RISE with SAP… but then what? What you need to know about SAP RISE

Introduction

Following suit with Microsoft, Google and other big tech companies, SAP is making the transition to the cloud and is attempting to persuade a massive customer base to come along with them. This is no easy job, considering the size of the customer base and how entrenched they could potentially be in on-prem solutions. That said, the future, for some is cloud and SAP needs to make it adoptable as possible- especially as that future has a deadline: 2027… that’s where SAP RISE comes in.

In this blog, we will talk about how they have ‘risen’ to the challenge but also how the move to the cloud is only part of the challenge. What people aren’t talking about is what to do once migrated and the ramifications of this we will touch upon on later in the blog.

What is SAP RISE?

SAP RISE has been pitched as a ‘transformative business offering’ by SAP, designed to empower organisations on their journey to the cloud- both SAP S/4HANA and SAP BTP. It integrates various elements, including technology, services, and tools, to facilitate a seamless transition away from on-prem landscapes.

Interestingly, RISE is compiled of existing SAP solutions bundled into a simplfied package that focuses on the following areas:

  • Modernisation: Upgrading to the optimal cloud infrastructure for minimising total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • Standardisation: Implementing the top intelligent suite to enhance process efficiency and scalability.
  • Digitisation: Utilising the premier transformation platform for faster innovation than competitors.

One of the top components include SAP BTP:

SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP): At the core of SAP RISE is the Business Technology Platform, providing a unified foundation for data management, analytics, and application development, automation & GenAI.

Other example components include:

  • Intelligent Suite: RISE incorporates an intelligent suite of applications, leveraging technologies like AI and machine learning to enable smarter decision-making.
  • SAP Business Network: The inclusion of a business network fosters collaboration and connectivity, creating a robust ecosystem for efficient business operations.

What are the advantages of RISE with SAP according to the software provider?

Streamlined Operations

With SAP RISE, businesses can achieve operational excellence through the integration of disparate processes. This results in streamlined workflows, reduced redundancies, and increased overall efficiency.

Enhanced Scalability

The scalability offered by SAP RISE allows businesses to adapt to changing demands effortlessly. Whether experiencing growth or navigating challenging times, the platform ensures that the infrastructure scales seamlessly to meet evolving needs.

Innovation Acceleration

One of the standout features of SAP RISE is its commitment to fostering innovation. The RISE package provides the tools and environment necessary for businesses to innovate and stay ahead in a competitive landscape.

Challenges and Considerations of SAP RISE

While SAP RISE offers a plethora of benefits, it’s essential to acknowledge potential challenges:

Integration Complexity

The integration of SAP RISE into existing systems can be complex. Businesses need to carefully plan and execute integration strategies to avoid disruptions and ensure a smooth transition.

Change Management

Adopting SAP RISE often entails a shift in organisational culture. Effective change management strategies are vital to navigate potential resistance and facilitate a seamless transition.

SAP RISE and SAP BTP

SAP RISE and SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) share an integral relationship in driving digital transformation. SAP RISE, as a comprehensive business offering, leverages the capabilities of SAP BTP at its core. The Business Technology Platform serves as the foundational backbone for SAP RISE, facilitating integration, data management, and application development. Together, they create an optimal environment for change to the cloud.  BTP Integration suite covers all the bases but also means upskilling and careful planning.

Is RISE right for your company?

Determining whether SAP RISE is the right fit for your company involves a thoughtful evaluation of your organisation’s needs, goals, and current technological landscape. It shouldn’t be done simply because it seems like the trend to follow at the time. Whilst migration to the cloud is inevitable for SAP users and the sooner the better, it must be done when the organisation is ready. Consider the following factors:

  1. Scale of Operations: SAP RISE is well-suited for mid to large-scale enterprises looking to streamline operations and scale efficiently. Evaluate if the scope aligns with your business size and growth trajectory. SAP also launched Public Cloud for the small medium enterprise (different from S/4 Private cloud).

  1. Digital Transformation Goals: If your company is committed to embracing digital transformation, SAP RISE offers a holistic solution. Assess whether your objectives align with the comprehensive capabilities it provides.

  1. Budget and Resources: Evaluate your budget constraints and the availability of resources for implementation and ongoing support. SAP RISE is an investment, and ensuring it aligns with your financial capabilities is crucial.

