SAP doubles down on cloud and unveils S/4HANA Cloud, private edition

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SAP has made public a number of new offerings to help its customers move over to the cloud at “their own pace” and reap the benefits of cloud technology.

ERP Today spoke with Eric van Rossum, chief marketing and solutions officer, SAP Cloud ERP, to find out more about its latest innovations.

First up is the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, 2023 release, which delivers the full scope of capabilities of SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) and also brings finance, manufacturing, operations and suppliers into a single cloud platform with line-of-business applications based on the newest architecture.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, 2023

As part of RISE with SAP, the private edition will follow a two-year release cycle with innovations delivered every six months. In addition, maintenance will increase from five to seven years.

As van Rossum tells ERP Today: “The S/4HANA Cloud 2023 release is a big move for us. Not only are we going to have full parity scope with ECC, but it also builds on so many more of the capabilities which we’re delivering with S/4.”

When it comes to ECC customers shifting to the cloud, van Rossum says from a functional perspective there is no reason not to move to cloud.

“One of the components – which was actually revamped into S/4 and is actually one of the big innovation blocks we’ve seen in the 2023 release – is around service management. So we always had that in ECC…but we’ve reimagined that and rebuilt it based on the HANA capabilities. That is now fully fledged on par with the functionality we had but then also offers so much more of what’s expected from a service business model today.”

“Within the context of RISE for S/4HANA, Cloud 23 is really the foundation of RISE where we’re targeting this to take our install base to the cloud at the customer’s pace and really leveraging the asset they have. A lot of customers have invested a considerable amount of money but also have an IP in this and they want to leverage that asset.”

The private edition release allows the user to move over leveraging assets, but at the same time utilizes the transformation services found within RISE to allow for a clean core by removing modifications, standardized processes and modularizing.

“Where we really want to give our install base is that they’re able to upgrade their asset on a continuous basis and consume innovation on a continual basis and really make it agile.

“It doesn’t require a total disruption, but customers are able to build on what they actually have today and where they’ve made investments in the previous years.”

An addition to RISE – Premium Plus

As part of its number of announcements this week, SAP brings to the fore an additional RISE premium, Premium Plus.

Van Rossum explains: “What we decided to do is – from an economic perspective – a package of some of the key functional value add that we see customers using and really allow that to be consumed for an economically positive price point.

“There’s a lot of capabilities around planning and supplier portal. We’re bringing suppliers into your network ERP [and] introducing some of our key sustainability innovation around SAP’s green ledger into this as well.”

The Premium Plus package will offer more sustainability insights, use generative AI for ERP with the help of the recently announced AI assistant, Joule, enable CFO’s to make decisions faster with solutions that streamline planning operations and allow customers to create a networked ERP with a supplier portal, among other features.

Taking the leap of faith

SAP is also “doubling down” in its efforts to help its install base for the on-premise boost to cloud.

As part of the series of launches, SAP has introduced a new conversion and modernization program for RISE with SAP, featuring offerings tailored to each customer’s unique starting point. 

The program includes RISE with SAP adoption framework to plan any conversions and the SAP Signavio Process Insights solution to build business cases.

In addition, SAP Customer Evolution kit is a new and free service that offers 1:1 sessions with SAP experts to evaluate how the customer can best convert to SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

“For that move, we’re consolidating all of our services, tools and offerings we have under one migration centre to really make that more streamlined,” says van Rossum. “But we’re also going to be investing in one-on-one engagements with our customers in a sort of ‘migrate now’ workshop, where we look at where they are, so that we can get an offer based on where they sit, what their timeline is and what their objective is and really have a specific migration offer, both financially – but also from what the roadmap looks like.”

What user groups are saying

Van Rossum says SAP’s user groups are an “important community to advocate for” its install base, and Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) have been providing feedback on SAP’s latest innovations.

Geoff Scott, CEO and chief community champion at ASUG commented: “SAP’s latest announcements and innovations are in lockstep with digital transformation necessities, giving customers a clear path to achieve more value from their enterprise technology investments in progressively shorter time frames.”

Leveraging AI capabilities

Lastly, SAP is looking to further invest in tools such as to how it can leverage AI to reduce cost of test automation or documentation.

Van Rossum said: “Our strategy really is that it’s AI built for business. Where I think we differentiate in the market is that the AI scenarios we’re going to be launching are really bringing it into the context of our processes.

“So our strength is understanding enterprise processes. That’s what we’ve done for 50-plus years.”