RISE with SAP can provide companies with a solid foundation to develop their IT infrastructures. Nevertheless, a closer look is still called for. We show what is included in the new Software as a Service offering, how high the benefits actually are, and why many customers still need further expertise.
Text: Andreas Kunkel, Bilder: istock, 11
Systems from SAP offer enterprises a wide range of far-reaching options for preparing their companies for future developments and tasks. However, the products are often also complex and resource-intensive. Both in terms of manpower and financing. Swiss companies therefore (rightly) expect SAP offerings to reliably meet three basic goals. First: The solution must function smoothly and with minimal effort, both now and in the future. Second: The systems must pave the way for the company's individual development – for example, in the transformation towards S/4HANA. And third: Costs must be transparent. And not only in terms of the acquisition, but also in relation to all other aspects of use, such as adjustments and maintenance.
The concept of "RISE with SAP" meets all of these criteria and more. The centrepiece here is the structure: An all-in-one solution with SAP S/4HANA in the cloud. What's more, this package also includes tools for analysing business processes, a starter package for using innovation platforms such as the SAP Business Technology Platform and access to the purchasing and supply chain network (SAP Business Network). A quick start with the Ariba network, the asset intelligence network or a logistics business network is therefore also supported. The cloud infrastructure can be selected as required, so that servers can be deployed on the hyperscalers Azure, AWS or Google, for example.
"RISE with SAP addresses the desire of many SAP customers who do not want to invest in a 'full' SaaS solution. They shy away from the associated risk because it will impose restrictions on the implementation of company-specific solutions", says Swisscom SAP expert Hanspeter Groth.
But Swisscom experts also assess the option of "business process intelligence" as interesting: This add-on service, which will probably be fee-based, is designed to enable companies to perform holistic end-to-end process transformations. In this way, they can optimise processes, improve customer orientation and better calculate operational risks", emphasises Groth.
Other services already included in the package, such as the SAP Readiness Check or the Custom Code Analyzer, are powerful services that efficiently support companies in the further development of their SAP IT infrastructure: They set the agenda for what still needs to be optimised for a switch to S/4HANA. And because they are available via the cloud, companies can act much more flexibly than with an on-premises solution. In addition, there is an – albeit limited – use of tools such as the Learning Hub. This provides companies with a platform to build SAP knowledge – from e-learning courses to self-paced studies to expert-led live sessions and collaborative learning spaces.
"Above all, however, many companies will find RISE's full-service approach extremely useful. Especially since the S/4HANA licences are transparent and easy to calculate during their term of usually three or five years", emphasises Groth. Because once the systems are set up, they always remain up to date and are serviced quickly if the worst comes to the worst – without having to build up your own team of experts. This means that companies hardly need to use their own resources to take care of setting up and operating the IT infrastructure. This also applies to backups or when error corrections or updates have to be applied.
All the required facilities at process level remain the responsibility of the customer and are taken over by SAP expert teams. What's more, for specific customisations and the further development of systems in line with a company's needs, SAP's own experts may also be required or they are provided via partners such as Swisscom. Swisscom has around 450 experienced SAP specialists at its disposal to help Swiss companies make their SAP systems fit for business. They provide advice and customise the software to ensure the best possible benefits. And they support the companies over time and also help with future modifications, if they are above the "first layer" (SAP Basis) of RISE.
"RISE with SAP is nevertheless not the most sensible solution for every company at the moment. Especially for features where SAP is highly dependent on other systems, or where highly individualised processes have to be taken into account, RISE with SAP could still prove to be too rigid a solution", says Groth. (For details regarding classification, please see the interview.) However, RISE is, without a doubt, also a trend-setting approach for future offers: SAP provides a comprehensive "as a service" package here. It is therefore responding to the strong interest of companies to obtain more and more services in this way and to challenge the traditional solution of on-premises installations.