SAP has launched a new collection of services and software, offered as a single subscription product called “Rise with SAP,” designed to assist customers with cloud migration and digital transformation initiatives.
As part of the Rise with SAP announcement Wednesday the company said it is acquiring Signavio, a Germany-based developer of business process intelligence and process management tools.
SAP is also extending its long-running strategic alliance with Microsoft by disclosing plans to integrate Microsoft Teams collaboration software with SAP’s S/4HANA suite of ERP applications. The companies also will expand their joint efforts to accelerate the adoption of S/4HANA on Microsoft’s Azure public cloud.
The Rise with SAP offering is built around SAP software and services, with S/4HANA Cloud and the SAP Business Technology Platform at the core, with the software available through SAP’s private cloud service as well as hyperscale public cloud platforms such as Azure and Amazon Web Services.
SAP executives said the company’s channel partners have a major role to play in bringing Rise with SAP to market. That includes resellers who can sell the bundle of products and services to new and existing customers, ISV partners who develop add-on applications and extensions to SAP’s software, and services companies that provide system implementation and migration services, said CEO Christian Klein in an online presentation Wednesday.
“We are serving 400,000 customers across the globe. And there’s no way SAP can develop everything on our own. We also cannot sell or service everything on our own. So we need a strong ecosystem,” Klein said. “This is the most partner-friendly offering we have ever launched from SAP. Our ecosystem is fully embracing this new offering. That was key for us.”
“I think this is a very good move because it’s a way to provide customers with more flexibility to move to the cloud and S/4HANA,” said Ivan Gonzalez Alvarez, marketing and communications director at Seidor, a multi-national IT consulting, infrastructure, implementation and MSP services firm and one of SAP’s leading partners.
Seidor, based in Barcelona, Spain, works with SAP’s S/4HANA, Business One and Business ByDesign applications. The software and related services account for more than 60 percent of Seidor’s revenue, Alvarez said in an interview with CRN.
“They’ve identified a way to offer a bundle of services that bring value to the customer,” Alvarez said. “Customers have more options to go to the cloud. And that’s good for us.”
While businesses have been quicker to adopt cloud computing for CRM and other, more stand-alone applications, migration of ERP applications to the cloud has generally lagged because of their complexity, their position at the core of many organizations’ business processes, and their close integration with many operational applications, industrial systems, and suppliers and customers, noted Lars Landwehrkamp, CEO of All For One Group, an SAP services and solutions partner based in Filderstadt, Germany.
Landerwehrkamp, in an interview with CRN, called Rise with SAP “a good move” because it offers a bundle of services and software to make ERP migration to the cloud easier. “We’re seeing more and more the call for cloud services for ERP,” he said.
He said Rise with SAP will also resolve a couple of problems that partners have run into, most notably that while SAP offers S/4HANA Cloud for public cloud platforms, that runs as a shared, multi-tenant instance of the application suite and partners cannot add their own customizations or extensions.
Offering a private cloud option for S/4HANA will resolve that, Landerwehrkamp said, by providing customers with their own instance of the applications to which partners can add application customizations, extensions and vertical industry add-ons. Rise with SAP will also improve the integration of S/4HANA with SAP’s acquired cloud applications like SuccessFactors and Qualtrics XM, he added.
But Landerwehrkamp noted all this puts SAP more into the cloud hosting business and he said the company will have to step up its game in service delivery quality. “SAP is not a hosting company, it’s a software development company,” he said.
SAP calls Rise with SAP a “business transformation-as-a-service” offering that provides a path to “the intelligent enterprise” – the moniker SAP has used for several years to describe organizations that use advanced IT to develop agile, automated business processes.
“You will see partners play a fundamental role in making [Rise with SAP] happen,” said Karl Farhbach, SAP’s chief partner officer, (pictured) in an interview with CRN, noting that 90 percent of SAP software implementations are done by partners. “It’s a huge opportunity for them. SAP will lead with the services of the partners. If there are no partners, there is no Rise with SAP.”
SAP will provide Rise with SAP enablement training sessions for partners to be sure they are qualified to sell it and develop software around it, Fahrbach said. Some of the company’s biggest partners, including Deloitte and CapGemini, are already undergoing such enablement.
“We really want to bring our partners to the very center of the SAP strategy,” Fahrbach said, adding that building and supporting the SAP partner ecosystem is one of Klein’s top five priorities.
Rise with SAP will be offered on a subscription basis. It includes services for redesigning business processes and enabling IT migration – the latter including running SAP software either within an SAP data center as a private cloud service or on a hyperscale public cloud platform.
“Transforming into an intelligent enterprise has never been more important than today,” Klein said, noting the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic disruption, climate change and other events. But he said digital transformation remains a challenge for many businesses.
The “building an intelligent enterprise” component of Rise with SAP is focused on implementing the vendor’s SAP Business Technology Platform, which serves as an integration hub for SAP and third-party applications, and the S/4HANA application suite itself.
Fahrbach said SAP will be using the new Rise with SAP offering to encourage development partners to leverage the Business Technology Platform to build extensions and customizations, rather than make changes to the S/4HANA core code.
The acquisition of Berlin, Germany-based Signavio, which the two companies expect to complete by the end of the first quarter of 2021, is a key component of Rise with SAP. (The companies didn’t disclose the financial details of the acquisition.)
Signavio will become part of SAP’s Business Intelligence Process unit and will provide the business process analysis, design, integration and automation applications, tools and key performance indicators (KPIs) offered within the Rise with SAP package.
The integration of Teams with S/4HANA, now under development, should be complete and available to SAP customers in the second quarter of 2021, Klein said.
SAP and Microsoft announced an alliance in 2019 to support S/4HANA applications running on Microsoft Azure. (The two companies have had a tight relationship for many years to link Microsoft’s Office personal productivity applications with SAP systems.)
Wednesday the two companies said they will expand that relationship to develop and introduce new service offerings in cloud automation and integration around S/4HANA on Azure, including making it simpler to move from S/4HANA on-premises to S/4HANA Cloud, invest in platform and infrastructure technology, and expand joint engagements with customers and partners.