Google Cloud is now a strategic cloud partner for RISE with SAP under an expanded relationship that broadens the availability of SAP services on its Google Cloud Platform and opportunities for both companies’ channel partners.
“It’s a huge opportunity for partners,” Snehanshu Shah, Google Cloud’s managing director for SAP, told CRN. “This is a...massive change event. This is the kind of thing that happens once every maybe a few decades. Over the next two years, you’re going to see probably 20,000 to 30,000 (on-premise SAP) customers migrate. Each one of them needs a partner to help out. That’s just SI partners. On the other side of the equation, when you migrate to public cloud, you also have opportunities for ISV partners and channel partners. Part of this is also going to be how do you extend the SAP system? How do you leverage Google-native solutions?”
The Walldorf, Germany-based SAP unveiled RISE in January as a holistic, “intelligent enterprise,” as-a-service and subscription-based offering for business process transformation in the cloud and an important driver of SAP’s S/4HANA Cloud and adoption of SAP’s Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP).
SAP’s more extensive relationship with Google Cloud is aimed at migrating business systems to the cloud and enriching them with Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence/machine learning and analytics capabilities with the benefits of Google Cloud’s scalable infrastructure and high-speed network.
SAP’s message to customers, according to Shah, is if they want to get the best benefits out of its enterprise resource planning solutions (ERP) and other offerings, they should upgrade to S/4HANA Cloud, it’s next-generation, intelligent ERP business suite designed for in-memory computing that was launched in 2015.
“And, on top of that, what they’re saying is run on public cloud and take advantage of the security, the unparalleled uptime, the extensibility, the agility that public cloud provides,” Shah said. “It’s about simplifying how SAP customers get to the cloud. What the RISE program does is it provides them a real nice path to do that. It’s about coming in with very prescriptive guidance on how you modernize your SAP system, put a roadmap in play. And as they modernize, they can migrate to the cloud as fast as possible. It drives broad benefits for the customers.”
Several SAP offerings will be added to Google Cloud globally. They include SAP BTP, a set of higher-end services to help build new applications to extend SAP, which already had been offered on Google Cloud, but not across the world. HANA Cloud, which currently is not available on Google Cloud, also will be added globally. The global availability of both are targeted for this year’s third quarter or fourth quarter, according to Shah. SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, solutions within SAP BTP, are expected to be available globally on Google Cloud in the second or third quarter of 2022.
“It’s a win-win,” Shah said. “We have customers today who want those solutions. They’re SaaS solutions, so having them available on Google makes the latency lower. You’re able to have the same security model. It makes the customer experience better.”
Google Cloud’s expanded partnership with SAP follows the latter’s switch away from Microsoft Azure’s preferred status for hosting S/4HANA earlier this year under its Embrace program. In October of 2019, SAP and Microsoft announced an extensive go-to-market partnership to accelerate customer adoption of SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform on Microsoft Azure, which was designated as a “preferred cloud.” SAP is now embracing customer choice when it comes to cloud providers.
“The (Google Cloud-SAP) partnership definitely has more legs because SAP is taking a stance of being neutral and working with all partners,” Shah said. “At a technical level data, to be honest, SAP’s stance was that they would, of course, work with all partners. But now what this does is it gives customers choice. It does give SAP the ability to have a formal go-to-market with Google. If a customer tells SAP that they’re interested in Google, we’re seeing our sales teams, our account teams work closely together, really kind of bringing together the best of both Google and SAP.”
SAP’s willingness to collaborate with the hyperscalers gives customers an opportunity to leverage technology in a more effective and strategic way, according to Sergio Cipolla, CEO of Denver’s NIMBL, the North America branch of Milan, Italy-based Techedge Group.
“We look at the migration of SAP workloads to Google Cloud as a first step,” Cipolla, whose company is a Google Cloud Partner and SAP Gold Partner, said in an interview with CRN. “It’s a first step for customers to move to a platform that really can then be leveraged extensively when it comes to providing applications and using the components of the platform as a service from Google -- using machine learning and using AI, but as well using the extensive analytic capabilities that are available.”
SAP’s openness to collaborating with multiple cloud partners is critical, Cipolla said, because customers are looking for multi-cloud providers.
“They’re looking at cloud as services that can be used to really start gaining a more competitive advantage and looking at IT in more strategic ways,” he said. “When Embrace was there, there was a predilection for the Microsoft platform. I think this gives more flexibility to customers and gives the customer a choice to explore more.”
The announcement is compelling both for organizations using SAP today and those considering implementing SAP for the first time, said Chance Veasey, senior vice president of application product management for Navisite, an Andover, Mass.-based managed cloud services provider, Google Cloud Partner and Premier SAP Gold Partner.
“This partnership will enable customers to speed transformation with SAP on GCP and really positions Google to take full advantage of a large SAP customer ecosystem that wants to accelerate to the cloud,” Veasey said via email. “Google Cloud infrastructure, combined with Google’s enterprise focus and recent advancements in the areas of SAP integrations, analytics and application modernization, make Google Cloud an attractive choice for SAP customers. Google Cloud’s investment in the SAP market is meaningful --- especially in the mid-market -- where organizations are looking to rapidly innovate so that they can outpace their competition.”
Joint Google Cloud and SAP customers taking advantage of RISE include Energizer Holdings Inc. and MSC Industrial Supply. The St. Louis, Mo.-based Energizer, a manufacturer and distributor of batteries, portable lights and other products, will use RISE with SAP to help implement the SAP S/4HANA solution for its central finance hosted on Google Cloud, operate more efficiently, manage mergers and acquisitions, and support the company’s product strategy. Melville, N.Y.-based MSC Supply, which distributes metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations products and services to industrial customers, is transitioning to a cloud-first company and has has moved its SAP systems into a Google Cloud environment.
“Some of the wins that we’ve had that we will publicize over the next few months are completely channel-led,” Shah said.