Some say it’s just a sweetener for moving to a subscription-based model, but RISE with SAP is more than a buzzword, and the journey from cloud-first to cloud-only offers some interesting perspectives for companies wanting to become true kinetic enterprises.
RISE with SAP is not a new product, nor is it a new service; rather, it’s a bundling of existing assets to help companies accelerate their cloud strategy for their core platform. It is no wonder that RISE with SAP, which was only launched in 2021, is still surrounded by a lot of different opinions: from being labelled as a marketing stunt and a hidden incentive to move to a subscription-based model – to being talked of as a gamechanger in the ERP market and a ground-breaking enabler of digital transformation.
Cutting to the chase, RISE with SAP is not only a buzzword, and depending on many factors – especially whether SAP is a greenfield or brownfield project for the company – the RISE assets collectively offer many possibilities for fulfilling the ambition of becoming an intelligent and responsive enterprise, enabled by a clean core, modern cloud technology and an inclusive ecosystem of digital capabilities.
At the same time, the RISE concept marks SAP’s shift from a cloud-first to a cloud-only strategy that has been long underway and probably will further materialise in the coming years as more and more SAP applications and services will only be made available in the cloud.
Let’s look at the basics first. What is RISE with SAP?
Firstly, RISE with SAP is a subscription service offering that combines a set of SAP products and services with SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) and S/4 HANA Cloud as the main components, allowing companies to run their core business platform on cloud infrastructure in either an SAP data centre or a hyperscaler (or several hyperscalers) of their choice.
Secondly, since RISE with SAP is a subscription service. Companies can turn IT operations into an operational expense (OpEx), as opposed to a capital expense (CapEx), avoiding the need for a large upfront investment and replacing it with predictable monthly fees. For some CFOs, this will undoubtedly be seen as a favourable situation and a means to keep costs under control. For large companies typically choosing private cloud options within hyperscalers, both CapEx and OpEx are possibilities for implementation costs, maximising the flexibility for the CFO.
Thirdly, by bundling infrastructure and software in a single contract, many CIOs will find it easier to navigate the complexities of a cloud hybrid landscape. Moreover, we’re seeing SAP expand its footprint of licenses to not only include its cloud but also other managed services, which again is a selling point for many CIOs who are eager to see their organisations gain easy access to a complex digital ecosystem.
The foundation of a kinetic enterprise
Getting a full overview of the possibilities of a cloud-based SAP solution is, of course, a large endeavour, but a conceptual starting point for doing so could be the Joint Reference Architecture developed by SAP in collaboration with Deloitte, which builds on six essential layers from core ERP modernisation to customer experience. By addressing the foundational needs in each layer, the architecture can take at least some of the legwork and guesswork out of IT framework development, systems mapping, solution specifications and guidelines.
What’s really revolutionary here – and where we are already seeing major breakthroughs among our clients – is the SAP Integration Suite in layer 3 and SAP Extension Suite in layer 4, both facilitating a whole new level of connectivity and flexibility, allowing companies to adopt industry-specific and outcome-specific solutions even beyond the SAP ecosystem while maintaining a clean digital core.
Just think of one of our major corporate clients that went from more than 1,000 legacy ECC customisations to less than 50 with the use of SAP Business Technology Platform.
From across the pond in our North American practice, you can read the Wall Street Journal interview with chemical company Albemarle’s CIO, Patrick Thompson, as he talks about creating a single ERP platform at a record speed, thereby eliminating the technical debt from more than 3,500 legacy customisations.
That shows you the power of a connected cloud ecosystem, and how it can make an organisation more resilient, flexible and ready for the next disruption.
And that’s really the compelling message to leaders across the Nordics: Who wouldn’t want an organisation that is built on a comprehensive, holistic architecture, that enables end-to-end business processes, connects seamlessly to data and systems, and facilitates enterprise analytics and extensibility, all with a consistent user experience?
For companies with no previous SAP installation, a cloud solution is, by all means, the obvious solution and default choice in today’s fast-paced business environment. For companies that already have a well-functioning on-premise SAP solution, of course there might be other considerations before embarking on the cloud journey, and many factors to consider.
However, what’s worth remembering, and I’ve said this before, is that organisations operating older monolithic SAP solutions are, at best, lagging behind their more-nimble digital competitors – and that’s of course an important element in any cloud discussion.
Today, we’re already seeing companies that are slowly, but steadily, using the SAP cloud universe to operate more efficiently and innovate more rapidly. They are turning finance and procurement into generators of value through real-time, data-driven insights. They are building seamless and irresistible customer experiences. And they’re adopting industry- and outcome-specific solutions like never before – all while connecting the individual pieces to create an integrated digital ecosystem.
Admittedly, it’s only the beginning… but that’s exactly what it is: It’s only the beginning!
Ask me about: SAP, S / 4 HANA, Digital transformation, IT strategy, Program management, Digital Finance function, Cloud David is a partner in Deloitte and the Nordic manager of our SAP business. David has worked with SAP since 1997 and thus has more than 20 years of experience with transformation programs, where the underlying theme is SAP and financial optimization. David helps and advises Danish as well as Nordic companies with digital transformations and implementation of SAP.