  1. Current IT Infrastructure: Consider the compatibility of your existing IT infrastructure with SAP RISE. Assess how seamlessly the platform can integrate with your current systems and applications.

  1. Change Management Capability: The adoption of SAP RISE often requires a cultural shift within the organization. Evaluate your company’s change management readiness to ensure a smooth transition.

The side of SAP RISE not being talked about: Once you have risen… then what?

Everything we have mentioned so far is well-known about RISE and not overly ground-breaking- RISE itself has been on the market since 2021. However, it’s only now that some migrations are complete and many in planning/execution stage, and now customers are on the cloud that they are discovering the benefits & impacts. This for us is where the interesting part. It’s this uncharted territory that’s leaving many saying ‘Now what?’ and we can expect to see this become a common question in 2024.

So, here’s the scenario. You’ve migrated to S/4HANA (Private) via RISE and have been offered BTP incentives to do so. Now you’re on the cloud, you’ve modernised (if you have gone greenfield / new implementation), reduced TCO and ‘digitised’… you’ve even got some cloud credits in the bank to use on whatever you like. But what next? What was the benefits realised and what do you do with these credits?

Without Knowledge and strategy for BTP, you’re just up there, floating around in the cloud not deriving real value for your investment. Shamefully, this isn’t an area that SAP has supported very well in terms of adoption as the focus for them has been on shifting people across. Luckily for you, we are certified SAP BTP experts and we have some suggestions for you:

If we look across the 5 pillars of BTP lets give you some examples (snippets) and real-world advice:

  1. Application Build and Development
  2. Integration
  3. Automation
  4. AI
  5. Data and Analytics

Every business is different but from our perspective the pillars are closely linked.

Application Build and Development

SAP build is a solid product that will get you going with low code / no code tools to help.   It has its place in your SAP development teams but so too does the pro code toolset like BAS (Business Application Studio).  High end user experience application development will not be fully covered by SAP Build but is a nice place to start.  Our advice for people exploring BTP is to start here around UX as its quick and you can gain traction & adoption quickly by designing applications across desktop, tablet and mobile which your users will love.  One to watch is your process for building applications.  Whatever you do, always follow design thinking and UX principles and always involve users and stakeholders in the process.

Challenges:  Skill sets using new technology (especially Business Application Studio) from traditional ways of development.  Its key to stay on top of skills within your organisation and our team at Bluestonex have to stay ahead of the curve with learnings and certifications a must.

Integration

This is probably the best-known aspect of BTP and where SAP have done a great job selling.  This pillar will become critical in your enterprise journey but again means upskilling in new technology from integration services to event mesh.  SAP recently changed pricing for integration suite which means its become more affordable (tenant based).  Our advice is again to start with good use cases and start building integrations and iflows as it minimises the risks.  Cost reductions over time will become apparent by removing middleware that manage your integrations today.

Challenges:  Skill sets using new technology from old ways of integrating systems and planning are absolutely pivotal.

Automation

SAP build is a good place to start with automation and building workflow.  It has nice visualisation UI’s and is great for building simple forms.  Decision based rule logic is part of the package but again, our word of caution would be to have a solid use case

Challenges:  Skill sets using new technology from old ways of integrating systems and planning are absolutely pivotal.

Artificial Intelligence

A good place to start would be by using SAP Business AI services in applications. This is the place where you can infuse AI easily in your apps even if you do not know the core AI concepts. The only requirement is knowing what the AI services available on BTP can do and how to use them. These are prebuilt, pretrained AI models ready to be used.

If you have the skillset and a use case, you can look to build your own AI model and manage the whole lifecycle using the AI Core and AI Launchpad services on SAP BTP.

SAP recently added the GenAI Hub as part of AI core service where the different large language models can be used and evaluated for the given usecase. It has enabled developers in many ways.

Challenges: Skillset.

Data and Analytics

3 main services in this pillar. You can start using Hana Cloud replacing all your peripheral databases (or filesystems) to bring data in one place. Even if you have multiple data sources, Datasphere can be used to model data from those different source systems and lastly the same model can be analysed in SAP Analytics Cloud. All these services have been recently enriched with AI capabilities.

Challenges: Skillset. Training required.