In 2018, Nucleus Research, the leading provider of investigative information technology research and advisory services, recognized SAP for making strides to bring more of the capabilities that deliver intelligent ERP to SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANACloud.
According to Scott Russell, SAP President for Asia-Pacific and Japan, more enterprises in the APAC region are now looking into migration options and strategies as the 2025 deadline for SAP S/4HANA migration draws closer.
Customers have requested for some flexibility with the 2025 deadline during the “open conversations” they have had with the German ERP software giant. Russell said that with regards to that demand, many are convinced of the need to migrate to a newer platform with the latest innovations. He explained:
“This isn’t a new story or journey for SAP. When you think about all the different applications that we run and the thousands of products we offer, most companies have a very clear understanding that innovation is essential.”
In the latest findings of a global study conducted by market research firm IDC surveying 300 SAP customers across various industries, 73% of the polled businesses were planning to deploy and 18% are currently deploying SAP S/4HANA.
In the same study, 9% of the companies stated they already have SAP S/4HANA in production. With regards to their planned timeline, 54% said they would make the transition within three years.
IDC also found out that 43% of the SAP customers who are planning to consolidate several ERP systems into one view SAP S/4HANA implementation as a mission that is critical to their businesses. The Intelligent ERP solution promises to optimize digital transformation strategy; improve agility, visibility, and innovation; and reduce costs and time-to-process information.
Russell shared that SAP customers want a digital platform that has the potential to evolve and innovate in contrast to the older SAP ECC 6.0, which has little room of flexibility. He said:
“It’s not just about the change (to S/4 HANA), but what that change enables through technologies like machine learning, blockchain, and robotics. That’s often the catalyst because they’re undertaking those initiatives.”
SAP has claimed that the company has sold over 50,000 HANA licenses to businesses, which includes Asia-Pacific’s Asahi Beverage. It has to be noted that SAP S/4HANA deployment requires the use of SAP’s HANA in-memory database.
Customer HANA Experience
Running an in-memory database that enables enterprises to run real-time analytics and artificial intelligence-infused applications for quicker decision-making is not just about replacing one database system with another.
Daniel Laverick, Head of SAP and IT solutions at Zuellig Pharma who joined the regional pharmaceutical giant to oversee its migration from IBM Db2 to HANA said that the deployment “was by no means easy”.
Laverick’s team deployed HANA on Microsoft Azure in a “big bang” migration in merely 9 months. He said:
“The testing process was the same regardless of where HANA was hosted, so we might as well move to the cloud.”
His team had to overcome infrastructure challenges that affected the database. He shared:
“In the first two weeks, we had performance issues that caused us headaches.”
Today, Zuellig Pharma leverages the flexibility that HANA offers that include spinning a virtual machine (VM) up and down to perform upgrades.
“We could literally turn it off, double its size within minutes, and carry on. The flexibility of running Hana on a public cloud cannot be underestimated,” Laverick said.
Laverick said Zuellig Pharma’s rollout of HANA on Azure is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, which involved moving VMs from Australia to Singapore on top of the 12TB data production.
Though Zuellig plans to migrate to SAP S/4 HANA, Laverick explained that the company is looking at a two-year implementation schedule to accommodate the amount of custom code in its existing systems.