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From easier management to cost savings, cloud computing advantages seem apparent. For SAP users, whose systems are typically complicated and costly, it should be especially enticing to have someone else run and manage your system. You get all of the benefits, but can offload much of the pain.
The good news is that SAP has a number of cloud initiatives, which means deployment choices abound. However, the options can be confusing, and the issues in selecting the right one are complex.
Two flavors of SAP HANA cloud
Before you go to the SAP cloud, get to know the members of the SAP cloud services family. There are two broad branches in the family tree that have similar names and are both variations on SAP HANA cloud technology, but offer very different approaches and functions. SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is a platform as a service for application development. HCP is in the early adopter phase, but SAP believes that it will be the place to add extensions to SAP software. SAP HANA Enterprise (HEC) is an infrastructure as a service that allows companies to run SAP-based operations in a hosted environment.
Next, take a deeper look at SAP HCP. SAP is encouraging third-party software developers and integrators to take industry expertise and build targeted apps and extensions on HCP, which they can then sell to SAP users on the SAP Store. Only a small percentage of SAP customers use HCP today, but some observers believe use will grow as adoption of SAP's new ERP platform, S/4HANA, increases and SAP boosts its marketing messages around HCP. Furthermore, SAP is actively encouraging and assisting third-party developers to build apps that use data from SAP systems.
Finally, explore what you need to know before starting the complex and murky process of choosing an SAP HANA cloud service provider. HEC was designed to make it easier to deploy HANA software as a managed service, but details about SAP HANA cloud options are hard to find. Nevertheless, there are certain things an organization needs to do when choosing an SAP HANA cloud provider. For example, you need to determine if you want to trade off the greater control of on-premises systems for the flexibility and speed of the cloud.
Many companies are still resistant to putting their ERP systems in the cloud, but the movement to put at least some aspects there seems inevitable.
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