Migrating ERP to the Cloud

Migrating ERP to the cloud

Many large companies are considering migrating their ERP applications — including SAP S/4HANA — to the public cloudDrivers for many companies include cost, flexibility or adopting a cloud-first strategy.


Q: What questions do companies ask when they are considering moving ERP applications to a public cloud?

A: First, they ask “Can I move?” These are large, robust systems, and companies want to make sure their apps are technically capable of running in the cloud. The second question they ask is “Should I move?” They want to be confident that when they migrate their mission-critical applications, they can continue running their business. And the third question is, how expensive is a public cloud? We  manages, migrates and runs some of the most complex SAP systems in the world, so I know firsthand that SAP can run effectively in the cloud. SLAs and maintenance can continue in the cloud, and cloud security is well-covered. Cost reduction can be one of the big benefits of public cloud but only if the design, migration and run phases are properly managed.


Q: How do companies decide when the right time is to make the move?

A: Some of our customers have a good business case for waiting to upgrade, but most are exploring their options. Moving to SAP S/4HANA or other ERP systems is a big change, so why not move to cloud at the same time? These are big systems that handle companies’ finance and production lines, so there is often a limited maintenance window to bring them down. If a transition is on your roadmap, you’ll save yourself a step. And in the current macroeconomic climate, a slowdown in system usage is a good time to make changes in preparation for heavier future traffic.


Q: What business disruption can a company expect when it migrates to the cloud?

A: Moving to the cloud is not very different from any other migration. It’s become a routine process, and when done correctly, companies can expect close to near-zero downtime.

Companies can mitigate risks even more if they first test out the migration with one business unit and a single proof of concept. They also should clean up all the data they don’t need before migrating.


Q: What benefits have clients achieved?

A: The benefits are elasticity, agility and being able to grow on command. In the case of SAP, companies can tap into its new analytics capabilities as well as those of the ecosystem they gain when moving to the hyperscalers’ clouds.

If you want to look at business outcomes, consider Croda International, a global chemical manufacturer. It wanted to take advantage of the on-demand capabilities of cloud while increasing the ability of its IT department to respond to business demands. The company developed a strategy for moving to the cloud in anticipation of a major upgrade to SAP S/4HANA. By deploying our Platform as a Service for SAP on Azure as part of a low-risk, phased approach, 106 workloads were migrated in just 12 weeks.


Q: How should companies start the whole process?

A: Companies need to have true conversations — within the business and with their systems integrator. The new environments are richer and easier to consume and combine. At the same time, companies need to think about cost control and avoid lock-in or technical debt. They need to think about what they are trying to achieve, both digitally and in their business. They can introduce new technology. They can think about connecting their SAP landscape to machine learning or the internet of things (IoT). They can introduce new features to customers and suppliers. In the cloud, they can leverage so many things they weren’t able to access before. Thinking about the end state will allow companies to move their businesses forward.

Many large companies are considering migrating their ERP applications — including SAP S/4HANA — to the public cloud. Drivers for many companies include cost, flexibility or adopting a cloud-first strategy.

Want to reap the full benefits of cloud computing? Reconsider your journey.

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There’s no denying that companies have realized many benefits from using public clouds – hyperscalability, faster deployment and, perhaps most importantly, flexible operating costs. Cloud has helped organizations gain access to modern applications and new technologies without many upfront costs, and it has transformed software development processes.

But when it comes to public cloud migration, many organizations are acting with greater discretion than it might at first appear. Enterprise IT spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4 percent in 2021 to total $304.9 billion, according to Gartner. This is an impressive number, but it’s just under 10 percent of the entire worldwide IT spending projected at $3.8 trillion over the same period. While cloud growth is striking, it pays to heed the context.

The data center still reigns

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In 2021, spending on data center systems will become the second-largest area of growth in IT spending, just under enterprise software spending. And while much growth is attributed to hyperscalers, significant increase also comes from renewed enterprise data center expansion plans. Based on Anteelo Technology’s internal survey of its global enterprise customers, nearly all of them plan to operate in a hybrid cloud environment with nearly two-thirds of their technology footprint remaining on-premises over the next five years or longer. Uptime Institute’s 2020 Data Center Industry Survey also shows that a majority of workloads are operating in enterprise data centers.

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Deciding what should move to the public cloud takes careful planning followed by solid engineering work. We are seeing that some enterprises, in rushing to the public cloud, don’t have an exit strategy for their current environments and data centers. We have all come across companies that started deploying multiple environments in the cloud but did not plan for changes in the way they develop, deploy and maintain applications and infrastructure. As a result, their on-premises costs stayed the same, while their monthly cloud bill kept rising.

Not everything should move to the public cloud. For example, many enterprises have been running key mission-critical business applications that require high transaction processing, high resiliency and high throughput without significant variation in demand due to seasonality. In these cases, protecting and supporting existing IT infrastructure investments and an on-premises data center or a mainframe modernization is more practical as moving such environments to the public cloud is complex and costly.

To achieve the full benefits, including cost benefits, let’s not forget the operational changes that using the public cloud requires — new testing paradigms, different development models, site reliability, security engineering and regulatory compliance — all of which require flexible teams and alternative ways of working and collaborating.

The key point: Enterprises are not moving everything to the public cloud because many critical applications are better suited for private data centers, while potentially availing themselves of private cloud capabilities.

How can Anteelo help?

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With ample evidence that hybrid cloud is the best answer for large enterprise customers to successfully adopt a cloud strategy, employing Anteelo as your managed service provider, with our deep engineering, and infrastructure and application management experience, is a good bet. We hold a leading position in providing pure mainframe services globally and have the skills on hand to help customers with complex, enterprise-scale transformations.

Our purpose-built technology solutions, throughout the Enterprise Technology Stack, can reduce IT operating costs up to 30 percent. In running and maintaining mission-critical IT systems for our customers, we manage hundreds of data centers, hundreds of thousands of servers and have migrated nearly 200,000 workloads to the hybrid cloud, including businesses that use mainframe systems for their core, critical solutions. A hybrid cloud solution is the ideal, fit-for-purpose answer to meet many unique business demands.

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Customers want to migrate or modernize applications for many reasons. Croda International is a good example, with its phased approach for cloud migration. Whether moving to the public cloud, implementing a hybrid approach or enhancing non-cloud systems, Anteelo’s proven, integrated approach enables customers to achieve their goals in the quickest, most cost-effective way.

The lesson here: Be careful about drinking the public cloud-only Kool-Aid. With many cloud migrations falling short of their full, intended benefits, you need to assess the risks and rewards. More importantly, a qualified, experienced engineering team will not only help design the right plan, but will ensure that complications are quickly resolved — making for a smoother journey.

And most importantly, every enterprise should look at public cloud as part of its overall technology footprint, knowing that not everything is right for the cloud. Modernizing the technology in your environment should not be overlooked, since it may bring more timely results and better business outcomes, including improving your security posture.

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