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Unlocking Innovation with a Move to the Cloud

Capgemini and SAP

Companies of all shapes and sizes need to adapt, innovate, and build resilience—especially in the face of uncertain economic times—to drive business forward and to grow stronger through challenges. To achieve this pinnacle of business agility and innovation, organisations are embracing digital transformation and transitioning vital business processes to the cloud. 

With immediate scalability and flexibility, the cloud brings limitless opportunities and offers an agile path forward for any business, but the move itself looks different for different organisations. Some adopt a piecemeal approach of cloud-based business applications that sit atop on-premise systems. Others, with fewer restrictions or dependencies, establish a greenfield cloud deployment. But for the majority of SAP® customers, shifting to the cloud means moving legacy ERP workloads from on-premise to the cloud.

While each organisation’s journey to digital transformation is unique, the underlying process is very similar—whether your organisation is using SAP ECC, Business Suite or SAP S/4HANA® on-premise, or has already begun the transition to SAP S/4HANA on Cloud. But choosing the right technologies to make a successful move to the cloud, from planning to navigating to reaping the rewards, is imperative. Luckily, SAP customers can turn to SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) as an essential innovation tool to ease their transition to the cloud and secure the benefits of a modern, agile ERP system.

And while it’s difficult to maintain equanimity in the face of a major digital transformation—especially for larger organisations with significant investment in infrastructure for their on-premise ERP—employing a strategic, measured approach, guided by a trusted partner like Capgemini, ensures a successful landing.

Moving ERP to the cloud starts with SAP Business Technology Platform

Capgemini refers to SAP BTP as the ‘art of the possible’ platform and Capgemini’s experienced team of experts has yet to discover limitations using this innovation platform for customers’ digital transformation journeys. SAP BTP provides organisations with the flexibility and independence needed to move data and business processes to the cloud, to fuel continuous process automation, to safeguard testing, and to configure and extend applications.

SAP BTP technologies play a key role in decoupling custom code from standard ERP business processes with minimal dependencies to achieve the clean core that is necessary to future-proof an organisation’s technology landscape. A clean core is essential for a smooth transition to the cloud, ensuring faster software deployments and making upgrade cycles non-events. And, with SAP BTP, extending an organisation’s core stack for seamless adoption of new innovations is simplified with the creation and extension of applications that can be easily run alongside the ERP core.

SAP BTP and Capgemini are essential partners in every organisation’s journey to the cloud, but the role SAP BTP will play in supporting that journey depends on where the customer finds themselves on their road to digital transformation. There are three common starting points for most SAP customers embarking on, or continuing a cloud journey: one, legacy ERP; two, SAP S/4 HANA on-premise; and three, already transitioned to SAP S/4 HANA on Cloud. Each scenario offers unique challenges that SAP BTP is poised to address, and unique opportunities that your organisation will be poised to embrace.

Moving to the cloud from legacy ERP: what, why and how

Transitioning legacy ERP systems to the cloud begs three fundamental questions: What is being moved to the cloud? Why is it being moved to the cloud? How is it being moved to the cloud?

Organisations must consider the entire technology landscape when transitioning legacy ECC to SAP S/4HANA on Cloud, first deciding which pieces of their existing ERP system are worth shifting to the cloud, which solutions can be decommissioned and which data and business processes are essential and which can be jettisoned. Data storage is expensive, and not all data has value.

Once those fundamental questions are addressed, but before a cloud migration has even begun, SAP BTP, with its countless made-for-business, pre-built integration solutions, services, and content, can go to work. The platform pulls together and governs traditionally fragmented master data into a consistent, central system, cleaned, validated, and replicated to all systems—standard best practice before a move to the cloud. The clean data is then used to drive business processes with data governance, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) for continuous process improvement by automating high-volume and repetitive manual tasks with intelligent bots.

Organisations often require customizations to optimize their one-of-a-kind processes and interactions and have heavily invested in custom coding on their ECC legacy systems. While custom code is integral to doing business, especially for large enterprises, it does not have to stand in the way of innovation and modernization. Moving any custom code into SAP BTP—which allows for ABAP coding along with low-code options, and where custom development can be completely decoupled from the core—helps establish and maintain a clean core ERP system that is ready for a painless migration to the cloud.

Moving to the cloud from SAP S/4HANA on-premise: speed and flexibility

SAP BTP plays a somewhat different role in the cloud journey for the S/4HANA on-premise customer preparing to move to S/4HANA on Cloud, though the focus on maintaining a clean core— all while delivering the speed and flexibility required to migrate to the cloud—remains.

