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This blog is co-authored by Dan Kearnan, Sr. Director SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP and Amr Elmeleegy, World Wide SAP Business Development Manager, AWS.

Why customers are moving ERP to the cloud

In a bid to transition from legacy to modern data platforms, organizations of all stripes and sizes are moving their on-premises ERP systems to the cloud. The rationale is irrefutable: moving to the cloud offers significant IT TCO reduction benefits . However, enterprises moving to the cloud merely for TCO reduction purposes are missing significant untapped business and ROI potential.

Customers like Zalando Payments GmbH (ZPS), Georgia Pacific, Lion, and HPE successfully leveraged the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) and AWS cloud services as part of their ERP cloud transformations. The combination of BTP and AWS resulted in benefits that exceeded cost reductions delivered as a result of sharing IT infrastructure using cloud virtualization capabilities. When looking at these key business benefits in detail, there are 3 that stand out that drove significant business value from the move to the cloud. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

Extend your S/4HANA system while keeping the core clean

Enterprises need to stay agile and adapt rapidly to new business conditions and changing customer demands. Extension allows companies to build and enhance all their application investments to meet their customer’s dynamic needs and provide continual value. Customers tell us they want to keep their ERP extensions with them as they move to the cloud. Contrary to conventional wisdom, moving your SAP systems to the cloud doesn’t mean sacrificing your ability to customize and extend your ERP business processes in return for cloud TCO reductions. With SAP BTP and AWS, you can get both cloud economic advantages and flexibility to extend and customize your ERP.

Customers moving their SAP environments to the AWS cloud can leverage a wide variety of SAP BTP and AWS native services to build extensions and customizations while keeping their S/4HANA and ERP digital core clean for faster and cheaper future upgrades. Specifically, customers that have invested heavily in acquiring and training in-house ABAP developers can continue to leverage these resources by directing them to the SAP BTP, ABAP Environment services to build multi-tenant SaaS extensions directly in ABAP language and have them deployed in the AWS cloud as side-by-side extensions. This BTP service comes with an improved ABAP language optimized for the Cloud, more efficient support for developers, better tools for administrators, and migration tools for ERP custom code. The SAP BTP ABAP environment service is only available on the AWS cloud and can be found in AWS Data Centers in Europe (Frankfurt), North America (US East) and Japan (Tokyo).

Customers that do not have in-house ABAP development expertise still have a wide variety of options to extend their SAP environment while moving to the cloud. SAP BTP offers low code/no code services like SAP Appgyver that allow business users to build extensions without code. SAP BTP also offers pro-code services like the SAP Business Application Studio, and packaged business extensions like the SAP S/4HANA Cloud for intelligent intercompany reconciliation.  Today, the SAP Appgyver and S/4HANA Cloud for intelligent intercompany reconciliation are only available on the AWS cloud and the SAP Business Application Studio is available in 8 AWS regions – more than any other RISE cloud provider.

Additionally, SAP on AWS customers can build extensions using AWS native services like AWS Lambda – a serverless, event-driven compute service that lets customers run code for virtually any type of application or backend service without provisioning or managing servers. With AWS Lambda, there are no new programing languages, tools, or frameworks to learn allowing organizations to take advantage of their existing in-house IT development resources. Lambda natively supports Java, Go, PowerShell, Node.js, C#, Python, and Ruby code, and provides a Runtime API allowing enterprises to use any additional programming languages to author their functions.

SAP on AWS customer Bristol Myer Squib – a global biopharmaceutical company- moved from ECC to S/4HANA on AWS and built half a dozen side by side applications using SAP BTP including apps that create trails for Bill of Material changes for auditing and compliance purposes and apps that provide MRP controllers with self service capabilities to update configuration files without the need to reach out to IT.

Imbed intelligence into Business Processes with AI/ML/IoT/and RPA services

Customers tell us that their move to SAP S/4HANA (RISE with SAP) is only the start of their digital transformation journey and not the end. Once customers are on SAP S/4HANA, they immediately start looking for other oppurtunities to imbed intelligence into their finance, supply chain, and order to cash business processes. This is where SAP BTP’s AI, ML, IoT and RPA powered services come into play including services like the SAP Conversational AI that allows customers to build powerful AI chatbots and connect them to SAP S/4HANA (e.g. SAP Fiori Co-Pilot), SAP IoT that powers SAP’s predictive maintenance use case and allows customers to connect IoT sensor data with business objects and processes, and the SAP Document Classification that helps customers apply ML to automate the management and processing of business documents such as contracts and invoices. 11 of the total 12 BTP AI, ML, IoT and RPA powered services are available only on the AWS cloud (see table 1).

