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The Journey to SAP on Public Cloud: Migration vs. Modernization


Moving SAP to the cloud and making the jump to S/4HANA is no longer a question of if but when, leaving many enterprise IT leaders and executives wondering how to plan a journey for their business that enhances capabilities, minimizes business disruption, and positions their organization for long-term success in a fast-changing environment.

Within that planning process come questions around cloud migration vs. cloud modernization: How are they related? How are they different? Which one is best for my business? Should we be doing both at the same time?

All valid questions — and ones Protera is here to answer. In my recent webinar, Selecting the Right SAP Opportunity for Value Creation, this idea of migration vs. modernization is the first topic I cover.

This article will highlight some of the most important insights from that webcast, including:

  • Migration vs. Modernization — how they’re related and key differences
  • How to decide when and how to make the jump to S/4HANA
  • How to add value for your business with adjacent capabilities in the public cloud

Migration vs. Modernization — What’s the difference?

Cloud migration and modernization are discussed in the same conversations and even used interchangeably in many ways, but there’s a key difference between the two — migration is only the first step toward modernization.

More specifically, migration is the process of moving workloads to the cloud, while modernization is the continuous journey of transforming and improving the business with cloud capabilities.

The public cloud has radically changed the cloud journey in that it no longer ends. The days of moving workloads once and returning in 3-5 years to see how you can optimize are gone — innovative, forward-thinking companies continuously leverage capabilities adjacent to the SAP ecosystem to drive value for their businesses in new and interesting ways.

When should you make the jump to S/4HANA?

Many of our clients at Protera still have one key question remains even after they understand the importance of continuous modernization, transformation, and innovation:

Should I migrate first and modernize later, or do both at the same time?

For SAP users, this translates to: Should I move my SAP systems to the cloud as-is, or make the jump concurrently to S/4HANA?

The answer to this question is that it depends — and while that’s likely not the most directly helpful answer, it is the most honest one. IT leaders and their business counterparts should work together to identify existing needs and capabilities, time and bandwidth available for the cloud journey, and urgent business priorities that inform the best strategy for your enterprise.

Helpful questions to ask include:

  •  What is your timeline? How quickly do you want/need to move to the public cloud?
  • How much change do you want/are you able to take on?
  • What risks exist throughout our infrastructure that we need to consider?
  • Do we have specific capability needs that demand modernization?

The good news? Neither answer — to migrate, then modernize or to do both at once — is wrong. At Protera we’ve had clients successfully execute both ways.

Regardless of what your unique cloud journey looks like, Protera is able to help you implement best practices to assess your readiness, minimize risk, and execute with little to no disruption.

Adding Value with Adjacent Capabilities

Once you are up and running on the public cloud, the most critical question to ask your team and your partner (like Protera) is — how do I drive this idea of continuous improvement and continuous optimization through these workloads? Some of the key areas to focus your efforts include:

  • DevOps and FinOps — Optimizing and right-sizing as well as powering streamlined, collaborative development processes
  • Data intelligence — Moving from after-the-fact reporting to real-time insights and enriched data (with tools like dashboards, AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics)
  • Modern Workspaces — Operating remote work environments that allow users to connect to SAP applications securely, conveniently, and efficiently from anywhere in the world

These are timely examples, but not an exhaustive list — the key is to know that true modernization requires continuous leverage of products and services adjacent to your SAP landscape in the public cloud to add more value for your business.

More Insight on Your SAP Cloud Journey

For more insight on this and important related topics, listen to the full version of my recent webinar, Selecting the Right Opportunity for SAP Value Creation.



To learn more about how Protera can help you execute a successful journey to the cloud, talk to our team today.