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Understanding the role of SAP HCP in cloud migration

HANA Cloud Platform is increasingly the focus of SAP's efforts to entice users to the cloud by delivering new applications and exclusive services, including certain extensions to on-premises applications.

The many SAP HCP options are evolving so quickly that some users might be confused about which ones, if any, to choose. SearchSAP sought answers from Irfan Khan, SAP's CTO of Global Customer Operations, at this year's Sapphire Now conference.

"We're not pushing the cloud," Khan says in a video interview. "We are evolving towards the cloud." Khan adds that SAP users' journey to the cloud is typically dictated by their on-premises legacy platforms. "There's always going to be a hybrid concept that they have to deal with," he says.

SAP HCP gives users the flexibility to keep some of their on-premises applications and add newer capabilities in the cloud, according to Khan. "It gives you a staging area to almost have a division of labor, manage what you have on premises today, then drive new evolution and new integration, for example, directly to HANA Cloud Platform."

Khan also addresses a question about whether the vendor is making SAP HCP mandatory even for extending on-premises applications, not just cloud ones. "There is no compelling value for them to have to change just for the sake of changing," he says. "For the customers that are wanting to preserve the on-premises footprint, of course they can do that, and we have abilities to even run [S/4HANA ERP] on premises, as well. So it's not as if they're being handicapped in any way [and] not having the strong capabilities to continue to evolve on premises as they desire."

However, SAP believes -- and the market is dictating -- that the cloud will become the dominant deployment architecture. SAP HCP is not for limiting what users can do on premises, but for enhancing what's possible in the cloud, Khan says.

He also names some of the quickest ways to get a positive return on investment in SAP HCP and concludes by detailing the tools SAP provides for managing hybrid cloud and on-premises environments, which will be inevitable for most organizations.

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