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November 25, 2015

SAP sitting on the cloud-on premise fence

C-level briefing: Sven Denecken SVP product management, SAP, S4 HANA on pushing S4 HANA as the digital core of transformation.

By James Nunns

The re-architecting of SAP’s business suite into S4 has been a big undertaking, the company’s founder Hasso Platner, said: "If this doesn’t work, we’re dead. Flat-out dead. It’s that simple."

So you can understand why the company is going all out in pushing its use cases, encouraging businesses to go through a digital transformation with HANA with S4 at the core.

SAP is contiung to support its on premise users till at least 2025, meaning that it is neither going fully in to the cloud or staying on premise.

The company has built out its suite to offer a number of different services, including analytics, which is a market they are far from alone in, which could be a reason why it is continues to support on premise so heavily.

Competition from cloud players such as AWS and Microsoft Azure highlight the value of the analytics market, but SAP’s SvenDenecken doesn’t believe you can put all your data in the cloud.

"It can’t happen, even our cloud analytics will deal with data that is residing on the customer’s premises."

When managing your data he says: "Number one, I think the customer should know where the data resides, only having the cloud option is not a good place to be in.

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"I don’t believe that if you just put everything in the cloud it runs smoother, it’s not the case."

The reason for this is that you want your data to impact your business processes, and just because you have put your data in the cloud it doesn’t mean you have solved that problem.

The company’s message is that it can be at the centre of your digital transformation. Although this is a term that Denecken feels implies complexity, he says it is a "business transformation" that is happening.

For many companies, however, that change is yet to happen, and Denecken says they need it now to counter questions like: "Who do I put on a project, who has the right skills or who can I train to be digitally proficient?"

Simplicity is key and SAP has targeted significant simplification to remove the complexity, with Denecken saying: "Before, we gave you options and options in the end create complexity."

"That’s why I think for that for the people who are not using SAP every day, they need that lightweight solution."

The platform HANA and S4 are at the core, the comapny claim, creates a level of standardisation that businesses can then build around, offering a mixture of simplicity with the capability to do heavy workloads.

Having the company’s tech at the core could be interpreted as being tied in to it, but the company makes it open so that, for example, a Java coder can go in and start to code.

Denecken says that the days of the proprietary platform are gone.


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