Three key questions to ensure your SAP data is running at cloud speed

By: Kevin Collins


When I started in IBM sales, my colleagues would often ask me, “Are you working at cloud speed?” I soon learned that “working at cloud speed” meant reaching my full potential. As a specialist in HANA Enterprise Cloud, I now ask my clients the same question about their SAP data.

The IBM-SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud partnership

In 2014, SAP launched the HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) solution, which enables SAP applications to run in the cloud. To improve the reach of HEC, SAP sought a partner with the skills and capabilities to help deliver a superior cloud experience.

After an intense selection process, SAP chose IBM as its first premium cloud partner. With 50 cloud data centers across the globe, IBM provides a robust portfolio of hybrid cloud capabilities and deployment options ranging from infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to fully managed. IBM’s 30 years of providing SAP services, hosting and applications management has yielded deep industry and technology experience that is delivered by more than 32,000 SAP specialists.

But IBM is not the only option for HEC. Clients may choose between various vendors that can provide the infrastructure on which your critical data is deployed. To ensure you’re getting the most value from cloud, here are three key questions to ask potential providers:

1. How can your services help drive high availability for my SAP data?

In today’s market, enterprise systems like SAP are expected to be always available. But as SAP continuously innovates their products and new code is frequently delivered to production, opportunities for errors and downtime abound.

Because of these demands for high availability, it’s critical to have a strategy for releasing new code into production with limited or no downtime. Choose a cloud provider with extensive SAP experience to provide a security-rich environment and service-level agreements for everything from the infrastructure to the SAP application layer.

Standard availability agreements may be somewhere around 99.5 percent, with high-availability options reaching 99.9 percent. Your agreement with the cloud provider should also clarify the maximum amount of time for unplanned downtime per month and the penalties incurred by the provider if they fail to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

Along these same lines, ask the provider for their recovery time and point objectives in the event of a disaster. You may consider a provider with a data centers located worldwide to help comply with regulations and business requirements while improving disaster recovery options.

2. How are you using artificial intelligence to drive value from my SAP Data?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions such as SAP are the heart of an enterprise, including valuable information such as include financials, human resources, manufacturing and more. This data presents a wealth of opportunity for the application of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to unlock new business insights.

The results can include accelerated client innovation and the ability locate troublesome blind spots in critical data, improving decision-making and disrupting existing industry business models.

Look for a provider that can integrate AI technologies with your SAP environment. These should include pre-built applications and robust consulting services.

3. How are you speeding cloud adoption of SAP and non-SAP applications?

For organizations that want to run their SAP environment in the cloud, assessing the impact of both SAP and non-SAP workloads within the enterprise is critical. Look for a provider with a wealth of experience with SAP that can help maximize cloud computing across your business by:

  1. Assessing whether the SAP application is suited for cloud.
  2. Identifying what non-SAP applications and infrastructures must be migrated.
  3. Evaluating the right deployment for each application and designing an architecture for the new environment.
  4. Creating a migration plan while mitigating risk to your business.
  5. Determining the best scenario for return on investment and the impact on the organization’s staffing and governance models.
  6. Providing services to simplify the upgrade process.

Learn more about IBM Cloud Managed Application Services.


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About The Author

Kevin Collins

Solution Architect, IBM Global SAP Solutions

Kevin Collins is a solution architect for the IBM Cloud for SAP team specializing in SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. Kevin has over 20 years experience with IBM and brings a unique perspective as he as worked for a wide range business ares of IBM including IBM Global Services Consulting, IBM Software Group, IBM Commerce and... Read more