On Feb. 22, SAP CEO Christian Klein sat down with ASUG CEO Geoff Scott for a virtual discussion on RISE with SAP, the software company’s newest offering. The two talked about where partners fit into RISE with SAP, the partnership between SAP and Microsoft, comparison between RISE with SAP and SAP Leonardo, and next steps for customers.

Throughout the event, we heard from ASUG members, who submitted their own questions for Klein. Although we were not able to get to every single submitted question in the hour-long webcast, Klein kindly answered those questions after the fact, including what’s happening to SAP Embrace program, how RISE with SAP can help customers who aren’t ready to migrate to the cloud yet, and examples of customers who have successfully leveraged RISE with SAP.

ASUG: What happens to SAP S/4HANA Movement program now? How about model companies?

Christian: The SAP S/4HANA Movement program is a cross-board initiative connecting multiple teams and LoBs with a shared goal that “no customer is left behind on their journey to become an intelligent cloud company.” The program offers guidance to SAP internally as well as to partners and customers through the most important free, low-cost, and fixed-price offerings that help accelerate the transformation to an intelligent enterprise.

SAP S/4HANA Movement is designed to precisely guide and directly help all ERP-installed base customers accelerate their move to the cloud by bringing all important tools, services, and methodologies into a standardized approach to our customers. This ranges from door-opener events such as “Move in Motion” and the SAP S/4HANA Value Starter program, to various value discover offerings as well as smart tools for implementation or boot camp offerings such as “10Steps2S/4.”

RISE with SAP is one key integral part of the SAP S/4HANA Movement journey with its components (such as business scenario recommendations, customer code migration, and so on). SAP S/4HANA Movement provides additional and follow-up offerings to complement the RISE with SAP offering.

To support our vision to reinvent how businesses run and our future of services mission Pivot to Outcomes, SAP has decided to evolve the SAP Model Company offering to better serve our customers’ needs. We have decided to integrate our industry-leading business content into our cloud products directly and into SAP’s Service portfolio—to accelerate time to value, ensure customer and partner success, as well as faster adoption of our cloud products. Our goal is to make it easier for our customers to consume our solutions for maximum business outcomes.

The brand and commercial offering “SAP Model Company” will be retired. This sunsetting is currently being executed and will be finished March 31. The business content will be embedded as a foundation into the Services portfolio and will be made accessible to the SAP ecosystem.

This simplification of our offerings was demanded by the majority of our customers and partners. We are looking forward to working with our customers and partners in that space.

ASUG: Can you buy RISE with SAP without a hyperscaler if you already have an agreement with one?

Christian: The RISE with SAP offer includes the hyperscaler infrastructure. Customers having a hyperscaler agreement can choose their preferred hyperscaler (private cloud scenario). Any agreement between a customer and a hyperscaler is according to their contractual agreement between those parties and does not apply to RISE with SAP.

ASUG: The Microsoft partnership is an interesting part of RISE with SAP. What does this all mean for the SAP Embrace program?

Christian: In January, SAP and Microsoft formalized an extensive expansion of our endorsed cloud partnership announced in 2019, to introduce new offerings around cloud automation and integration for SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure.

Together, Microsoft and SAP are expanding the ability to run a mission-critical intelligent enterprise on Azure while helping customers modernize their enterprise applications. SAP and Microsoft will provide customers with:

  • Simplification when moving on-premise editions of SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA in the cloud: In addition to the industry-specific journey maps to the cloud and reference architectures, SAP and Microsoft will continue to co-innovate around SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure.
  • Expanded joint engagements with customers and partners: In addition to product integration work, SAP, Microsoft, and systems integrator partners will continue to provide digital enterprise road maps for customers. This includes immediate and actionable reference architectures and technical guidance to help customers on their journey to the cloud.
  • Increased investments in platform and infrastructure: The companies will further develop automated migrations, improved operations, monitoring, and security.

ASUG: Does RISE with SAP suggest a deployment model specific to LoB and industry segments?

Christian: As part of the RISE with SAP offering, the customer has two options for deploying the SAP S/4HANA digital core:

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud: This public cloud is the preferred deployment model for all customers opting for a greenfield implementation and whose functional and localization requirements can be addressed.
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition: This private cloud offering targets customers that plan to convert their SAP ECC system to SAP S/4HANA Cloud and carry over enhancements (or modifications) and partner add-ons.

Building on RISE with SAP, companies can tailor their Intelligent Enterprise to meet their respective business needs. Customers and partners alike can easily complement, extend, and integrate with any other of SAP’s LoB and industry solutions, partner, or third-party solution, using exactly the same data model and business services as our own SAP applications. This way, they can run their core and industry-specific processes—seamlessly, end-to-end, and top-to-bottom, with a full 360-degree transparency.

ASUG: What can RISE with SAP do for customers that are on premise but do not want to go in the cloud?

