A recent survey of roughly 50 CIOs nationwide found that the use of cloud software in hybrid environments continues to grow, with over 80% of those CIOs saying they had invested significantly in cloud solutions. At the same time, security concerns and integration snafus continue to hinder cloud adoption.
SearchSAP.com spoke with Sven Denecken, vice president of SAP cloud solutions, about the survey and about companies' evolution to the cloud.
Should companies be transitioning to the SAP cloud -- or the cloud in general -- as fast as they can? Where does moving to cloud make the most sense?
Sven Denecken: It's naïve to think that everything is going cloud-based anytime soon. Companies should look at what areas they'll keep. For one, if you're invested in an asset and that asset does the job, there's no reason to rip that out and put it in the cloud.
A recent report on hybrid deployments recommended developing a five-year plan when it comes to deciding what to put into the cloud. What kind of strategy do you recommend, and what kind of timeline?
Denecken: [It] depends on the size of the company and where it is located. For small businesses who are located in the U.S. and making changes quickly, a five-year plan is too long for them -- they’ll need a two- to three-year plan -- but beyond that it becomes very difficult to determine a cloud plan, due to the rapid changes in technology and business requirements.
Another report cites the prevalence of delays in deploying cloud applications. Why is that?
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Denecken: Cloud as a technology hasn't made their lives as an enterprise easier [in those cases], because the purchase decision was made in a line of business, and didn't involve IT. Then IT is asked to fix it.
Can you give me an example?
Denecken: Let's say the chief [human resources officer] wants to transform recruiting, but fails to understand that he's not connected to the system of record, he can't do recruiting, he can't do onboarding. Or, if I'm a sales guy who can't connect to the system to know if something has been shipped or paid. Because of that, those [processes] begin to fail.
What kinds of options are there from SAP for middleware that can integrate cloud and on-premises solutions?
Denecken: Not everything needs to be integrated with everything. The scale of integration is also very important. That's why sometimes flat-file integration is enough for a small process.
But of course, when it comes to more sophisticated business areas, then of course, data integration comes into play. Process integration comes into play. For [on-premises] ERP, it was called NetWeaver Process Integration. We now have a cloud version, the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.
Of course, we also cooperate with the Del Boomis and the [IBM] Cast Irons because I, at SAP, want to avoid any hindering, any pitfall, any obstacle for them to use more of my SAP public cloud services.
Note: This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
This was first published in August 2013