Digitalization Is the Key to SAP Modernization

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Key Takeaways

⇨ Most business leaders are concerned about how their processes will work in the cloud.

⇨ Businesses must take an individualized approach to SAP modernization.

⇨ Connectivity, infrastructure, and security are the building blocks of a successful cloud strategy.


Moving to the cloud may be the biggest hot-button topic of the current business landscape. Most business leaders will have at least considered a digital transformation—if one is not already underway. Those in tech know heard about the benefits a move to SAP S/4HANA could bring. These include:

  • Lower TCO
  • Improved analytics
  • More user-friendly interface
  • Automation
  • Smoother acquisitions
  • Update business models simply

These are certainly enticing in theory. Yet it is natural to have questions about what a move could actually mean for the day-to-day business operations of an organization.

Key Questions

Before choosing their cloud move partner, business leaders often ask questions like:

  • How will my processes run in the cloud?
  • What happens with my data?
  • What happens with my current landscape if I move to the cloud?
  • What cloud solution would be the right one for me?
  • How can I make sure my landscape is secure?
  • How can I ensure the stability of my complete supply chain?
  • How do I make sure all of my systems run in a sustainable way?

Individualized Approach

Business leaders may be on the lookout for a simple solution that addresses all of these questions at a reasonable price—all right out of the box. But the reality is that there is no cookie-cutter approach to enact a successful SAP transformation that will help an organization get everything it wants out of a move to the cloud.

“There are so many challenges and influencing factors to consider. So, from my point of view, there is no common approach. Everyone has their individual priorities and constraints that need to be considered to define the best strategy,” said Andreas Schmidt, SAP digitalization services offering manager for T-Systems.

“If it is an individual approach, then the question is how to avoid high costs. T-Systems offers highly standardized solutions, but on the same hand individual consulting approach.”

In addition to the need for experienced IT suppliers, customers often want advisory services for their digital transformation. An experienced partner can help chart a roadmap through the process that can set up a company for future success while also avoiding potential obstacles and costs along the way. Few organizations have the resources and expertise to provide both technical supplies and advisory services.

One company with that ability is T-Systems. T-Systems is one of the leading providers of digital services. With headquarters in Europe and a complementary local presence in selected core markets and strategic production sites, T-Systems provides a global production and supply chain for its customers.

“We cover the complete range of what is needed for SAP customers. When customers think about whether to go private, hybrid or public cloud, we are the ones who could really advise them independently what would be their best solution,” said Schmidt.

“We cover cloud migration completely. We can support customers with a very high standard of automation going into the preferred cloud that they want to go to. Of course, we offer SAP S/4HANA transformation services that will support our customers on their journey from ECC 6.0 towards SAP S/4HANA with value consulting for SAP transformation. We can provide clients with an end-to-end transformation which includes cloud, SAP and non-SAP solutions, network services, and more.”


The transition to SAP S/4HANA represents a growing need for digitalization in the business world. Companies can gain a competitive advantage by leveraging the ever-growing suite of technological tools at their fingertips.

Digitalization relies on three primary building blocks:

  1. Connectivity

Though most business leaders in the cloud space rely on a multi-cloud strategy, connectivity issues can still be pervasive. When clouds are siloed in a multi-cloud environment, this can lead to issues with security, governance, visibility, and more.

To overcome some of these issues, T-Systems offers its unique Multi Cloud Connectivity Platform. With it, companies can combine cloud platforms to create one network for collaborative open data ecosystems for industries of the future, connecting global players to form end-to-end value chains.

  1. Cloud and Infrastructure

There is little debate about whether using the cloud is the best way for organizations to operate in the modern world. However, the key sticking point keeping many from moving to the cloud is the fact that legacy and on-premise systems are mission-critical and cannot easily be moved.

Many companies also face challenges when trying to connect cloud solutions to existing IT systems. As these systems expanded over the years, they grew out in different directions and were not always synchronized regularly. When data is siloed, it becomes difficult to exchange within IT landscapes. This can put data controllers under pressure and hamper digitization projects.

To help address some of these issues, T-Systems offers its unique Future Cloud Infrastructure. This solution allows users to merge all of their existing IT landscapes onto one platform. This creates a link for not only on-premise systems to the cloud, but also between public and private cloud environments.

  1. Security

Security concerns are one of the primary concerns cited by companies that are hesitant to move to the cloud—particularly the public cloud. In addition to the worry surrounding the potential for a cyberattack, audits and compliance failures are also major sticking points.

T-Systems has a leg up on the competition for a few reasons—one of which being the strict standards set because of their location.

“We have the highest security standards as a German company. We have a cybersecurity department, we have the Deutsche Telekom security IoT (Internet of Things) gear behind as well, so we have our own security company. Also, we have a range of different security automation license models that the customer could have. Not every company can offer this,” said Schmidt.

“Magenta Security offers you complete services to monitor your security around the clock. Whether that’s cloud services or connected machines in production, we will work with you to design custom concepts that will safeguard your digital business processes and support your company’s success.”

