Over the past few years, it has become more important for organizations to make decisions about and build strategies to determine which of their SAP systems to run on the cloud or on-premise. A 2019 study conducted by ASUG and Syntax indicated that cloud investments are on the rise for SAP customers, as many plan to migrate more systems, including their ERP systems, to the cloud.
There are quite a few cloud options—and hyperscaler services—available to SAP customers set on migrating to the cloud. A recent ASUG Express event focused on one of the largest hyperscalers in the market: Microsoft. The virtual event gave attendees a look at how SAP and Microsoft are collaborating to ensure efficient implementations of SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure.
Damien Johnson, chief architect at SAP; Jason Au, executive director of services and support for the Embrace program at SAP; and Sachin Ghorpade, principal cloud solution architect for SAP on Azure at Microsoft, walked attendees through what Embrace is and how it can help them in their journeys to implementing SAP S/4HANA on Mircosoft Azure.
“I think this ASUG Express session was particularly helpful to attendees,” said Paul Kurchina, the webcast’s host and ASUG evangelist. “As we see more and more SAP customers leveraging the cloud, it’s great to know that there is a collaborative program between SAP and Microsoft to help customers during the complicated transition process.”
Understanding the Basics of the Embrace Program
The partnership between SAP and Microsoft dates back about 30 years. One of the key developments in this relationship was the introduction of the Embrace program in 2019. The program sees SAP and Microsoft partnering to offer support to customers migrating to SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure. “It’s all about helping our customers to take advantage of this partnership,” Johnson said.
Johnson walked through the four key pillars of the Embrace program. First, customers who leverage Embrace will gain access to joint-market-approved journeys that help when adopting SAP solutions across the industry. Embrace then provides customers with engagement and services, helping bridge Microsoft, SAP, and third-party partners to increase the collaborative nature of the engagement.
“We bring together an implementation plan, so it is very clear to customers how we implement SAP S/4HANA in the context of Microsoft Azure,” Johnson added.
The third pillar is creating an optimized platform that connects solutions and allows data to easily flow to match business processes. Ghorpade discussed some of the optimized platforms, including enterprise extension optimization, which is used to connect to Azure platform services and makes use of the SAP Cloud Platform open connectors and augments the standard capabilities in the business layer.
The final pillar of the Embrace program includes reference architectures, which provide users with a template for the deployment and adoption of the required technology capabilities to support the business use cases.
The Benefits of the Embrace Program Between SAP and Microsoft Azure
The speakers walked attendees through the key benefits of using the Embrace program during a transition to the cloud. They discussed the program’s main goal, which is to help customers “simplify, accelerate, and innovate.”
The collaboration between SAP and Microsoft means the two can create joint ecosystems and road maps, which are extremely helpful to customers implementing SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure. Ghorpade laid out the value driver for customers to use Embrace. Not only did he promise a fast ROI (under a year), but also significant cost savings and a lower time to implement and deploy SAP workloads when leveraging combined tooling from SAP and Microsoft.
Other benefits of the Embrace program include heightened security functionalities, compliance measures, scalable computing options for all SAP workloads and sizes, and access to vital insights and innovations.
Implementation Made Easy With Organized Service and Support Options
In the final session of this ASUG Express event, Au focused on the support options available to SAP customers. Like much of the rest of the program, these were developed through a joint approach between SAP, Microsoft, and third-party partners. Part of this process happens well before work on the actual implementation even starts, with the Embrace program assisting customers to identify everything from business drivers to architecture and infrastructure best practices.
Au discussed two specific types of support offered during this period. First was integrated support, where customers file service request tickets, which are then addressed by SAP or Microsoft leveraging the integrated framework. The two companies work together to resolve certain issues. Microsoft and SAP fix some of these independently, depending on the nature of the issue. Second is integrated customer success, which is a shared customer life cycle and success model. These include activities and support requests that spring up after the implementation of the solution to help SAP customers realize value over time.
These options will help customers as they experience any technical issues arising from migrating to the cloud, no matter what sort of implementation strategy they use. This also will help customers as they begin leveraging the solution and encountering any blips throughout the entire implementation process.