During the cloud transition, SAP BTP manages data migration, automates existing SAP S/4HANA business processes, and creates new processes using pre-built services and solutions to optimize productivity and eliminate error-prone, labor-intensive manual workflows.

In addition, SAP BTP provides a range of application development, automation, integration and analytics services to safeguard projects and accelerate testing phases by verifying that all building blocks work together, meet specified requirements, and fulfill the targeted business case. Piloting a new business process with SAP BTP is a low-risk, low-cost proposition—allowing organisations to fail fast while keeping their core ERP clean.

To accelerate the journey to S/4HANA Cloud, the RISE with SAP solution packages up key products, SAP BTP capabilities, services, and tools to help you deliver on your cloud-enabled digital transformation. RISE with SAP also supports industry-specific business needs in various geographies and regulatory requirements.  And to move to the cloud with confidence, leveraging the expertise of a trusted partner like Capgemini can prove critical.  Capgemini approaches SAP S/4HANA cloud transitions with a Multi-Pillar Solution Architecture (MPSA) strategy: the first pillar contains common SAP data models and a fit-to-standard approach on business processes and functionality to develop an architecture that is ready for cloud and as-a-service models at the core of an organisation; the second pillar serves as the extension platform, powered by SAP BTP, to extend the core system from pillar 1 and integrate and extend the applications from pillar 3, which houses all the third-party standard and individual custom applications running on hyperscalers.

With RISE with SAP, all the ingredients of SAP S/4HANA ERP clean core, innovation through SAP BTP, and cloud infrastructure are bundled together and connected, delivering value on the foundations both of MPSA and value-based business roadmap, drives enterprise growth and adaptability. It is all part of what Capgemini calls the Renewable Enterprise.

Working with a partner like Capgemini, organisations should define a migration strategy based on their migration triggers, business goals, and SAP workload priorities, focusing first on the on-premise SAP S/4HANA system that is critical to business workloads.

Moving to innovation with SAP S/4HANA on Cloud: continued business success

Once the transition to S/4HANA on Cloud is complete, SAP BTP remains an essential framework to gain agility and speed with an intuitive no-code development experience; to jump-start projects using prebuilt, ready-to-deploy industry content; and to uncover timely and contextual insights with self-service business intelligence and analytics.

SAP S/4HANA on Cloud customers also rely on SAP BTP for its prebuilt connectors to simplify, standardize, and accelerate connectivity with third-party cloud applications. Organisations can take advantage of open data formats—supporting bulk data and allowing customers to upload and download data in a normalized way—regardless of underlying third-party service architecture. Real-time, API-based integration allows organisations to create new revenue streams by monetizing APIs, build ecosystems through digital channels, integrate into marketplaces, and create omnichannel access while hiding the complexity of underlying heterogeneous landscapes—all managed within SAP BTP.

Not quite ready for a move to the cloud? Be cloud ready.

We described three possible starting points for customers on a journey to the cloud, but there is actually a fourth category. Understandably, many companies are not yet ready to move to SAP S/4HANA on Cloud, but they can still tap into the power of SAP BTP to help decouple innovation from core SAP functionality and move to a more DevOps approach for delivery. Bringing modern processes and tools to on-premise systems allow companies running SAP ECC to adapt quickly to the ever-changing demands of their customers and to support the business in being more agile and able to adapt to external factors, without the need for an immediate move to the cloud.  

Before the cloud transition, through the cloud transition, and beyond, SAP BTP offers future-proof innovation.

Why SAP and Capgemini?

A cloud transition is inevitable. With the right tools and the right guidance, that transition can be seamless, efficient, and productive—no pain, all gain. SAP offers business transformation as a service, which includes everything organisations need, like SAP BTP, to chart a path to the cloud and beyond, along with decades of business technology experience and best-in-class solutions and services that make innovation second nature.

A trusted partner like Capgemini, with unparalleled SAP experience and singular expertise in change management, can not only help organisations identify exactly where they are and what they need in their cloud migration journey but also offer the strategic thinking and design that will allow organisations to maximize their SAP investments.

Moving to the cloud is about embracing agility and jumping at the opportunity to innovate. Organisations who adopt the right blend of SAP technologies and incorporate the wisdom of an experienced partner will continuously and successfully evolve to meet the challenges of today’s economic insecurities and tomorrow’s emerging uncertainties. Find out more about how SAP BTP and Capgemini can transition your ERP systems to the cloud.

SAP and SAP S/4HANA are the trademarks or registered trademark of SAP SE or its affiliates in Germany and in other countries.