Table 1: List of SAP BTP AI, ML, IoT and RPA services supported by RISE Cloud Providers. For full list of BTP services visit https://discovery-center.cloud.sap

SAP on AWS customers like HPE leveraged the SAP BTP Conversational AI to integrate chatbots with SAP Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC) solutions to make it more convenient for users to request authorizations and reset passwords adhering to the HPE audit Policy. Lion – a global beverage company based out of Sydney Australia and an SAP and AWS customer – leveraged SAP BTP and native AWS IoT services to help their dairy farmers reduce milk spoilage due to temperature fluctuations by capturing IoT sensor data from their milk containers and feeding them back into SAP systems – savings hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from milk spoilage.

Delivering real-time insights to the fingertips of business users

It’s essential that organizations have a consolidated view across all their data assets and are able to achieve insight and make real time decisions, especially during times of rapid change. SAP customers moving their ERP environments to cloud are able to take advantage of over 100 prebuilt Analytics content packages offered by SAP BTP as well as the SAP Analytics Cloud. SAP Analytics Cloud offers SAP customers the unique ability to combine analytics and planning together to fully unlock the value of their SAP operational data. SAP customers use SAP Analytics Cloud to help business users make decisions rooted in real time operational and transactional data coming out of SAP ERP and S/4HANA. SAP Business users rely on SAP Analytics Cloud every day to answer foundational business questions such as “Who are my top revenue generating customers?”, “What were my fastest growing products last year?”, “What are my top blocked customer invoices?” to name a few. Today, AWS offers the SAP Analytics Cloud BTP service in 8 AWS regions – 4 times more regions than all other RISE cloud providers combined.

In 2019, SAP launched the SAP Analytics Cloud Embedded Edition to allow SAP business users to answer these questions without the need to punch out into a separate standalone analytics solution or move their mission critical SAP data between different cloud providers and exposing them to cyberattacks. This new service allows business users to consume SAP Analytics Cloud Dashboards and Reports directly in their SAP systems where the transactional data is being generated. Today, AWS is the only RISE cloud provider that offers the SAP Analytics Cloud Embedded Edition. The service is available in the AWS’s Sydney, São Paulo, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Singapore, and US East regions.

For customers with more advanced analytics requirements, such as leveraging geospatial for mobile asset tracking or accessing SAP data that is federated across different SAP cloud solutions, SAP BTP has you covered. Customers can use the SAP HANA Spatial BTP Service to embed GPS data into their SAP analytic and the SAP Graph BTP service that offers enterprises a single connected and unified view of all their business data. Today, AWS is the only cloud provider that offers the SAP Graph and SAP HANA Spatial BTP services.

SAP customers that want to combine SAP data with non-SAP data, or that have prohibitively large data sets, can leverage a wide range of native AWS cloud analytics services including AWS Simple Storage Service Amazon S3 and Amazon Redshift to build complementary SAP Data Lakes. SAP on AWS customers can take advantage of SAP Data Warehouse Could data federation capabilities to query non-SAP data sitting in an AWS Data Lake, Amazon S3, or AWS Redshift environment directly from their SAP Data warehouse cloud environment.   SAP on AWS customers can also leverage the AWS Appflow service with prebuilt SAP integrations to capture data directly from their SAP systems with a few simple clicks and without the need to write code.

Zalando, a leading European online fashion platform, integrated its SAP systems after moving them to the AWS cloud with 36 native AWS services and created a hybrid data architecture that lowered its cost of ownership of its SAP data architecture by 30%. This allowed Zalando to invest in building chatbots and introduce image recognition technology to speed up invoice processing enhancing its customer service. Zalando’s sister company, Zalando Payments GmbH (ZPS), uses the SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP BW4HANA, and the SAP Analytics Cloud to calculate how much its accounts are holding in third-party funds at any given time and deliver the results to a large circle of internal business users.

SAP on AWS customer Georgia Pacific, saves millions of dollars annually by using AWS data analytics services to collect and analyze shop floor manufacturing data on material quality, moisture content , temperature and machine calibration to reduce tears during their paper production process, reducing downtime and material waste and increasing profits.

Chart your course to success in the cloud with SAP and AWS

SAP and AWS have delivered ground breaking co-innovation since 2008. AWS offering the widest selection of SAP BTP services and in the greatest number of regions is just one example of our joint innovation. To learn more about how SAP BTP+AWS can help you accelerate your journey to the cloud watch the short video below, check out the below infographic, and visit us at aws.amazon.com/sap.



* All SAP BTP data referenced in this blog is as of 08/18/2022. Refer to the SAP Discovery Center for the latest list of SAP BTP services and Cloud Service Provider (CSP) availability.

Author: Farrenio