Christian: Each and every customer can rest assured—SAP will leave no one behind. We have been supporting our customers in moving to the cloud for 10 years. But now many of our long-term on-premise customers are ready to switch to the cloud. COVID-19 has accelerated this process.

RISE with SAP contains all the elements our customers need to transform their business processes in a truly holistic way. And because we know that transformation is a journey, not a destination, and that things can change quickly, RISE with SAP allows you continually transform, offering you the utmost flexibility.

That said, our customers are free to choose the time, speed, and intensity of their transition to the cloud. We offer the opportunity to any enterprise that is ready. Because the new world is modular, flexible, and integrated, we leave the world of monolithic software behind.

If there is a reason to keep solutions on-premise (for example, to keep latency at a minimum because of poor internet connections), we can help to maximize performance and prepare for when the time is right. Or if you want to stay on premise with your finance data but move logistics and procurement to the cloud and be part of the business network, we help you do just that.

We give our customers the choice how to best run their landscape, depending on their specific situation and requirements—and that also includes the option of classical on-premise licensing and deployment. Some customers will keep their on-premise installations, and we believe that we will see hybrid landscapes for a long time.

ASUG: Is RISE with SAP a different licensed service? If so, does it impact the cost of SAP software one way or the other?

Christian: RISE with SAP is a cloud subscription service that includes all software costs (SAP S/4HANA Cloud), technical managed services, infrastructure costs, business network starter pack, and SAP cloud platform consumption credits.

ASUG: How does SAP help RISE with SAP customers to measure TCO reduction? Will there be a type of calculator, service, tool supporting TCO reductions by using RISE with SAP?

Christian: Your account executive is ready to assist you, using our built TCO calculator.

ASUG: Can you discuss an example of a customer success story that you’ve seen from RISE with SAP?

Christian: David Scullin, chief digital officer of Zespri International Ltd, told us, “We are embarking on a four-year program to digitalize our processes and systems, so we can become more efficient and effective and strengthen our ability to grow. SAP S/4HANA Cloud will help us realize our potential and improve our ability to collect and analyze data to enable more agile decision-making through our supply chain.”

Matthias Assmann, chief information officer of Electronic Partner Handel SE, said, “As a midsize retail company in consumer electronics, we have to consider cloud options in depth. With SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we can combine core ERP functionality with other cloud solutions from SAP to reduce complexity in our data centers. The speed of change and an innovative attitude are our main drivers; SAP S/4HANA Cloud is a game changer in ERP in terms of simplicity and flexibility.”

Christian Montes, head of Etex New Ways, said, “With SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we're able to start fast but grow and innovate at our own pace. Our mandate is to build this new business with a pioneering mindset, as it is something different, challenging, and new.”

ASUG: Do you have insight or examples on how difficult the change of the existing processes of a customer on an SAP ECC stack to a newer intelligent enterprise is from a user adoption perspective?

Christian: SAP offers tools free of charge, such as the SAP Readiness Check and the SAP Transformation Navigator, that help identify the areas where change will happen. The SAP Readiness Check also contains an analysis on how many training activities can be expected in the context of an SAP S/4HANA transformation, based on an analysis of simplification items. However, there is no tool to evaluate efforts or difficulty from a user adoption perspective.

ASUG: What types of conversations should SAP customersexpect to have with theiraccount executives? How informed are SAP account executives about this new offer?

Christian: SAP account executives are fully enabled on the RISE with SAP offering. SAP account executives can help with anything and everything regarding the RISE with SAP offer and associated business transformation services. Further, account executives will engage the right experts from SAP, as needed.

ASUG: Who on my team needs to be involved in evaluating RISE with SAP offering?   

Christian: RISE with SAP discussions will be particularly relevant to CIOs, CTOs, and COOs and their teams.

ASUG: Any SAP resources to help in creating a business case?

Christian: SAP has developed a TCO calculator tool based on independent analyst best practices. The TCO calculator will provide total costs, cost savings over the contract period, and business benefits. SAP account executives can help you with leveraging the TCO calculator and will provide additional details/resources for customer’s unique scenarios in developing a business case.

ASUG: What does success look like for you with RISE with SAP?

Christian: RISE with SAP is an unmatched offer in the market. Our pilot far exceeded our expectations (approximately 130 customers). Feedback we received from customers and the interest we see even though we just announced the offering clearly shows that we hit the nail on the head.

For us, RISE with SAP will be successful when it supports our customers with their holistic business transformation, solving their greatest challenges. We hope as many customers as possible will take the journey to the cloud with us, benefitting from the advantages that the cloud offers that will ultimately allow them to become more profitable, more resilient, more competitive, and more sustainable.

Register to watch the webcast interview with Christian. Also, make sure that you register to attend the final two weeks of ASUG Best Practices: SAP S/4HANA Virtual Experience, where we’ll be covering execution and delivery followed by adoption and change management.