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At SAPPHIRE NOW I had the pleasure to participate in a podium discussion with my colleague Bernd Leukert (member of SAP´s management board) on the topic of clouds – especially the different flavors of cloud – e.g. public and private. Our experience when co-innovating with customers and partners on the topic came out in the discussion.

There are many definitions and I think a little simplification is in order, at least for the purpose of this blog (this is where some of the cloud purists will jump up and down):

1. Private Cloud – hosted solutions, often managed by a partner/vendor

2. Public Cloud – multi tenant solutions, managed by the vendor

We know that the move for our customers to the cloud must be a thoughtful evolution. Our strategy centers on leveraging the right mix of cloud, hosted, and on-premise technology. Customers have very specific challenges they are looking to solve, and very specific investments they want to leverage. Their starting point on this journey will help define the mix that is right for them.

(predominant deployment models)

But now, lets focus on cloud.

Why a Private Cloud?

A key driver for private cloud environments is control - the need to tailor a solution exactly to how a business process is run – because you differentiate with this process.  You may also have specific enterprise or industry needs that need to be accommodated.

When it comes to the private cloud offering, and yes you might want to call it hosted, SAP offers a managed cloud environment powered by in-memory technology and we are adding the following service elements:

- Assessment advisory

- Onboarding and migration

- Infrastructure hosting and cloud services

- Application management and custom services

(HANA Cloud Enterprise services)

Various SAP customers are already running mission critical solutions on HANA, proving the robustness of the private cloud.

As Bernd said: “The HANA Enterprise Cloud offering enables accelerating adoption and helps customers to overcome the education and skill shortage in IT departments today and the CAPEX investment for hardware.”

With this SAP, and in the future also key partners, can run the entire business suite on HANA for customers. While the customers focus on building new and differentiating business processes - defined and sponsored by their respective line of business leaders - they can in parallel achieve positive business transformation of the assets they have invested in and they want keep using. 

Customers like Florida Crystal have done the transition from ERP on-premise to the HANA managed private cloud in a week (see here), I think this speaks for itself. Of course some projects you would argue may take little longer – but this is light speed compared with the past. SAP will run this transition service as a factory model. Many customers who are currently re-architecting, re-igniting innovation or who may be under cost pressures are looking at this managed cloud offering as an alternative.

Is a Public Cloud better?

It is not about better, it is about selecting the right approach and the right mix of solutions to solve your problems. It has to be right for YOU! or to take advantage of opportunities.

A public cloud service makes the most sense when you want to adapt or change. An entire enterprise or a dedicated business area - doesn’t matter – important that you can leverage best practice. And you want to leverage it fast – as you might need to deliver outcome in the next quarter...

SAP is constantly enhancing its already broad public cloud portfolio, with a focus on user experience. SAP is prioritizing those lines of business areas where business velocity is key, e.g. HCM, Travel, Sales, Procurement, Business Networks (see more via this link)

(Public Cloud offering)

You CAN have it all – go Hybrid!

SAP makes it possible to combine a managed Private Cloud offering -which you need to run the differentiating processes, tailored to your exact need and with tight control by your IT staff,  –with a Public Cloud service - to change your business in areas like people, customer relations, supplier relations and money?

Both private and public cloud offerings at SAP are built both on the same platform – the HANA Cloud platform. And with this Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering, SAP is enabling the eco-system and the IT departments of our customers to do what in the cloud also needs to be done – manage the last mile, configure or extend to your needs.

Regardless of whether you want to configure solutions to your needs, adapt a workflow or enhance a solution – the platform will support this.  In addition, integration and data integrity is handled by the platform, regardless of a cloud to cloud or cloud to on-premise scenario. ,

With such a hybrid environment you can accelerate existing projects by bringing innovation and responsiveness to the business – while you can work on new projects in parallel. This will allow you to truly transform your business and bring cloud benefits like minimized infrastructure costs, risk reduction and the freeing up of internal resources to focus on essentials.

Irrespective of the cloud flavor we are talking about, security is a topic. SAP addresses this in all of our cloud offerings. And as stated on the panel: “sometimes we as SAP can invest more in security than many customers can”. I will publish a blog on secuity soon and I will also address some of the other cloud myths.

I hope I could bring some clarification to the cloud discussion. Check out our portfolio of cloud solutions.

Let me know what you think and follow me on twitter to stay on top of the latest and greatest about cloud computing,

Regards @SDenecken


For complete video of the panel and influencers Q&A check here:

- Extract of recording from panel during SAPPHIRENOW with Bernd Leukert and Sven Denecken …thanks you for the music

Read other relevant blogs:

- Hybrid cloud

- Cloud Extension program