The cloud has profoundly changed the ERP migration process. There are more choices for destinations and powerful new features that help control cost and risk. Likewise, there are more choices your business has to consider than in the on-premise days.
Here are four of the most important ways the cloud has changed migration.
Cloud Automation Transformed the Entire Process of ERP Migration
Migration Before Automation
Cloud automation has changed both the goals and process of ERP migration, from planning through post go-live and beyond. Before the cloud, automation wasn’t within reach for most SAP-based companies (let alone other types of ERP). Calculating dependencies, planning out the company’s technical transformation and executing ERP data migration were all manual processes. Not only did this make the process relatively slow and expensive, it was also very limited — particularly in the early stages.
Lack of automation also limited the potential for improvement in performance and administration. Companies would tend to depend heavily on a few internal SMEs who knew their system inside out. It was difficult (and often cost-prohibitive) to find reliable new resources, which made it hard to plan operational improvements like more frequent patching, or better GRC as part of the transformation.
ERP Migration and Automation in the Cloud Age
With automation, companies can aim higher, and accomplish more with less work, resources and risk. The painstaking manual system audit has been replaced with a free SAP migration assessment. That establishes complete visibility at the beginning of the project, identifies custom code and potentially saves weeks of work digging through the system by hand.
Automation continues to aid teams throughout the ERP migration, resulting in faster work, less risk of human error and a corresponding reduction in likelihood of project delays and setbacks, as well as lower cost. We’ve been able to execute complex SAP HANA upgrades and migrations in just three months, something that would be next to impossible without automation.
But the biggest change is in what you can accomplish. Some of the factors cloud automation enables your on-premise to cloud migration to improve include:
- Performance metrics, such as end user response time
- Stability and availability
- Resiliency in the event of a disaster recovery scenario
- Security and GRC
- IT support levels, with self-service provisioning and other automated services
- IT management cost and efficiency
On-Premise Assets Pose Additional Considerations for ERP Cloud Migration
Existing Investments Have Always Been a Factor in Migration
Companies need to get the most value out of their hardware, infrastructure, licenses, service agreement and other investments. At the same time, existing assets generally aren’t sufficient for post-migration needs, meaning companies will need to supplement and/or replace their existing investments.
Cloud ERP Migration Adds Additional Considerations
In a cloud migration, instead of adding new on-premise hardware, you’re reducing or eliminating your on-premise footprint. But in the short term, it may be more cost-effective to hold onto newer hardware until it sunsets. So how can you continue to extract value from that hardware from the cloud?
Often, the answer is to use your hardware for supplementary tasks, like backups and testing. On-premise hardware that isn’t powerful enough to run HANA production can still be useful for development tasks, disaster recovery and other uses after your ERP data migration.
That hardware can also help with certain hybrid cloud hosting use cases. For example, having some local servers may help you achieve low latency, or work with large files if that’s something your business requires.
Finally, on-premise resources are a good place to silo low-priority projects for a later date. If your company has a lot of legacy data that you can’t get rid of but also don’t need to access frequently, there’s no reason it can’t sit in your on-premise hardware until you finally move it to the cloud in a future project.
ERP Data Migration and Integration
Cloud Integration Has Ended Vendor Lock-in
Thanks to modern integration, companies can now piece together the perfect combination of tools to meet their unique needs. But this is a double-edged sword. ERP systems have always been complex, but in the cloud age, there has been an explosion in platforms, hosting models, applications and developer tools. With more pieces than ever that need to speak to each other, integration has become a bigger concern for ERP migration in some ways.
Even if you’re doing an “as is” migration to a single cloud vendor, there are still a lot of things you need to hook up to your new system, from your financial services providers to your development environments. And anything your migration team misses could cause major headaches and disruptions on go-live.
You Need to Consider Complexity in Planning Migration
Fortunately, modern ERP migration methodologies like SAP Activate are designed to meet the complex integration needs of modern landscapes. These systems use a recursive process to ensure the system has been correctly configured down to the smallest detail, before go live.
However, although you shouldn’t have to worry about your team failing at integration, it can pose some considerations around the cost and complexity of your system. SAP S/4HANA can handle a much larger range of use cases than any previous ERP software, which may give you an opportunity to move use cases that were previously handled by third-party software or services to SAP in your ERP migration. Reducing complexity and the need for integration by consolidating your system will make your ERP landscape more efficient, cost-effective and agile.
Harnessing the Benefits of Multiple Cloud Platforms
Choosing Cloud Hosting Involves New Factors
Before the cloud era, hosting decisions often came down to cost and quality. Weighing SLAs, redundancy (and therefore, disaster resilience), and service levels could get pretty complicated, but basically you were always looking for the same thing: a hosting solution that could keep your system running as reliably as possible, at a reasonable price point.
The Cloud has Changed the Decision Matrix for ERP Data Migration
With high reliability and low costs, you could find a reasonable solution in any public cloud. However, finding the “best” solution is more complicated than ever. If AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, etc. are all economical and reliable, how do you choose?
Pricing is still a factor. Cloud platforms have different pricing schemes, which may benefit one S/4HANA use case over another. But even with pricing, you’re often taking a gamble. For example, you can save money by correctly anticipating your cloud needs and reserving just enough compute to address landscape demand. Go over, and you could end up paying for resources you don’t need.
There are also many features to look at, from automation to developer libraries, to hybrid cloud support. Depending on your industry and your niche, one cloud may have a “killer feature” or an overall edge over its competitors. You also need to consider your organization’s experience and culture — for example, what platforms your admins know, or what tools your developers prefer.
However, more and more often, the best solution involves multiple clouds. Not only can you take advantage of the strengths of each platform, but you can also build added redundancy in your system, should one of your cloud providers suffer a major failure.
The right ERP migration partner will help you consider both the pros and cons of each platform along with the needs of your organization, and choose the right combination of cloud resources for your migration.
Contact us to learn how Protera can help you sort through all the options and plan the ideal migration for your organization.
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