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Is this the right time to RISE with SAP? 

For those following the news about business applications: 2027 marks a pivotal year. That’s when SAP will cease support for SAP ERP Central Component, better known as SAP ECC. Customers are gently but firmly being directed toward RISE with SAP. Now is the time to consider moving your ERP solution to the cloud.

According to the German business newspaper Handelsblatt, SAP management is dissatisfied with the pace of the transition of customers to the cloud. Last year, it became clear that many businesses prefer to continue working on-premises. To stimulate this group to move to the cloud, only the cloud versions of S/4HANA will support certain innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI). Modules that enable companies to report on their environmental impact are also made exclusively available to cloud users.

ERP cloud migration: the right time? 

While there's room for debate on whether SAP's move is too sudden, we prefer to focus on the pragmatic response to this change. We see this as a prime opportunity for ERP cloud migration, and particularly pertinent for those seeking to maintain an efficient version of SAP. Migrating your ERP to the cloud will open avenues for broader IT enhancements. Have you thought about transitioning your entire IT infrastructure to the cloud? Currently, managing on-premise solutions can involve overseeing a diverse range of applications and databases at multiple locations; a process that can be cumbersome for businesses needing to adapt quickly. (Want an example? Just try to change the name of one element in your current system…) Cloud migration streamlines your focus towards business growth, by:

  • Consolidating contracts for software licenses and application support, which leads to cost reductions and simplified operations. 
  • Alleviating administrative and management burdens, more so when consolidating services under a single provider. 
  • Offering flexibility for minor tweaks while ensuring backend technology and security are handled seamlessly. 

What is RISE with SAP? 

RISE with SAP stands out as an effective pathway for cloud migration. This managed service aids organizations in securely and efficiently transitioning from on-premise ERP solutions – including SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA – to the cloud. Customers benefit from advanced cloud-based business management software equipped with intelligent features, real-time analytics, and technologies that bolster compliance and resilience. Independent SAP expert, Chip Hanna, shared in CIO magazine how RISE with SAP is particularly beneficial for businesses facing the following scenarios:

  • Outdated technology infrastructures: For companies aiming to modernize their systems, RISE with SAP serves as an effective solution to migrate their data to the cloud swiftly. Implementing RISE in a new, ‘greenfield’ setting provides a straightforward path to updating their technology by several years in a single, comprehensive step, bypassing the intricacies involved in such a transition.
  • Current SAP ECC users: Businesses using SAP ECC with various separate systems can find value in adopting RISE. This approach enables them to bypass the step of consolidating their systems within an SAP on-premise framework before transitioning from ECC to S/4HANA in the cloud, streamlining the process.
  • Companies with outsourced SMEs: RISE offers a solution for organizations reluctant to invest in in-house subject matter experts for S/4. It allows them to delegate essential SAP BASIS and infrastructure support roles externally, facilitating a more efficient progression in their digital transformation endeavors.

That sounds terrific, but what does it look like in practice? Let’s tell the story of an innovative Dutch company that transitioned to RISE with SAP. 

RISE with SAP: a Dutch case study 

Following the sale of the Domestic Appliances business by Royal Philips in 2021, newly renamed standalone company Versuni embarked on a journey. Their mission: to realize a completely new technology landscape within just 18 months. With RISE with SAP as a solid foundation for innovation and growth, Versuni managed to migrate to a wall-to-wall SAP environment in 55 countries – without any delays.

“The overall objective is to transform our organization to become truly centered around lifetime engagement with our consumers. Thanks to the latest technologies, we’re able to provide our consumers with faster and better service,” said Corine Adams, CIO at Versuni, according to an SAP press release. “Consumers are at the heart of all our decisions, and we want to translate their needs into new, innovative products. Therefore, it is essential that we have a good understanding of what they want.”

A new landscape should provide those insights. But that landscape also presented Versuni with a major challenge. Within just 18 months, they had to build a solid foundation – a “minimum viable product” – for the company’s operations and continued growth. “At the same time, we saw this challenge as a unique opportunity to be able to start from scratch,” Adams said. “A greenfield approach offered us the unique opportunity to implement industry-standard processes and working methods.”

To achieve this, Versuni launched the Exuviate program; a reference to the process by which some animals shed the old skin or shell they’ve outgrown. The program – based on the principles “SAP, unless” and “cloud, unless” – used RISE with SAP to transition to ERP in the cloud. The aim is to create a digitally focused company that uses data-driven decision-making to foster innovation and growth.

Concluding remarks

Of course, small and medium-sized enterprises can also benefit from the advantages of RISE with SAP. The following always applies, no matter the size of your company: transitioning to the cloud requires careful consideration, given the potential hurdles – particularly those hidden within the code of existing SAP on-premise solutions.

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