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7 criteria for selecting the right cloud model for your SAP environment

Paul Smitherman |

Cloud adoption is a broad strategy that put simply means you are not going to use your own hardware or your own data centre to run your business.

Cloud offers many advantages to organisations, with the potential to increase performance, enhance security, governance and compliance and drive a more agile business. But selecting the right cloud model is key to your business success and there are many options, vendors and configurations to choose from which can be confusing.

Many of our customers who are in the midst of upgrading their ERPs and/or migrating to SAP S/4HANA are taking this opportunity to shift to the cloud. Our goal is to ensure their cloud decisions align effectively with their corporate objectives and reduce any potential risks.

Selecting the right cloud model for your SAP environment

To help you decide how to approach the role that the cloud will play in your organisation, here are 7 criteria that you should consider when making your cloud selection:

1/ Functional scope of your SAP application

Some cloud models have a different functional scope to others so it’s important to consider your actual requirements. For example, SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials Edition has a more limited scope than the full version of SAP S/4HANA.

Within functional scope you should decide what industries and languages you’ll require, as not all of them are supported. You may need English as the main corporate language but require local operations to be able to run in local languages on SAP. You may need SAP’s model company on top of standard best practices for your industry-specific templates.

Which partner you choose will also be factor in deciding which cloud model to go for, as you will need to check their certifications and technical expertise. And you will also need to consider any 3rd party software add-ons and how they will work with the various cloud options.

2/ Implementation approach

If you are migrating with a greenfield approach then any cloud model will be suitable, but if you are converting via a brownfield approach you would need to check availability for the conversion.

3/ Your business cloud strategy

Cloud means standardisation and you will typically be limited in customising your set up. There is some flexibility in your set up and extensions however, but this will depend on what cloud model you choose. With extensibility in SAP you can add some custom code logic, however modifications where the SAP code is changed are not usually encouraged.

4/ Innovation cycle

Regular release upgrades are a typical feature of the cloud innovation cycle. Although getting new features and functionality is seen as an advantage for many, there are some considerations. For each upgrade, there will be requirements to test it, upgrade your working structure, train staff and align business processes. Organisations will have their own corporate procedures for release upgrades but there will be some parameters to work with, such as minimum upgrade frequency and upgrade entitlements.

5/ Infrastructure

Even if you decide on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, it doesn’t mean you have to use SAP infrastructure. You may have another preference or specific requirement for one of the hyperscalers such as Google or Microsoft.

6/ Pricing and pricing models

There are considerable differences in pricing structures, such as per license or per subscription. As an organisation you will have to consider both your pricing options and your pricing model.8/

7/ Services and SLAs

When choosing a cloud model you should check what services will be included:

  • Basic services such as who will manage the technical side
  • Application management, for faults, installing new versions and so on
  • Support
  • Content lifecycle management and how development projects are moved through testing and production
  • SAP preferred success services, if available
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