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Moving to the Cloud: The Pros and Cons

By: Lena Schneider and Stefan Theis

In the first part of the “Light in the Dark of the Cloud” blog series, we discussed the differences between classic on-premises IT and the cloud regarding SAP S/4HANA. What are the pros and cons associated with migrating to the cloud? And how can these influence the decision-making process within a company? The second part deals with this.

The table that we looked at in part one of the blog series can be viewed in different ways. Assessing the relevant perspectives can help find the advantages for migrating to the cloud, but also reveal concerns.


Responsibility vs. Dependence

One possible perspective is the system operation. Making a system continuously available to users sometimes entails considerable effort and expense. One example in this context is that sufficient internet coverage is required to operate the data center locally at its own site. Due to a bad internet connection, it may be impossible to provide the kind of redundant coverage that would be necessary to meet the application’s availability requirements. In this case, the solution could be to rent the data center infrastructure externally, but to take all the infrastructure above it to the data center. This, of course, automatically places you in a situation of dependence.


Static vs. Dynamic

The SAP system’supgrade behavior is another aspect that can be taken into consideration. Some SAP customers find it difficult to upgrade the ERP system, i.e. to carry out a release upgrade. There are many reasons for this. These include the hardware and interfaces having to support the target release. Or maybe there are different add-ons in use that need to be checked to see if they will run in the target release. But if you’re in the S/4HANA environment and want to take advantage of the latest features like FIORI technologies or HANA database features, there’s no way around regular updates. Therefore, the goal may be to pursue a more dynamic or flexible update behavior.

Moving to the cloud makes this a reality. In the final stage of development, you are merely a consumer of the application and leave it to the outsourcing or cloud computing provider to carry out the release upgrade. This is done virtually transparently.


Flexibility vs. Standardization

However, the newfound dynamism does displace flexibility. While in the on-premises environment there is still absolute independence, unlimited Z developments can be integrated, etc., this is increasingly lost with the step towards Software as a Service (SaaS).


Yes to the cloud? No to the cloud?

To make the final decision for or against moving to the cloud, you should ask yourself: “At the end of the day, is it enough for me to only own the data? Is that where the pure intelligence is in relation to the company’s ERP system? Or is it in the application too? In ever-growing processes, extensions and add-ons?”

Standardization can of course also be a good way to get rid of legacy issues. The final choice is ultimately up to every individual. If the decision is made to operate the S/4HANA system in the cloud, various operating models are available.

What are they? The last part of our blog series will tell you.

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