Future Cloud Infrastructure offers the unique feature of granting users full control over their infrastructure. This means users can create internal compliance reports and even conduct their own audits. By complying with the highest security standards, T-Systems gives users a secure environment in which they can innovate.

Enterprise Innovation Platform

With so many different digitalization services available, business leaders may wonder about how their teams will be able to keep track of them. SAP customers are not using only SAP solutions. They are also looking to microservices, how to involve them, and how to include them into their processes. T-Systems created its Enterprise Innovation Platform to meet this challenge.

“It’s a platform that we created ourselves based on SAP BTP. We set it as a central point for SAP customers to manage their machine-learning scenarios, to manage their IoT scenarios, manage digital twins and so on. We created it as a one-stop for innovations,” said Schmidt.

The platform brings together insights and allows users to create their own dashboards to access and utilize the information. This application is especially useful when tracking movements throughout links in a worldwide supply chain. The Enterprise Innovation Platform features nodes with IoT data, gathered from sensors worldwide to track products or supplies.


Automation is one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of any modern company. By automating key facets of the SAP modernization journey, organizations can expedite the process as well as cut down on unnecessary human errors.

T-Systems has an automation level of more than 95%, adhering to its framework points of acceleration and simplification. And this level of automation pays dividends well beyond a transformation journey.

Users have access to intelligent tools that offer predictive monitoring services. These tools detect potential faults and offer solutions before any issues can occur.

Business Models

Every company is going to go through ebbs and flows over the course of its lifetime. This is an unavoidable fact. However, some organizations have been able to experience higher highs and less impactful lows. This is achieved by adopting better business models.

Business models are the rationale of how companies capture value. Adopting a model with a higher degree of digitization allows organizations to better adapt to changing conditions.

Change is the only constant in the business world, and shifting markets, regulations, and consumer behavior can pose serious threats to companies that are not agile. Adopting a holistic digitalization approach throughout the SAP modernization journey and beyond can give organizations the flexibility they need to adjust business models and remain competitive in a crowded market.


There is no substitute for experience. T-Systems has a unique place in the market because of its size and worldwide scope, providing services to more than 600 clients around the world. This allows the company to work with top-of-the-line partners to deliver technology solutions to users. First and foremost among those is SAP.

“With SAP, we are not only a global partner, but we are also a platinum partner. We are one of the leading providers for digital services. We have a very close relationship with SAP, and some projects we are delivering together side by side,” Schmidt said.

T-Systems also works in tandem with the following companies for their go-to-market strategy:


While reaching business goals is certainly of paramount importance, it is not the only focus that companies need to put front and center. Sustainability is an increasingly important concept in the tech world. T-Systems and its parent company, Deutsche Telekom, have made working green a priority as it also works to help its clients.

“Sustainability for Deutsche Telekom entity systems is not only a buzzword. The fight against climate change is without a doubt one of the greatest threats that humanity is facing. And it is not very surprising that sustainability is really one of the biggest challenges for each company. And for Deutsche Telekom, we have anchored our sustainability goals in our corporate strategy and into the management numeration as well,” Schmidt said.

To honor its sustainability commitments, T-Systems and its parent company have:

  • Used only 100% renewable energy since 2021
  • Worked to cut down CO2 emissions to zero by 2025
  • Committed to decrease the CO2 emission per customer to about 25% starting in 2030

Choosing Your Transformation Partner

Companies often turn to multiple different partners throughout the transformation process. This can lead to disjointed integration and insights. It is often beneficial for organizations to lean on one partner that can provide a wide range of solutions all under one umbrella.

No company will be able to provide every single service that a business is looking for. In these instances, it is important to know that any company that will help with finding a third party is truly neutral—it should have only your best interests in mind. T-Systems is able to offer advice on which cloud provider will work best with a given organization, based on its offerings and potential drawbacks.

“The managed cloud services are independent. This means independent on which cloud solution the customer is searching for. If he wants to have a cloud solution or public cloud solutions, no matter, we can offer support in both. And when we talk about public cloud solutions, we are also independent on the hyperscaler offering,” said Schmidt.

To help users leverage the potential of cloud technology during digitalization, T-Systems offers its Sovereign Cloud solution, powered by Google Cloud. It is the first of its kind on the German market. As a joint product from T-Systems and Google Cloud, it offers full compliance with the requirements of German regulators—while retaining the public cloud functionality of a hyperscaler. This will enable the drastic acceleration of digitalization projects.

“These companies will jointly innovate to develop a large spectrum of next-generation sovereign cloud solutions and infrastructure. These will allow customers to host their sensitive workloads on a sovereign cloud, whilst continuing to leverage the scalability, elasticity and reliability of public cloud services. Service management and operation of the sovereign cloud will be supervised by T-Systems,” said Schmidt.

In Conclusion

Companies must go to the cloud to remain competitive. Not all have started that journey yet, though. Business leaders have real concerns they must address before committing to a move to SAP S/4HANA and the process by which they will get there. Some of these concerns include security, cost, downtime, and more.

To address any hesitation, it is important to rely on a partner who has a proven record of cloud moves. Partners like T-Systems have an extensive track record of meeting goals and helping customers find the right customizable solutions to fit their needs.

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