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Why Cloud? Why Now? A Protera Webcast Recap


If you’re an IT business leader, you’ve probably asked “When is the right time to move to the SAP cloud?” more than once in recent years. According to Adam Mommersteeg, Vice President of Solution Architecture, the time right now.

In our recent webcast Why Cloud? Why Now? Adam spoke with the Director of Infrastructure for Protera client The Tile Shop, Eric Pawlowski, on how their move to the cloud has transformed their current business capabilities and plans for the future.

In this recap, we’ll cover the highlights of their talk, including:

  • Key business drivers behind mass cloud migration
  • How to select the right cloud for your business
  • Ways the cloud ensures agility, security, and other capabilities
  • What’s next after initial go-live on the SAP cloud
  • The Tile Shop’s story and details of their transformation

What Are the Key Drivers Behind SAP Cloud Adoption?

Aging On-Premise Data Center

As Gartner predicted a few years ago, the data center is (almost) dead - 80% of organizations will have closed their traditional data centers by 2025 in favor of cloud operations. It’s true that in some cases, certain workloads must be kept on-premise for security, compliance, or data privacy reasons. But for the most part, the business world is moving to the cloud en masse.


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Alt-Text: Charts highlighting the comparison between companies that closed down their data centers in 2019 (10%) vs. those who will have done it by 2025 (80%).

When it comes to overall operations and meeting competitive demands to stay agile, the data center simply no longer competes with the cloud from a scalability and flexibility perspective.

As such, aging data centers are often the impetus behind business leaders making the jump to the cloud. Rather than continuing to take on the high cost to maintain on-premise data centers or execute necessary hardware refreshes, they’re opting for cloud migration.


Growth at Scale

The demand for business agility is higher than ever, and companies can’t afford to be bogged down by expensive and outdated infrastructure. Cloud computing facilitates growth at scale by allowing for rapid deployment of applications and services and agile development practices.

It’s also much easier to scale operations up and down in cloud environments to align operating costs with current business demand. Further, the cloud enables remote-anywhere access to drive greater collaboration and innovation that can move a business forward.


SAP S/4HANA Potential on the Cloud

S/4HANA provides simple and agile access to SAP systems from remote locations- a critical need not only for corporate organizations operating modern workspaces, but also for companies in industries like retail and manufacturing, who operate multiple locations that must be seamlessly connected to keep operations running smoothly.

With SAP S/4HANA, companies can easily integrate with POS, supply chain management, and other key systems. They also get access to cloud-native features and capabilities that enhance business operations and results.


Selecting the Right Cloud for Your Business

There are several top cloud providers to choose from, most notably Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud, who are the clear market leaders.

The right choice for your business is less about which hyperscaler is “better” and more about your unique business needs. As Eric shared in the webcast, existing tools and partnerships you already have in place can also play a central role in your decision.

When Eric was newly on board at Tile Shop, one of his top priorities was to modernize their productivity tools. His team made the decision to go with Microsoft 365 both because his team was familiar with Microsoft products and because they have a strong connection to SAP.

Tile Shop was already using Azure in some capacities and with a hardware refresh on the horizon, Eric knew a bigger cloud migration was next. When they moved their SAP systems to the cloud, choosing Microsoft Azure would grant them access to innovative features and cloud capabilities developed through the Microsoft/SAP partnership.

In fact, it was the Azure team that recommended Tile Shop work with Protera to optimize their cloud transformation journey and leverage their SAP cloud environments to their full potential. 

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

Ensuring Agility and Security

For Tile Shop—and for Protera as their service provider—their cloud transformation was about more than just moving SAP systems to a cloud environment. It was about the entire platform, ecosystem, interface, and experience. Making the right cloud provider selection and managing your migration effectively is imperative for achieving long-term agility and security.

Here are some of the ways Protera helps Tile Shop and clients across industries leverage their cloud environments to level up their business performance:

  • Use Existing Licensing to Its Full Potential — Extend security policies and technical controls outright to end users across teams and locations using licensing from your cloud provider (for example, Azure’s E5 and Defender platforms)

  • Integrate with Cloud-Native DevOps — Integrate development goals and objectives with cloud DevOps platforms and pipelines to increase time to value

  • Increase Scalability — Using cloud and S/4HANA capabilities to spin up and spin down more easily to optimize costs and match operations with business demand

  • Security, Governance, and Risk Management — Using innovative applications and tools from cloud providers to implement always-on, proactive security strategies that mitigate risk and power stronger governanc

  • Maximizing Performance — Gaining transparency and actionable insights from monitoring tools that are integrated and built on SAP (example: Azure Monitor for SAP)

When collectively applied to an operational model on the cloud, these capabilities can drive significant business outcomes including quicker time to respond, greater agility, better business continuity, stronger security, and other benefits not attainable at the same level on-premise.


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Alt-Text: Table showing Protera’s cloud services encompassing IT operations and infrastructure, application management, security and risk management, and strategy and governance.

“When you have to do things like bring on 15 or 24 stores in a year or bring on new products to drive a new capability for your business, we cannot ignore the ‘run and maintain,’” Eric shared. “It may sound mundane, but it’s critically important to our businesses continuing to operate, especially in this world where cybersecurity risks are popping up every day.”

On the cloud, these capabilities and outcomes are all at your fingertips—and not in a bolt-on capacity. They become integrated and automated within your cloud deployment so you can focus on strategic projects and outcomes.


Plans for Modernizing After Go-Live

Migration and go-live are only the first steps to cloud transformation. The work continues after go-live, and teams must stay laser focused on leveraging continuous improvement to maximize business performance. For The Tile Shop, one such project was transforming their POS system.

Eric shared how the new cloud capabilities made an impact:

“Once you get your cloud infrastructure built out, it’s going to enable you to move fast,” he shared. “That’s something The Tile Shop had been looking for for years. With our point-of-sale upgrade, the old way of doing things would have taken us 9 months. With the new way, we’re talking about 8 weeks.”

The cloud delivered considerable time and resource savings that allowed Eric's team to refocus on other strategic initiatives.

“We have a lot of big ideas at The Tile Shop,” Eric shared, “and a lot of different ways we want to interact with our customers. All of these things are on our roadmap for the next 3-5 years, but we wouldn’t be able to put them on our roadmap if we were continuously looking at why things might take too long.”

“[The cloud] will take us to the next level, where we’ll really be able to focus on the business outcomes they want and bring a better experience to our employees and customers.”

For The Tile Shop, that’s the cloud difference.

For 25 years, Protera has been helping leading organizations modernize, optimize, and secure their SAP systems to drive better performance.


Talk to one of our experts to learn how we can help your business transform.