SAP Cloud Migration And The S/4HANA Consulting Market
The landscape of the SAP ecosystem is changing as SAP becomes a cloud software services provider. Integral to this evolution of the SAP portfolio is a winding down of SAP ECC and other legacy on-premise products.
This means that SAP customers will be required to migrate their systems to S/4HANA to meet the 2027 support deadline. SAP would also prefer if their entire customer base were on S/4HANA Cloud.
For some customers this will be extremely challenging and SAP has experienced substantial push-back from customers and user groups who want their previous investments in SAP technology to be protected.
SAP have already moved the deadline for customers to migrate to S/4HANA, and have agreed to provide a paid service for extended support to 2030, but the direction of travel is clear: the future of SAP systems is cloud-based, around a core of S/4HANA Cloud.
While customers of SAP are understandably concerned about the level of investment this new era of SAP systems will require, it is opening up a huge market for SAP consulting services for S/4HANA and cloud migration.
This week IgniteSAP will explore the market for SAP consultants specialising in cloud deployment and discuss some of the ways that consultants can prepare for this in order to future-proof their careers.
The Current and Future S/4HANA Landscape
The DSAG annual member survey (for the German-language SAP user group) that was conducted last year showed that when asked about the relative importance of software solutions for future IT landscapes, members indicated that SAP on-premise solutions were of “medium to high importance”. 93% of respondents said on-premise solutions were part of their current IT landscapes, but also 77% of the same groups said that they expected to be using SAP cloud solutions in the future.
This shows that there is now a clear understanding among DSAG members that they must now begin preparation for SAP cloud deployments, if they are not in the process of doing so already.
Jens Hungershausen, the chairman of DSAG said at the time that “the future is hybrid”: meaning that at least in the medium term SAP customers expected to be able to run hybrid SAP deployments, but this creates an extremely complex SAP system. He also said “the importance of SAP on-premise solutions will continue to decline” and “SAP cloud solutions are becoming more important.”
A recent report by IDC said that “over the long-term many businesses will fully migrate to an IaaS [Infrastructure-as-a-Service] deployment for SAP HANA or S/4HANA and gradually reduce their on-premises footprint”.
So as the support deadline approaches the rate of S/4HANA and other SAP cloud deployments are accelerating, and SAP is providing new packaged services (SaaS) to help its customers with their cloud migrations like Rise with SAP for large enterprises, and more recently Grow with SAP for small-to-medium sized businesses. Both these services include numerous benefits for customers like access to the SAP Business Technology Platform, which addresses concerns around customisations and extensions.
The exact nature of the necessary type of deployment will vary between customers so SAP is aiming to be as flexible as possible with public and private cloud options, as Infrastructure-as-a-Service or Software-as-a-Service. Hybrid cloud deployment is another option which is clearly favoured by some SAP customers but it still requires a large implementation project and complex integration with on-premise components.
It is important to note that one of the major hurdles that needs to be overcome by SAP and its partners is how to make the business case: to demonstrate that though the investment in the short term is substantial, the large majority of businesses which implement cloud deployments of SAP systems see dramatic improvements in the efficiency of their operations, and consequently a rise in revenue.
As the number of large and small enterprises adopting S/4HANA and services like Rise with SAP increases, the business case for cloud migration will become increasingly clear, aside from the issue of support deadlines.
Future-Proofing Your Consulting Career
Having established an outline of the landscape of the future SAP services market it is clear that SAP consultants need to take steps to future-proof their careers. While there is a large and widening gap between the demand and the supply of SAP skilled professionals, the technology itself is in a state of constant improvement. SAP consultants are therefore required to undergo a process of lifelong learning as part of their career in order to remain a valuable addition to any implementation project team.
There is a large cohort of SAP practitioners who have up until now specialised in on-premise and legacy SAP deployments and this group will be subject to increasing pressure to learn how to undertake cloud migration projects and S/4HANA or S/4HANA cloud, or face the prospect of becoming obsolete along with the software systems they currently implement.
As a result it is critical that those who are not in the process of doing so should take part in SAP training courses in order to obtain the relevant skills and SAP certified status as SAP cloud software consultants. It is also important if you are expecting to lead SAP projects to continue to develop management and communication skills.
The SAP skills gap means that SAP talent will be highly rewarded for their work, and so the financial resources required for training and certification should be considered an investment.
SAP Training For S/4HANA
There is a huge array of SAP training available on the SAP Training Shop and through the SAP Learning Hub. This includes learning pathways designed for those that want to implement Rise with SAP and other SAP cloud services.
One of the many training courses available for those that want to become indispensable to businesses upgrading to S/4HANA from SAP Business Suite and other legacy SAP software is a course entitled Training For SAP S/4HANA In Integration.
The course begins with a beginner’s overview of S/4HANA (course code S4H00) and this is followed by a module called SAP S/4HANA Embedded Analytics Foundation (S4H400), ending with an advanced section, Integrated Business Processes in SAP S/4HANA (TS410).
Successful completion of the course and exam leads to SAP Certified Application Associate status in Business Process Integration with SAP S/4HANA. This will give you an immediate advantage and all the skills required to work in projects for one of the very large number of enterprises needing to upgrade to S/4HANA in the next four years and beyond.
The S/4HANA overview is common to many Learning Journeys and courses related to more specialised S/4HANA training so once you have completed this course then you will not need to do so much work toward your next S/4HANA qualification if you are seeking to specialise in S/4HANA Financial Management or others.
If you are looking for a new role in the SAP ecosystem then our team of expert recruiters can help you find your ideal employer and a compensation package that reflects your extremely valuable skills so join us at IgniteSAP.