Rise with SAP will continue to evolve in 2022

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Rise with SAP will continue to drive the SAP narrative in 2022, but opinions vary on whether Rise will fulfill its mission of convincing SAP customers to move to S/4HANA and the cloud.

Rise, a set of SAP products and services centered on the digital core of the S/4HANA cloud, is steadily evolving and gaining value by adding new elements and giving customers more flexibility in deployment options, some industry experts say. . For others, Rise remains a work in progress that is unlikely to move the needle for companies still determining their migration strategy.

A year after its launch, Rise with SAP remains vague for SAP customers. For example, a survey published in November 2021 by the UK and Ireland SAP User Group indicated that less than half of respondents were familiar with Rise and a third had never heard of it. offer.

While analysts agree that Rise with SAP offers customers a credible way to move to the cloud and S/4HANA, there’s still work to be done to convince them it’s the best approach.

Rise evolves

Rise with SAP began as a way to make it more beneficial for customers to move to S/4HANA from legacy SAP systems, but SAP continues to revise and refine the initiative, according to Joshua Greenbaum, director of Enterprise Applications. Consulting, an ERP consulting firm. company in Berkeley, California.

Joshua Greenbaum

“Rise isn’t just about S/4HANA, because they’re integrating more SuccessFactors, Ariba, and other components into it,” Greenbaum said. “I think they’re going to keep moving forward with this, because ultimately the sweet spot of SAP is trying to get these ERP customers to upgrade, and they definitely need to.”

The Rise program, which allows customers to choose their preferred cloud hyperscaler and simplifies the cloud relationship with a single contract through SAP, shows that SAP is trying to change the framework around licenses and contracts to make them more advantageous for customers, has he declared. Rise also provides customers with access to the SAP Business Network, comprised of SAP Ariba Network, SAP Logistics Business Network, and SAP Asset Intelligence Network; cloud credits for the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) development environment; and Signavio, a business process management system.

Packaging platforms under the Rise umbrella is a double-edged sword, Greenbaum said. The inclusion of SAP BTP in Rise will be a crucial tool for SAP to enable developers to continue working within an SAP development platform, he said.

“SAP desperately needs developers – both internal and external – to start looking at SAP BTP and take them out of the low-cost [offerings] they get from Amazon and Azure,” Greenbaum said.

However, SAP should also be clearer about the value of initiatives, such as SAP Business Network, that do not need to be used in conjunction with Rise.

“The SAP Business Network has snuck in as something you can do with Rise,” Greenbaum said. “It would be better if SAP removed that and [talked up] the innate value of the enterprise network instead of being an added value to Rise.”

More education needed

SAP is still struggling to get customers to understand the full value of Rise with SAP, in part because it involves many moving parts, according to Jon Reed, co-founder of Diginomica, an IT industry analyst firm. of business.

Jon Reed, co-founder, DiginomicaJon Reed

For example, in addition to the core mission of providing customers with a way to manage a relationship with cloud hyperscalers, Rise includes things like BTP access and Signavio, which can help companies understand the current state of their processes and to reimagine how they can work in the transformed system.

This has led some observers to dismiss Rise as the next SAP version of SAP Leonardo or SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC), two previous initiatives that sought to introduce advanced technologies and cloud hosting services but ended up confusing customers. , said Reed. However, Rise has a better defined purpose and value proposition for customers, but SAP needs to step up its outreach efforts to alleviate confusion, he added.

It will also be essential for SAP to show concrete examples of customers who have benefited from Rise, such as how Rise has helped manage relationships with cloud hyperscalers or how having S/4HANA in the cloud has alleviated the burden on IT staff, according to Reed. .

“By the time they get to Sapphire [SAP’s annual user conference], they better have customer success stories that are advanced enough and can talk about the benefits, because that’s what gets the attention of other customers,” he said.

Many SAP customers have longstanding relationships with systems integrators, and they will need to assess their position on Rise, according to Reed. Some may be all-in on Rise, using it as the preferred S/4HANA cloud migration method; others may support it, but also other approaches.

“A lot of these service companies have their own cloud offering – for better or for worse,” he said. “Some companies have taken this position that they don’t think Rise is a good value proposition and that their own cloud offering is better.”

SAP must show the way to S/4HANA

At this point, it’s still too early to judge Rise’s overall impact with SAP, said Eric Kimberling, CEO and founder of Third Stage Consulting Group, an independent ERP consultancy in Lone Tree, Colorado. The initiative did not make an impression on Third Stage’s clientele.

Eric Kimberling, CEO and Founder, Third Stage Consulting GroupEric Kimberling

“[Rise with SAP] is the latest in a series of SAP initiatives over the years to counter the perception that technology is big, cumbersome, expensive and risky to implement,” said Kimberling. “While this may not harm customers, it is important to recognize that Rise is largely a pre-sales tool designed to help convince customers that they should deploy S/4HANA and other SAP products.”

Rise with SAP is unlikely to be truly successful until SAP offers a real migration path to S/4HANA in the cloud, said Predrag Jakovljevic, principal industry analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers, a technology company. business computer analysis in Longueuil, Quebec.

Predrag Jakovljevic, Senior Industry Analyst, Technology Assessment CentersPredrag Jakovljevic

However, SAP faces a thorny question as to whether skills for the SAP ABAP development language will transfer to the new world of S/4HANA in the cloud, he said.

“Of course, ABAP can be done in the cloud, but developers want to work in JavaScript or Visual Basic, not in an IBM RPG-like language,” Jakovljevic said. “CIOs will have high reimplementation costs, high recycling rates, or possibly high retirement rates, and will also have to pay for new cloud licenses.”

Issues like these that make migrating to the cloud difficult can lead at least some of the SAP installed base – as well as competing ERP giant Oracle – to flee to other systems such as those from IFS, Microsoft Dynamics or NetSuite, he said. noted.

Holger Mueller, Analyst, Constellation ResearchHolger Müller

There is also another potential issue for SAP, over which the company has little control: COVID-19. Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research, said Rise’s future success with SAP will depend on how the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business leaders and IT managers are less likely to think about upgrading ERP systems as they face pandemic-triggered regulations, new business processes and new business plans, Mueller said. .

“The good news for SAP is that it has time to improve the S/4HANA value proposition,” he said. “If done well, it will make the upgrade more attractive to leaders. But in the meantime, SAP needs to manage expectations around Rise.”

Jim O’Donnell is a TechTarget News Writer who covers ERP and other business applications for SearchSAP and SearchERP.

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