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What a difference a year makes.

At SAPPHIRE NOW 2013, most of the questions about SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud centered around vertical solutions, such as HR and finance. But many attendees had difficulty seeing cloud as an option for core applications. At SAPPHIRE NOW 2014 this changed significantly. Core applications seemed to be a foregone conclusion – and questions centered around not “why” but “how” to move their enterprise solutions into the cloud. This is a remarkable evolution, and indicates just how far the world has come in recognizing that cloud offers tremendous advantages – economic, technological, and strategic.

Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions from SAPPHIRE NOW 2014 – along with my replies:

Q: Is the cloud really stable enough for mission-critical enterprise applications?

A: Absolutely. Many customers have deployed enterprise applications like SAP ERP, CRM or BW in SAP’s HANA Enterprise Cloud, and are experiencing outstanding performance, rock-solid operations and strong security and data protection. Above all, they are seeing that the SAP cloud provides strategic advantages such as greater agility, flexibility and responsiveness as well as better TCO which allows customers to focus even more on their core business.

Q: Why should I use SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud rather than competitive solutions – such as those from classical hosting providers?

A: A classic hosting provider will provide you with a managed service and he will run it like customers handed it over – and that’s about it. In most cases, that infrastructure will not be upgraded or changed, unless there is a dedicated change request or project being initiated. By contrast, SAP continually strives to take your cloud environment to the next level. We have a strong motivation to help optimize and evolve your landscape through the latest releases of SAP software. With this we help you to invest in new innovations driving business benefit.

Our goal is not to be the biggest hosting provider. It is to ensure that you’re ready to benefit from the latest technological and business innovations. Between our own innovations and our global network of certified partners, we are uniquely positioned to do that.

Q: How can we move into the cloud with minimal disruption?

A: SAP has established a smooth and efficient onboarding process that works for virtually any SAP application. With our onboarding tools and expertice, we have honed the migration process to the point where it takes not days or weeks, but hours or even minutes.

And if you want to move any or all of your applications back to an on-premise model, you will find that SAP provides full support as well. Where other vendors might resist moving back to on-premise, SAP has standardized methods that optimize the entire process.

Q: What kind of support does SAP provide for enterprise applications in the cloud?

A: Some of the biggest cloud hosting companies actually have very minimal support processes – even for mission-critical applications. Essentially, when an issue arises, they will replace the hardware and go back to normal operations. That may not address the real problem.

No matter what application, SAP provides the same level of support for our cloud solutions as we offer for our on-premise solutions – which is full attention from the vast global SAP Services organization – which provides end-2-end support and is proven over more than 40 years in all kind of enterprises. .

But our best support is always prevention, which is why the SAP Cloud is continually monitored for availability, stability and security – around the clock and around the globe. If any issues arise, our Cloud Operations Control Center notify customers and work to resolve them – just as we do for any on-premise applications.

Do you have questions about how and why to deploy in the cloud? I’ll be happy to answer them – please click here.