On January 27, 2021, SAP announced its RISE with SAP offering. SAPinsider sat down for an exclusive interview with Robin Manherz, Chief Performance Officer at SAP, to hear her responses to questions from the community. Here’s what you asked, and what she had to say.
Q: Is RISE with SAP just a combination of old tools and services, or is there something new that’s being offered here?
The RISE with SAP offering represents an entirely new strategy for SAP. We’ve re-engineered processes as well as the commercial components of our customer approach. The new strategy represents an infusion of experience data into our decision making and is a reflection of what customers have been asking from SAP: simplification, and for the SAP ecosystem to truly work together.
The year 2020 highlighted two things for companies: that disruption can come from many directions, and how integral IT and digitization are to the business. What 2020 highlighted for SAP is the necessity to step up and own the delivery of what’s required to solve challenges associated with disruption. RISE with SAP positions SAP in an orchestration role to help customers embark on or continue their intelligent enterprise journey – whether that means moving to the cloud and SAP S/4HANA, or resolving challenges related to network, custom code, or even non-SAP issues. SAP will serve as the facilitator and work with SAP partners and our hyperscaler friends to develop a fine-tuned concierge service that meets customers at their individual departure point and escorts them to a shared destination to become an intelligent enterprise.
Q: What has the initial reaction been from customers?
The reaction has been very positive. As customers come to see the RISE with SAP offering as an opportunity to re-imagine their relationship with SAP in 2021, they also have plenty of questions. Every customer will require a different approach, so RISE with SAP is architected to meet each customer at its unique journey point and help companies further chart their transformation course.
We ran a pilot in Q3 and Q4 of 2020 with 140 customers to see how the RISE with SAP offering was being received by the community and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of participants were benefitting from RISE with SAP. A common thread that ties together the customer-perceived benefits of RISE with SAP has been an established confidence in SAP’s ability to step up to the plate and be the partner that’s going to own each organization’s move to the cloud from start to finish and provide continuous and thoughtful engagement – not just sell a product or solution.
Q: Can companies that have already completed their technology roadmap and are well underway on their digital transformation take advantage of RISE with SAP?
Absolutely. RISE with SAP provides a flexible tool set – from a variety of deployment models to a diverse set of services – that customers can use to tackle whatever will be most advantageous for their bespoke intelligent enterprise journey.
For example, Atos went live on SAP S/4HANA as part of its digital transformation. We ran a pilot RISE with SAP project to add further value to Atos’ journey where we embedded a team to work with the company from its current departure point to help Atos move to Microsoft Azure and redefine what its systems and processes are going to look like across the board, which is allowing them to run more efficiently and at scale.
Q: Government regulations prevent my company from migrating to the cloud. Can we still take advantage of the RISE with SAP offering?
Yes. Businesses operate in a tapestry of regulation today, and this environment is an area where SAP has some differentiating capabilities as a result of our private cloud deployment option and our sophisticated and far-reaching reseller channel. At the moment SAP is particularly cognizant of specific requirements for organizations in the defense, aerospace, and civilian government spaces. The US federal government allows organizations to move to the cloud as long as they’re FedRAMP certified. SAP’s independent subsidiary, called SAP NS2, allows us to serve federal government, aerospace, and other US public sector organizations to meet those very specific cloud regulations and security requirements. SAP is also presently assessing the EU access compatibility of RISE with SAP and will continue to evolve the offering as additional regulatory or compliance factors enter the landscape.
Robin Manherz, Chief Performance Officer, SAP
Q: What will happen to current investments with existing hyperscalers or other process management tools that are not Microsoft Azure or Signavio?
SAP’s intelligent enterprise architecture, with the business technology platform as the foundational enabler, is agnostic by nature. The technology platform entitlement is included in RISE with SAP and it allows a customer to build integrations and cloud extensions to any application developed by any provider, so customers can seamlessly integrate intelligence from the provider of their choice.
Q: Can companies that are using other non-SAP cloud solutions take advantage of RISE with SAP?
Yes. RISE with SAP is designed to be an all-inclusive solution. SAP considers its ecosystem to include its contractual partners, as well as other participants in the technology industry. All of SAP’s technology applications include application program interfaces and explicit efforts to allow all of SAP’s technology to co-exist with the customer’s larger platform.
Additionally, all of the hyperscalers and all of SAP’s service partners are participating in RISE with SAP, meaning that no hyperscaler or service partner is incompatible. One of the distinguishing factors of the RISE with SAP offering is that it is very partner inclusive, enabling customers to work with a gigantic community of partners across the world — of all sizes and dispositions — that provide implementation services. In this way customers can capitalize on SAP’s architecture and technology, which in turn serves as a conduit for customers to take advantage of all that is available beyond it.
Q: If a company is interested in investing in RISE with SAP, what types of considerations should be included in a business case to get approval from leadership?
There are many opportunities to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) with RISE with SAP, such as reallocating your existing resources to more strategic areas when a business moves to more standardized processes, or reducing hardware costs by moving to a hyperscaler. But the true value of RISE with SAP comes from the actual business transformation that SAP can orchestrate, which requires the conversation around business case considerations to shift from reducing TCO, to the specific components that drive business transformation.
SAP wants to empower customers to think more broadly about a holistic business transformation as a service – and not just customers that are thriving, but customers that are experiencing a tighter liquidity situation than ever before – because transformation is essential for companies that are just trying to establish business resiliency right now, too. SAP is very sensitive to the fact that many organizations, as a result of the pandemic, simply need to move capital expenditure to operating expenditure and realize rapid TCO to stay in business. RISE with SAP is a step to do that – to realize the value of investment much sooner, and to give companies time to get their bearings for their transformation over time. The year 2020 has proven to many companies just how resilient their workforces are, and that sentiment helps support the mission of RISE with SAP – that transformation is essential and possible in even the most trying of times.