As businesses navigate scope and budgeting issues associated with moving to the cloud, SAP recently announced an expansion of its RISE with SAP program, providing a comprehensive set of resources, services, and financial incentives to reduce barriers to cloud migration for its on-premises customers.

Customers with on-premises implementations of SAP S/4HANA and SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) can reduce the cost of their cloud migrations by up to 50% and shorten their time-to-value through the RISE with SAP Migration and Modernization Program, according to SAP

Until the end of 2024, the program will give these on-premises customers access to credits that can be applied to offset the costs of maintenance, cloud services, or cloud subscriptions. These credits can be used, for example, to buy SAP S/4HANA Cloud and line-of-business solutions such as supply chain, human resources, spend management, business transformation tools, and SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) for extensibility.

Offering a “self-guided digital experience and assisted services” from preparation through go-live, the new RISE program will also give customers access to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Safekeeper service. Customers running older releases of SAP S/4HANA falling into customer-specific maintenance as they upgrade to the latest version of SAP S/4HANA can opt for the service, which offers upgrade services, sandbox infrastructure, and business continuity for customers’ current systems via updates and patches for two more years, giving them more time to upgrade, says SAP.

To standardize customers’ cloud migration projects and establish predictable timelines for implementation, the program will follow a defined RISE methodology, with milestone checks and reporting supported by SAP services and specialists. SAP says it will also train and certify partners to use the methodology, to reduce implementation costs and drive consistency and quality.

SAP has emphasized the importance of eliminating custom code as customers prepare to move to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, its standardized cloud ERP system. For customers moving to the cloud, custom code written for on-premises versions of SAP ECC or SAP S/4HANA needs to be translated so that its business logic runs outside of their core, in SAP BTP. With the new RISE methodology, dashboards tracking this process will ensure that custom code is rewritten to SAP’s standards.

“Everyone in the SAP ecosystem should know about this program and consider it for the future of their businesses,” said Geoff Scott, CEO & Chief Community Champion at ASUG.

“To innovate faster and harness the transformative possibilities SAP has promised, it is critical that you be in the cloud,” he added. “This new RISE migration and modernization program proves that SAP is listening to feedback from user groups, users, and partners, and that SAP is committed to supporting customers on every step of that journey. With its assisted services, reporting tools, and financial incentives, this methodology will help current SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA on-premises customers make the business case for moving to the cloud.”

‘Every Company Needs a Cloud-First Business Strategy’

In 2023, as SAP encouraged customers to take their ERP systems to the cloud and prepare their landscapes to embrace cloud-centric solutions, the importance of streamlining processes and breaking down data silos took center stage.

“Every company needs a cloud-first business strategy,” said Eric van Rossum, Chief Marketing Officer for Cloud ERP, SAP, in an official statement. “It’s more important than ever for customers to start their migration and modernization journey, so they can harness the potential of the latest cloud innovations, including AI and sustainability solutions.”

The company’s recommended pathway for digital transformation, RISE with SAP, has been a core component of its efforts to bring customers to the cloud. Last year, SAP debuted the 2023 release of SAP S/4HANA and a “premium plus” RISE package. This premium plus package, which embeds generative-AI capabilities and gives customers access to SAP sustainability solutions, promises to make it easier for customers to optimize sustainability and ESG reporting. It will also give them the ability to leverage SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP BTP, and SAP Signavio to drive extensibility and standardization of business processes.

Now, with the RISE with SAP Migration and Modernization program, SAP is emphasizing a more fully guided process for customers’ cloud migrations. “We’re connecting a digital experience with the depth of our technical tools and methodologies, and also adding financial incentives,” Maura Hameroff, SVP of ERP Product Marketing at SAP, told ASUG. “This program is an evolution and brings various elements together.”

In Q4 of 2023, SAP saw success on a case-by-case basis by offering select on-premises customers discounts to start their cloud migration journeys with RISE. This initial strategy gave the company time to evaluate what its customer base required in terms of financial incentives. Now that all on-premises ECC and S/4HANA customers are being extended the same limited-time offer through the end of 2024, Hameroff sees the potential use of such incentives as falling into three main camps:

  • Maintenance costs. As on-premises customers move to the cloud, many won’t be able to shift their entire estate immediately, meaning that they’ll be running certain systems on-premises as others run in the cloud. “Part of the incentives can be applied to maintenance costs, which burden customers in cases where they’re running parallel systems,” Hameroff said.
  • Cloud services. “To lift-and-shift and start operating in the cloud without the proper business process transformation and evolution of your framework for operating in the cloud, it doesn’t happen automatically,” Hameroff added. “Customers generally need help with services.”
  • Cloud subscriptions. “The more customers start to develop their extensibility in the cloud, the more they consider CPE credits or additional line-of-business applications,” Hameroff said. “The more customers get to the cloud, the more they want to do in the cloud, so we’re adding that next layer.”

ASUG will continue to monitor the rollout of SAP’s RISE with SAP Migration and Modernization Program to communicate and clarify its details for our members as more information is made available.

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