By Fred Isbell, Senior Director SAP Digital Business Services and SAP HEC Marketing, SAP
While a senior at Yale I had the privilege to take modern Chinese history with Professor Jonathan Spence, who did an amazing job weaving contemporary history and politics with the rich historical legacy that defines China. I will never forget the lecture where he highlighted the famous quote from Chairman Mao – “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. Of course since I had skipped a course in philosophy to double-up on economics credits, I missed the fact this was originally attributed to the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. And there was more to it as well:
“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
When it comes to innovation and specifically cloud solutions, this is truly great advice. Furthermore, the cloud is a journey, not a destination. Like the Internet the cloud will simply disappear someday from our day-to-day view and simply be the way solutions are deployed. But in the interim, there’s much to be considered.
The Dream Team of Cloud Experts:
We kicked off the latest of our ongoing webcast series with an event focused upon the deployment options for cloud solutions. We have much to consider for deployment, including on premise, private cloud, and public cloud options. With that in mind we hosted a webcast with what I call the “dream team” of subject matter experts from IDC and SAP:
- Dr. Henry Morris, IDC Fellow for Big Data, Cognitive, and Analytics: I’ve known Henry since my days at DIGITAL (DEC), and we while had a bit of the “getting the band back together”, he was true to form and had some great insights.
- Robert Mahowald, IDC Group VP for Applications and Cloud Business Models: as a nearly 30-year client of IDC I’ve seen both the value of his team’s research and how cloud has increasingly gained importance for applications delivery. Robert too was true to form and I gained some great new insights.
- Clay Caldwell, National Vice President, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, SAP: Clay is a long-time SAP veteran like myself and has been involved with our SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud business since its inception. He offered some excellent insights and his ability to tie the dots together was pretty spectacular – I came away with a new appreciation of how to unlock latent business value with a cloud solution.
So that’s the “dream team” of cloud experts we pulled together to address a very important topic – “Deploying SAP S/4HANA: What You Need to Know”. As always I was on the lookout for “aha moments” and great insights. Henry, Robert and Clay didn’t disappoint. Here’s a few things I learned:
- Take the First Step: There’s a skills gap which organizations need to address. With the shift in our industry – illustrated by the IDC Third Platform – the set of skills and expertise required is changing. Robert showcased how the most successful organizations on their cloud journey seek out advice and assistance. As a typical male who hates to ask for directions (event when blatantly lost), I appreciated that as well as the requirement to take that first step when things are still relatively small. I think Lao Tsu would have gotten along well with Robert!
- Unlock the Underlying Business Value: The IDC Third Platform does a great job explaining the place that cloud solutions have in the new paradigm of computing that is driving massive change across virtually all organizations across all industries. I found Clay’s articulation of the benefits of cloud solutions and the merits of deployment options to among the best I’ve heard – a great “two minute” drill in the spirit of Tom Brady’s recent Super Bowl heroics and more (sorry Atlanta Falcons fans). As we look to drive growth, and both business and digital transformation through outcomes-based solutions at an accelerated place – with an eye towards reduced risk – a managed private cloud solution is the way to do it. We also do this with an eye towards shifting capital expenditures (CapEx) to Operating Expenditures (OpEx) in a way that allows value to be unlocked more quickly and efficiently.
- Adopting a Private Managed Cloud Makes Good Business Sense: Henry not only reviewed key challenges in deploying an SAP S/4HANA Solution, highlighting key issues such as switching applications, databases and infrastructure, but tied it back to the skills gap Robert highlighted. The result is a mix of risk avoidance and mitigation, where a service provider takes on the risk via a service agreement. With that there are key considerations from the deployment environment to the management responsibility which factor into both deployment options and the way its managed. I also gained new-found insights on why a customer should source this from their Systems Integration (SI) partner and not mix and match cloud providers to ensure maximum success.
Learn More on Your Cloud Journey:
I encourage everyone to view the on-demand replay of “Deploying SAP S/4HANA: What You Need to Know” and to learn more and to download the new IDC Whitepaper “SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud A Managed Approach to Deploying SAP S/4 HANA – SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud”. And just think — if you run into Lao Tsu you’ll have lots to talk about when it comes to the cloud journey and much more.
Fred is a senior marketing director Digital Business Services and SAP HEC Marketing at SAP.