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RISE with SAP? Never heard of it, say 30% of UK users

While 11% plan to take up the package, lack of use cases keep numbers low

Three times the number of SAP users in the UK have never heard of RISE with SAP – the service bundle hoped to accelerate cloud adoption – than plan to use it.

According to a survey of 106 SAP user organisations by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG), the independent not-for-profit organisation representing all users of SAP software, 30 per cent say they don't know what it is.

RISE with SAP is more than just another corporate slogan. In some ways, it is the rescue package designed to get the German software giant out of the on-premises doldrums. The package offers a lift-and-shift-to-the-cloud deal with SAP heading up the commercial offer on behalf of a group of service partners.

It was launched in January after SAP was forced to reset market expectations on cloud growth – a move which caused a 23 per cent fall in share price a year ago.

With SAP strongly pushing the package, 11 per cent of UK users now plan to take advantage of it, according to the UKISUG. The number is not necessarily bad, though, given how few RISE case studies there are out there, said UKISUG chairman Paul Cooper.

"I'm impressed because there's not much out there at the moment in terms of genuine use cases. Generally, our membership will listen to what SAP has got to say, but they want to hear the member stories, the user stories as to why someone did it: what the journey was like, what the end result was and how successful they were. The survey was just seven months [after RISE was launched] so it's good."

Of those users interested in RISE, the most common reason they cited (25 per cent) was an upgrade to S/4HANA, the latest in-memory database-driven version of the firm's ERP software. Simplifying and accelerating cloud migration (19 per cent), reducing the number of contracts/providers under management (19 per cent), and improving change management (17 per cent) followed.

Cooper called for a sustained effort from SAP in helping users understand and get on board with RISE – it should not be superseded by whatever new thing the vendor comes out with next year.

"In some areas where things have been launched by SAP, there has not always been that sustained marketing drive behind them," Cooper said. "There is genuine interest in this as a way of pushing digital transformation, for want of a better phrase. We like SAP's engagement on education, and talking about the benefits of moving to S4/HANA and using their RISE with SAP methodology: they need to sustain that."

SAP should now move from the overall market push to answering more detailed questions on technical transitions and licensing, he said.

Cooper recalled the episode with Leonardo, SAP's machine learning platform, which was launched in 2016 but has fallen by the wayside, even though there are use cases out there. "What happened with Leonardo 12 months after it was launched, we don't want to see that with RISE."

For its part, SAP sees RISE working in the UK after signing up customers including Asda, petrol station and retail company EG Group, automotive and distribution group Inchcape, and engineering consultancy Briggs of Burton.

The cloud push is also supporting its financial results. In Q3 2021, SAP raised its full-year outlook for the third time this year. "Our strategy is clearly working," said CEO Christian Klein. "Customers are choosing SAP for their business transformation in the cloud. We see record adoption of our applications and our platform. This has resulted in strong acceleration of our cloud growth."

But for SAP users, questions remain over licensing and whether business change should be led by a third party outside the RISE package.

UKISUG is hosting its annual CONNECT conference on 28-30 November 2021. ®

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