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Extend and Innovate with Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a leading cloud platform for organizations running SAP, helping them succeed through a deep strategic partnership with SAP itself and pioneering cloud innovations and technologies. As cloud gains an increasingly central role in how businesses operate, more and more organizations are migrating their critical systems there.

But migration is only the first step in a continuous cloud transformation journey for modern enterprises. The real opportunity is in improvement and innovation—the ongoing effort to earn the highest possible ROI from running SAP and enterprise workloads on the cloud.

Extending the use of cloud services on Azure drives innovation to help to achieve this goal. In this guide, we’ll detail why optimizing SAP cloud ROI is a competitive imperative, plus 5 strategies to do it effectively in the modern cloud business landscape.

Quick Takeaways:

  • In less than two years, 80% of enterprises will be operating primarily on the public cloud.
  • Microsoft Azure and SAP have a longstanding partnership that translates to customer benefits like unified support and easy integrations.
  • Achieving your business desired goals can be accelerated by extending and innovating your use of Microsoft Azure with a trusted SAP/Microsoft partner provider.
  • The process includes: thorough discovery and goal setting, detailed execution planning, and ongoing monitoring and reporting.
  • Protera is a SAP-certified and a Microsoft AI Cloud Solution Partner with specializations in SAP on Azure, Windows Server and SQL Server Migration, Azure Virtual Desktop, Azure Networking, and DevOps on GitHub that helps drive business innovation by integrating and deploying Microsoft Azure cloud native services.

The SAP Cloud Imperative

For SAP customers that have still been unsure about migrating to the cloud, the time is now to take the leap. By 2025, 80% of enterprises will have migrated to the public cloud, and nearly three-quarters of SAP customers will deploy SAP S/4HANA on the cloud by the same time.

By 2025, 80% of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data center, vs. 10% in 2020

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In other words: The cloud is no longer just about advancing technology, but a fundamental part of the way companies operate and build strategy. For SAP customers, the cloud is creating new opportunities to implement the kind of streamlined and collaborative operations large enterprises struggled to achieve for decades.

That means the standards for innovation and agility from large enterprises are higher than ever, and will only continue to grow. SAP organizations need a cloud strategy that can help them overcome traditional barriers to transformation caused by complex legacy ERP systems.

Microsoft Azure has the capabilities needed to help SAP organizations achieve this goal, delivering critical benefits to SAP clients that include:

  • Deep SAP Partnership: SAP and Azure provide joint innovation and unified support for cloud transformation journeys, whether running SAP and ancillary workloads natively on Azure or choosing Rise with SAP on Azure
  • Platform Built for SAP: Azure offers easy integrations between SAP systems and Microsoft data and collaboration tools such as Power BI and Microsoft 365
  • Insights and Innovation: Azure offers unmatched data analytics, and is committed to developing new technologies that power business success
  • AI Capabilities: Azure provides comprehensive AI tools and services, from Azure Machine Learning for custom solutions to Cognitive Services for pre-built AI functionalities, enabling rapid development and integration of intelligent features.
  • Security and Compliance: Azure has a robust integrated security platform with Microsoft Sentinel and diverse compliance offerings

The first step to successfully embarking on an Extend and Innovate journey with Azure is to find a trusted SAP cloud migration and modernization service provider, like Protera. Let’s walk through key steps in the Extend and Innovate process as it’s implemented for Protera clients.

5 Steps to Extend and Innovate with Azure

At Protera, we follow a proven process for cloud modernization journeys that aims to customize solution plans for each unique client while staying rooted in industry best practices and technologies. Steps in the process include:

1.    Perform Discovery and Deliver Insights

During the first step in the journey, the Protera team engages in immersive and interactive conversations with the client team to learn about their current SAP systems. Often, Protera is given direct access to these systems in order to gather firsthand insight on how they’re running.

Together, Protera and the client team explore questions such as:

  • Do you have procedures in place to optimize SAP environments?
  • How do you handle SAP data to inform decisions and strategy?
  • How do you budget and optimize the cost of running SAP on Azure?
  • Do you have a defined security operations strategy in place?
  • What current challenges do you experience related to SAP and ancillary systems?

After a complete discovery assessment, the Protera team delivers initial insights in these and other key areas of the client’s IT operations, setting the initial direction for strategies on how to leverage Microsoft Azure services to drive business desired outcomes and innovations.

2.    Set Goals and Objectives

Next, Protera works with the client to develop well-defined goals. They look for both low-hanging fruit or quick-win opportunities to transform, as well as longer-term objectives that require more comprehensive approaches. Together, the teams document these goals and begin to form a plan.

3.    Develop an Execution Plan and Timeline

Each client’s execution plan outlines exactly how their transformation goals will be achieved. Just like migration execution plans, plans for extending and innovating on Azure serve as a roadmap and guide to facilitate successful implementation and high accountability from all involved.

Transformation and innovation execution plans typically include:

  • A summary of documented goals and objectives
  • Detailed timelines for implementation
  • Tasks required for each initiative and people responsible
  • Important KPIs and benchmarks to monitor
  • Scheduled meetings to review progress

A client’s execution plan serves as the most central resource for all involved in the project to understand its scope at a high level, and be able to zoom in on particular aspects of it as needed.

4.    Monitor and Report on Progress

Protera makes it a priority to deliver frequent and detailed progress updates on projects, communicating with the client on successes as they happen, and quickly identifying and addressing issues when they do occur throughout the process.

This allows organizations to remain informed and agile throughout the entirety of an initiative to extend and innovate, make quick adjustments as needed, and keep project plans running smoothly, even when unexpected events occur.

5.    Make New Plans for Continuous Improvement

Today, businesses never stand still. When an initial modernization and/or innovation journey is completed, Protera works with the client to identify new goals and transformations to be tackled next or taken on in the near future.

This helps clients adopt a forward-thinking mindset that prioritizes continuous improvement. They can adjust to new market conditions seamlessly, and adopt new technologies quickly to stay a step ahead of competitors in their industries.


Buyer's Guide Maximizing Enterprise Cloud Migration Outcomes The Guide on a Free Advanced Migration Assessment  

Embrace Innovation with a Fully Funded Microsoft Advanced Migration Assessment

Evaluate your organization’s readiness to extend and innovate on Microsoft Azure with a fully funded advanced Migration Assessment at no cost to you. Work with Protera and Microsoft to gain valuable insights in weeks, not months, into your IT landscape.

With Protera and Microsoft’s support, this fully funded assessment will get you there in 4-6 weeks.

Our Cloud Assessment Reports include:

  • An executive summary of data-driven findings
  • Identification of workloads to move to Azure
  • Total cost of ownership analysis
  • Application rationalization and wave planning
  • Strategic roadmap, recommendations, and next steps
  • Potential access to migration funding opportunities