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Get ready to make processes fit the software when shifting to SAP's cloud, users told

Business teams might want to look at their operating models post-pandemic, user groups suggest

SAP customers need to change the way they operate to shift their ERP systems to the cloud, according to the CEO of the Americas' SAP Users' group (ASUG).

Responding to the results of a joint survey between ASUG and German-speaking user group DSAG, which showed some scepticism towards SAP's lift-and-shift package, Geoff Scott said users would have to look again at how they had customised their SAP ERP systems to fit their business processes.

"The traditional on-prem, highly customised ERP solution, absolutely, positively has to give way to a more SaaS-based ERP solution," he said.

SAP launched its RISE package in January with the hope that, working in tandem with service partners, it could convince users to move existing, customised ERP systems to cloud infrastructure, then, in a second step, create new processes and business transformation to make it onto a more standardised, configured system.

But Scott warned it might be a lengthy process, where there is much more to consider than just software and IT infrastructure.

"You need to spend some careful time looking at how your business is operating and perhaps the way you've operated a certain business process five years ago is not the way you want to operate it today," he said. "Thinking about how your business is operating in a post-pandemic world, there could be a lot of opportunities for you to take a look at."

Scott's comments echo those of Oliver Betz, SVP head of product management for SAP S/4HANA, who told customers they could not have the modifications they have in the on-premises world with the move to software-as-a-service. "That's not how the cloud works," he said.

The joint DSAG/ASUG research found that 24 per cent of American users view the RISE with SAP product as somewhat of value or high in value but only 12 per cent of their German-speaking counterparts say the same. Meanwhile, 39 per cent of DSAG members see RISE with SAP as having little value or no value at all, the 443-response survey found.

Jens Hungershausen, DSAG chairman, told a joint webinar hosted by the two user groups that past experiences of problems integrating cloud-based enterprise software led to some of the doubts about RISE with SAP.

"German-speaking users' experiences with old on-premise SAP systems have been really good," he said. "They got a lot of things done. They have good processes, but they also experienced some problems with integrating with cloud technology, and I think that's one of the reasons why our membership is a little bit cautious about RISE with SAP, right now, because they just want to see if that's really going to work. The experiences they've had were not so good all time. It's up to SAP to prove they are a cloud company and can deliver on their promises." ®

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