Optimization of RISE with SAP and Microsoft Azure
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⇨ The initial three-to-five-year cloud transformation efforts needs focus on building out the infrastructure layer.
⇨ Parallel to the infrastructure layer, organizations should develop the semantic layer.
⇨ Ensure that all workers are properly skilled to handle challenges that arise on the journey.
Many organizations using SAP have relied on Microsoft Azure infrastructure to manage multiple applications amid their journey to the cloud. Specifically, the capabilities of Microsoft Azure provide the customers with a premium edge in leveraging 365 platforms, process automation, and native Microsoft cloud features. Latest in the mix is the Azure’s API integration to use OpenAI’s powerful language models.
Every organization can have a varied number of requirements. These are typically coupled with different priorities. So, there is never going to be one solution that can fit a customer organization. To alleviate this, the SAP Microsoft ecosystem has already planned for creating industry-specific templates, program initiatives, gold standard guidelines, and landscape architectural models that can be the guiding force for customers across different verticals and industry segments.
To provide a practical example, let us consider an organization that is on the path of a massive cloud transformation effort. The initial three-to-five-year journey needs focus on building out the infrastructure layer. Ideally, the recommendation is to size the infrastructure, internal knowledge resources, costs, and storage for a day in the life scenario.
Parallel to this, it is vital for the organization to emphasize building a team of architects, business analysts, and process specialists to work on the semantic layer. That layer feeds all the data from Microsoft Azure’s storage warehouses to specific business unit marts implemented using SAP systems.
This is often known as the SAP application layer, which translates from the organizational business requirements (finance mart tied to SAP S4, sales mart being deployed on SAP SD, supply chain mart established on SAP S4 sourcing and procurement, etc.). The SAP application layer can be layered up and down by increasing and decreasing the size and number of virtual machines.
This layering ability is equally significant for cloud-based solutions, as it is for their on-premises equivalents—the solution needs to be truly architected for high availability and continuity. Having a cloud foundation and a global footprint does not give any organization 100% uptime for an application, hence, SAP cloud system architecture is the key.
This can potentially help any organization mitigate real data loss that forms the commonplace for many outages. Until the industry-specific guidelines are made available, based on my experience, I would like to lay out fundamental principles that can provide all customer users with firsthand information about the topics to consider when implementing RISE with SAP on Microsoft Azure.
The move from a legacy system to a new system comes with challenges. These are not limited to architectural aspects but can extend way beyond that. The additional challenges can be in the form of acquiring the right skilled and knowledgeable workers who can handle this cultural change and further align this change with the organization’s overall cloud transformative journey. The end users (especially the super users, intermediate users, and frequent users) should be coached well to handle obstacles arising out of this change.
Implement a VPN with end-to-end encryption that can safeguard the organization’s application from any data breaches. This is conveniently covered well in RISE with SAP on Azure. Most of my customers using SAP cloud have successfully integrated their organization’s identity system with Microsoft’s Active Directory, boosting seamless integration for business end users.
Planning System Downtime
Because every cloud adoption involves internal systems, end users should consider comfort and convenience when moving and running these systems on Azure. Identifying system risks and labeling them across these systems can assist internal users in better understanding the future landscape.
Progressive Cloud Strategy and Growth in AI
A digital transformation journey requires a great amount of strategic planning and a forward approach enabling all organizational end users to realize and benefit from the promise of a flexible and agile SAP cloud environment. AI should be used as a tool to simplify the business processes like procurement when factoring the systems that will be moved to the SAP cloud running on Azure. The capabilities are plentiful, but the users need them, and their cloud adoption journey matters the most.
Prioritize Which Apps to Run Continuously and Intermittently
SAP has been provisioned to run 17 internal systems on Azure, including the S/4HANA instance for concur business unit. Also, the Azure infrastructure layer helps run the S/4HANA instance for central finance. The many applications running on Azure internally present us with an option to create a snooze schedule to provide key personnel the option to run the systems on-demand. It is recommended for all organizations to leverage this feature in a more sophisticated way to balance their system performance.