My attention was drawn to an upcoming webinar (led by Christopher Carter) discussing “SAP in the Cloud how soon is the reality?” (go to: http://www.ccierp.com/Index/SAP-in-the-cloud-how-soon-is-the-reality.html). It reminded me that there are many discussions across the industry that have to do with similar topics.
A lot of discussion in recent times has focused on virtualization and almost in the same breath around “clouds” (the two may only be related but many of us appear to often treat them as parts of the same conversation). The big question has been around SAP offerings being served up in this fashion. That this will eventually happen in some form is perhaps not in much doubt, though questions remain about what and when. Interestingly, while many have jumped on this latest “cloud” bandwagon (remember SOA was the hot topic not too long ago), folks need to remember that what will make this successful is still something as old-fashioned as focus on process excellence.
For one, consuming offerings served up in a cloud would have something to do with consuming services. Services, we have discussed before, are in essence a reflection of process building blocks that run a business. Services done right should be re-usable and available to be shared. So an understanding of how this will work is just as important as in the scenario where SAP is deployed in a traditional manner… and, perhaps more so.
Secondly, while certain calculations can demonstrate how consuming SAP out of a cloud can reduce overall TCO, the burden on an organization to get its processes right and keep them relevant does not in any way go away! In other words, SAP in the cloud as a technology move does not offer a panacea for the many pains an organization might have to deal with. If anything, it shines the spotlight more intensely on getting the process part right. It is only when this aspect is addressed that the true impact of leveraging the cloud will be revealed – the ability to flexibly create new business solutions thus making an impact on the organization’s competitive edge.
Several previous posts in this forum have discussed the topic of getting a culture of process primacy going and have spoken of the need for an organization to evolve into a Business Process Enterprise (BPEn). Those considerations remain just as strong in this context.
So if you are an organization getting ready to take advantage of “SAP in the cloud” then you should be looking at preparing by getting the process side of the house in order. Remember to empower your business process experts to help fashion your renewed solution. You will need them to get the most out of your SAP cloud.