.


Not sure how to use these services and fine-tune them to suit your specific business needs? Fear not! We have been busy building sample applications and proof of concepts in our internal labs to showcase these capabilities, and we will happily share them with you at SAPPHIRE NOW.

We have a whole set of demos lined up for you, including:

  • Customer recognition using AWS DeepLens – Recognize a customer using facial recognition and pull up the SAP customer record automatically for the customer service agent to provide a personalized experience for your customers.
  • Product recognition using AWS DeepLens – Build a custom machine learning model using Amazon SageMaker to recognize a product, match it with the SAP product catalog, and automatically pull up the product information for placing an order.
  • API enablement for SAP – End-to-end mobile application built using AWS AppSync that integrates with a backend SAP system using API Gateway and enriches the user experience using image recognition with Amazon Rekognition, chatbot functionality with Amazon Lex, and 3D product catalog access using Amazon Sumerian.
  • SAP serverless refresh – SAP system refreshes are considered to be the most time-consuming and error-prone task in any SAP landscape, but with AWS serverless services like AWS Step Functions and Lambda, you can fully automate and bring consistency to your SAP system refreshes. Visit our booth to learn more about the solution.
  • AWS SMS for SAP migrations – Migrating your virtualized SAP applications is much easier than you think. In fact, if you know how to schedule a job, you can easily migrate your virtualized SAP applications to AWS. AWS Server Migration Service (AWS SMS) also gives you the capability to migrate your SAP applications incrementally, which significantly reduces downtime.
  • Serverless SAP data lake – Execute queries from SAP HANA to an Amazon S3-based data lake in a serverless manner with Athena. You can use this feature to build analytics on SAP HANA and combine data from the data lake without inserting data to SAP HANA.
  • SAP HANA high availability setup – SAP HANA high availability (HA) setup based on SLES for SAP requires manual execution of steps and is complex to configure manually. In an on-premises scenario, this can easily take a couple of days to configure. We will show you how you can build a two-node HA cluster for SAP HANA on AWS in under 40 minutes.
  • And many more…

For example, here is a diagram of a sample AWS DeepLens use case with SAP:

AWS provides a broad and feature-rich set of services that let you give your customers the best possible experience. These services help you explore new business opportunities, provide scaled customer experiences, and save money, not just with SAP, but also with the applications that surround it— all core to your business.

Visit our Build On bar in the AWS booth at SAPPHIRE NOW to experience these feature-rich demos or leverage 1:1 time and an SAP on AWS expert to innovate your own custom solution. For more information on where to find us, see the Amazon Web Services at SAPPHIRE NOW website. Not attending SAPPHIRE NOW? Feel free to contact us directly for more information. Hope to see you soon and Build On!