We love the SAP HANA cloud, and so do our customers, but we recognize that a lot of SAP ERP users aren’t exactly excited about the SAP migrating process. With so much riding on the success of your SAP migration, many companies would prefer not to take the risk. If not for the 2025 deadline (after which SAP will no longer support non-HANA databases), we’d expect to see a lot of them staying put on their existing DB platform and application version.
But by transforming your landscape, SAP HANA has the potential to unlock major benefits for your business. With S/4HANA cloud additions like real time analytics, improved application support and an intuitive UI, your company can be more productive, competitive and agile.
But there’s a hitch: a successful SAP implementation requires careful planning, meticulous testing and (for most companies) the help of a highly experienced partner. If you want HANA to be transformative, you need to treat it as more than just another update.
Why SAP HANA Cloud?
Companies are worried. They have a massive transformation they’re forced to undergo, requiring a significant investment of time and money. The time and cost of an SAP HANA implementation vary depending on your existing landscape, hosting choices (the SAP HANA cloud is significantly less costly) and other factors, but 24 months of planning and migration and a TCO over $280,000 isn’t unusual for a SAP cloud migration — and with major functional work, the cost can be quite a bit higher.
But for many companies, fear of change is the bigger obstacle to SAP HANA cloud migration. There are often very good reasons for this. A lot of SAP users are in legacy ERP systems they’ve been using for decades and have grown to trust. They often haven’t had great luck with relatively minor digital transformations in the past, and now they have a much bigger, higher-stakes SAP project to execute. They may have extensive code customizations, large data silos with inconsistent formatting, and other complex challenges that have to be dealt with, before they can move.
Faced with all of these challenges, it can be tempting to just check the cheapest box — to find a lowball provider, hand them the keys to your landscape, close your eyes and hope it’s all over soon.
But if you look at HANA migration as just a cost to contain, you can end up making your project more risky, not less. Not only will you miss out on a transformative opportunity, you’ll likely end up gambling on a provider without the requisite SAP HANA cloud expertise and experience.
Why You Should Approach SAP HANA Upgrade as an Opportunity
The problem is, HANA isn’t a checkbox solution — it’s a chance to align your strategic and business needs with a custom-built, one of a kind landscape. With the right technical and functional teams, you can benefit greatly from the performance and analytic power of HANA (something we’d love to show you in our SAP HANA proof of concept lab). We’ve pulled off some incredible things for our customers — from cutting BW ODS load time from 45 minutes to under a minute, to pulling and manipulating transactional level data 25 times faster.
The organization-level improvements of SAP HANA cloud are even more impressive than the raw speed boost. An SAP HANA migration can enable dramatic transformations, tailored to the needs of your company. For example, as a manufacturer of ultra-luxury electric vehicle, Karma Automotive needed to be able to scale and adopt new technologies rapidly, with minimum disruption and downtime. A Symmetry and HPE S/4HANA solution allowed Karma Automotive to shatter the HANA virtualization limit, and scale within minutes to meet their growth and innovation needs.
However, all of these gains depend on good project management, from gaining stakeholder input to post go-live SAP HANA performance tuning. To support all the moving parts of your company, your SAP HANA cloud need to be designed to unite business processes, strategic goals and technical needs, and executed with a fanatical attention to detail.
If you hire a team that does a slapdash job, you’ll face long-term problems that dwarf any short-term savings on SAP HANA cloud implementation. Insufficient testing can cause dramatic disruption on go live, bringing the business to a standstill and even necessitating a rollback. Poor sizing or lack of tuning lead to ongoing performance slowdowns or even outages, harming productivity and increasing churn. This can increase maintenance and operational costs, and even necessitate remediation projects, increasing disruption and driving up TCO.
What SAP HANA Cloud Can Do For You
SAP HANA performance benefits don’t just make things run faster — they can transform how you do business. With HANA’s ability to crunch vast amounts of data extremely quickly, businesses can avail themselves of real-time analytics, and tackle sophisticated big data projects that would have been prohibitively resource-intensive before HANA.
There are also dramatic improvements in UI with SAP Fiori and Screen Personas. Fiori allows users to tackle most business roles far more easily and efficiently. Tasks that once required a mouse and a keyboard (and a lot of patience!) can be performed with a few clicks from any mobile device.
SAP S/4HANA further increases the benefits of adaptation, with an array of cutting-edge applications for different business applications. Financial management, accounting, logistics, warehouse management and other business applications have been rebuilt from scratch for HANA, resulting in better analytics, throughput, and functionality.
Like any modern ERP landscape, HANA is an ongoing project, with the provider frequently releasing new versions, as well as minor patches and upgrades. However, a range of recent developments make this a fantastic time to move to the SAP HANA cloud.
The release of the newest version of SAP’s Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), Solution Manager 7.2, has simplified the HANA migration process. The software now supports single-stack HANA deployment, and provides significant improvements in UI and functionality. Fiori makes it easier to group and analyze metrics for instantaneous insight into application performance, usage, and other factors across your landscape, and reusable templates save work and ensure standardization across complex projects.
The next generation cloud increases the benefit of SAP HANA cloud migration. Users can now harness extensive cloud automation, combined with the security and performance of the private cloud. The next-gen cloud can also handle diverse workloads economically, allowing you to shrink your vendor portfolio — and the oversight and integration costs that come with it.
And although it’s not the last minute, the 2025 deadline isn’t as far away as it seems. It’s likely we’ll soon see a stampede of users trying to make it to the SAP HANA cloud in time. That will make it harder to select the right talent for your SAP migration, and schedule it to minimize disruption, and may increase costs. You’re much better off beating the crowd.
How the Right Partner Can Help
An SAP HANA cloud migration is a true test of teamwork and experience. It’s where strategic executive insight meets the rank-and-file concerns of the ground floor, and the innovative problem solving of developers meets the meticulous testing and attention to details of your functional team.
With the right combination of industry insight, business acumen and real-world experience, your SAP HANA cloud implementation team can transform your business. Choose the right partners.