SAP promises customers more help with cloud migration

The ERP giant SAP will help customers better with the transition to the cloud. To make this often complicated migration a success, SAP launched the Rise with SAP program eighteen months ago. SAP now takes even more responsibility for customer success and does not want to leave it to implementation partners alone. To this end, SAP also changed its own business operations. So said Scott Russell, a member of SAP’s board of directors and ultimately responsible for the success of the German technology giant’s customers.

Russell spoke during Sapphire, which took place in The Hague on 17 May. One week after Sapphire in the USA (Orlando), the SAP circus settled in the royal city to meet with customers and partners from Europe. During the sessions and keynote, there was a lot of talk about Rise with SAP. This program, which was established eighteen months ago, includes a range of services, tools and advice to facilitate the transition from an on-premise ERP package to S4 / Hana. According to SAP, new customers who go directly for erp from the cloud also benefit from this support.

The migration from on-premise ERP to SAP ERP from the cloud is often an obstacle for companies. Many customers, certainly from the traditional manufacturing industry or financial sector, are postponing the transition from their old systems to a modern cloud environment. There are a number of hooks at the switch. For example, the costs are often unclear, and there are questions about the continuity of business operations if a major ICT migration is to take place while production is to continue. In early 2021, news agency Reuters quoted Gartner analyst Christian Hestermann as saying that of the 400,000 customers in 25 industries, less than ten percent have taken action against S / 4Hana Cloud.

In the past, moving to ERP from the cloud was often presented as a relatively simple step. In addition, SAP customers often felt compelled to switch. But under Sapphire, business executives unequivocally admitted that moving ERP systems to the cloud is not easy for organizations of all sizes. “It’s even complicated,” he said.

Data analysis

“We are also responsible for the success of cloud implementations”

SAP CEO Scott Russell explained the increase with SAP at a meeting of European trade media. According to him, this program offers ‘business transformation as a service’, where SAP increasingly focuses on ‘the journey’ rather than the ‘destination’ in ERP cloud migrations.

Russell: ‘Most cloud service providers talk about the benefits of cloud enterprise software. But they provide almost no advice and little support on how an organization should get there. They point to their partners and their ecosystem. We emphasize that we as a supplier are responsible for that journey. So it’s not just about our partners. The responsibility for providing high-quality service also lies with us as a supplier. ‘

He cites as an example that Rise with SAP gives customers more insight into business processes. For example, by performing an analysis of the software code in addition to data analysis. This is also done for systems from other vendors that work with SAP, so that companies can start from a clean and efficient platform.

SAP even on the shovel

Scott Russell.

SAP has also transformed its own business to better serve customers, Russell said. “We asked ourselves: do we have the right opportunities, and do we have the right technology to meet the needs of the market? SAP has changed in three key areas as a result.” For example, the German erp giant introduced new tools for sustainability, responsible design and production and insight into the CO2 emissions of production lines.

Also, according to Russell, “heavy” investment has been made in the technology’s own capacity to run the business. He refers to new commercial and business models for SAP. ‘Not only from on-premise to cloud, but also performance-based models and contracts based on the’ consumed ‘software and services.’

Third, he mentions investing in employee involvement. Russell: ‘We need to keep working on the ability to serve our customers in a different way.’ The key person responsible for SAP customer success points out that employees should focus on the results of what their software or services deliver, rather than what the technology means. The Australian-born explains: ‘The question is: what are the real consequences of, for example, a cloud implementation in a company? That value can be measured in our customers ‘appreciation instead of our internal ideas of success.’

‘The game has changed’

“We measure whether we really deliver what we promise our customers.”

Within SAP, according to Russell, there is an emphasis on customer success and results. He says that the game, unlike a few years ago and certainly compared to five years ago, has changed.

For example, customers implementing SAP Rise use the associated platform to gain insight from both data from SAP systems and data from systems from other vendors. For example, to compete in their industry or market and to better serve their customers.

Russell: ‘We have developed an engagement model that provides feedback. With questions like: what do you use, how do you use that system, and what are the benefits of using it? Instead of just assuming: the customer has paid and we deliver what we promised. According to the board member, most companies mainly measure bits and bites. ‘We measure business value. It actually stems from the operation of customers’ business processes. So it is an opportunity for us to be more valuable to our customers by making the most of the software in the cloud. ”


Clients at cloud service providers often complain about unclear costs and an unmanageable range of services. But the SAP boss is not worried that the offer will be too complex.

Regarding the underlying cost structure of Rise with SAP, Russel says: “Without wanting to be too complex: Rise’s business model consists of components on a subscription basis and parts that are billed per use.” The core use of S / 4Hana in the cloud is on a subscription basis, he explains. Network connectivity and business technology offerings are usage-based.


Russell has some advice for companies looking to take their ERP system to the cloud.

  • ‘If you want to drive change, make the transformation in a simple, consumer-friendly way. These are mission-critical processes for a company, it’s not easy to just change systems. ‘
  • Simplification is the magic word for Russell. ‘I think companies also want to be able to understand what they need when, how to use systems and tools in a much simpler way instead of being forced to navigate through that environment themselves. With SAP Rise, we try to give them that opportunity by gathering everything in one offer. ‘

Get up with SAP

According to SAP, attention to S4 / Hana has risen sharply since the global corona pandemic, as telecommuting and cloud cloud services have become commonplace. In the first quarter of 2022, revenue from customers who purchased ERP from the cloud grew by 71 percent compared to the same period in 2021.

According to SAP, 19,300 customers have now chosen S / 4Hana. Of these, 13,900 are live with the ERP software from the cloud. During the event in The Hague, the number of customers in the Rise with SAP program was 2,069.

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