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Why Customers Choose Microsoft Azure for their SAP solutions

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Why Customers Choose Microsoft Azure for their SAP solutions

Microsoft Azure is a leading choice among enterprise customers for SAP workloads and thousands of customers have trusted Azure to run their SAP solutions. SAP themselves chose Azure when they wanted to move their critical internal business systems to the cloud. And so, it should not come as a surprise that most SAP customers prefer to move their on-premise SAP offerings to Azure cloud.  

SAP and Microsoft have had a deep relationship of over 25 years. A 2020 SAP Insider Survey showed that Microsoft Azure was the primary platform respondents looked at when deploying SAP S/4HANA in a public environment. Another study by DSAG showed that SAP solutions on Azure were favored broadly by customers. So, it is obvious that SAP solutions on Azure come with several benefits when compared with other cloud platforms.  

Why Azure is the most suitable platform for running SAP solutions 

There are several benefits while running SAP applications on the Azure platform. Microsoft Azure gives businesses a platform to build, manage and deploy applications on a cost-effective, global and enterprise-grade network. And, Azure’s partnership with SAP provides a complete and secure infrastructure system, capable of handling substantial workloads while enabling powerful innovative solutions in a specified time.  

When you use SAP solutions on Azure, you bring benefits with the intelligence, security and reliability of Azure to your SAP applications.  

Azure allows customers to unlock critical business insights from their SAP data 

Azure has allowed customers to tap into the benefits of their SAP data. When customers combine SAP and non-SAP data and apply advanced analytics and AI on it, they’ve been able to extract real-time and predictive insights for improved business outcomes. Retailers have been able to modernize their in-store experience with real-time inventory management and manufacturers have built more agile supply chains by analyzing SAP data on Azure.  

With SAP on Azure, customers can bet big on innovation 

When customers run their SAP solutions on Azure, they trust Microsoft’s ability to partner with them in building a better-connected future for their customers, focus on operational improvement and thereby develop better products. With SAP on Azure, enterprises are enabled to connect with dots across systems, places, people and organizations. 

Innovate with existing Microsoft apps 

When customers run SAP solutions on Azure, they can simply use SAP apps and data with Microsoft apps like Teams and Office in Microsoft 365 for improved collaboration and enhanced user experience. Microsoft’s partnership with SAP has seen major investments made towards integrating MS Teams across SAP solutions. Customers have greatly benefitted from these tight integrations and the agility that comes out of it. It has helped businesses overcome business continuity challenges and enabled employees to collaborate effectively when work was shifted to a remote model amid the pandemic.  

Customers get to use the best of hybrid solutions 

Much of the impetus to use SAP solutions on Azure comes from Microsoft being a leading hybrid cloud solution provider – from the edge to the local data center to the public cloud. Azure has stronger solution offerings in Microsoft hybrid cloud, which helps businesses reduce on-premise hosting requirements.  

Higher cost-savings and ROI 

A 2021 Total Economic Impact Study for Forrester Consulting has found that customers running SAP solution on Azure can achieve upto 112% ROI, a 30% reduction in time-to-market for new operations, and a less than six-month payback period. The survey also found that companies can free up time for IT maintenance and use it to drive business growth and innovation.  

Customers trust Azure’s enterprise readiness 

About 90% of customers believe Microsoft understands their enterprise technology and industry-specific needs, a 2020 IDC survey says. Customers have said that moving their SAP solutions to Azure, and using it has improved performance, lowered costs and decreased its resource footprint.  

Trust in security and compliance offerings 

Azure’s robust security services have benefitted a lot of customers in keeping their SAP solutions secure and compliant on the Azure platform. With 3,500 cybersecurity experts to support, it is the industry’s largest compliance portfolio.  

Why customers trust Azure to run their SAP applications and solutions 

With the benefits mentioned above, it should not come as a surprise why customers trust Azure  with their SAP apps and solutions.  

As organizations are increasingly trying to adjust to the new conditions presented by the  pandemic, SAP solutions are playing a critical role in addressing resource needs and building a  resilient future. Some are applying advanced analytics on SAP and non-SAP data to build stronger supply chains. With SAP on Azure, the benefits are many and customers are prepared to meet urgent customer needs, employees are enabled to make quick decisions, as well as plan for the future! 

  1. SAP solutions on Azure means insights and agility

When organizations run SAP solutions on Azure, they are enabled to do new ways of business with the real-time predictive insights. With Azure, organizations can tap into over 100 cloud services, access the SAP Cloud Platform, apply intelligent analytics as well as integrate with the organization’s existing productivity and collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Power Apps and Microsoft Power BI.  

Organizations can integrate their SAP and non-SAP data through a massive portfolio of Azure migration services and create real-time dashboard views of the current operations using SAP and Microsoft business intelligence tools.  

  1. Continuous innovation

Azure cloud has a suite of ever-evolving and growing set of services that can pull data from SAP to do just about everything from detecting fraud to responding to changes in the marketplace.  

Azure IoT applications even allow you to take real-time data from connected devices to gain insights into maintenance, operational efficiency, operational intelligence and much more. Using services with DevOps on GitHub and Azure Kubernetes Services, customers can build, manage and deploy applications on a massive global network.  

  1. Cost savings

The benefits of moving SAP solutions on Azure also include elimination of capital expenditure and underutilized hardware, and it also offers cost management tools such as on-demand scaling during peak usage periods, cheaper storage use and optimizing disaster recovery environments.  

When customers migrate their SAP systems to Azure, they achieve more than 100% ROI, a 50% reduction in data center costs and a 100% reduction in SAP release delays, a Forrester study has found. 

  1. Higher flexibility and scalability

Because Azure is a proven cloud platform certified by SAP to run mission-critical SAP applications, customers across industries run their largest production SAP landscapes on Azure.  

With Azure, users get a high performing and scalable cloud infrastructure – offering 192 GB to 12 TB SAP HANA certified VMs in more regions when compared with other public cloud service providers for Linux and Windows OS. Azure on-demand scalability and agility reduces time-to-market allowing customers to use resources as per their requirement.  

  1. Best-in-class security, compliance and business continuity

One SAP on Azure benefit is that Azure has the most compliance offerings compared with any other public cloud. With services like Azure Sentinel for SIEM, Azure security center for threat monitoring, and Azure Active Directory for identity management, Azure offers its customers one of the best-in-class security offerings.  

Additionally, customers can also leverage built-in availability and recovery options such as Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery so business continues as usual. 

  1. Trusted partnership between SAP and Azure

SAP and Microsoft have worked together for decades and are mutual customers as well. Microsoft is the only cloud provider that’s been running SAP for its own finance, HR and supply chains for 20 years, including SAP S/4HANA. And SAP has chosen Azure to run a growing number of its own internal system landscapes, including those based on SAP S/4HANA.   

How to migrate your SAP solutions to Azure 

When it comes to an agile deployment architecture for SAP solutions, Azure delivers an enterprise-grade platform for mission-critical applications and with powerful partners streamlines migration to the platform.

Helping major customers deploy thousands of SAP instances to Azure, Microsoft today offers a well-defined migration journey for SAP workloads.  

  1. Discover: Assess the current state of your SAPinfrastructure, define goals and get key stakeholders onboard.
  • Create an inventory and catalog the current SAP estate: Document all SAP and non-SAP solutions. Analyze current infrastructure configuration. Right-size compute, storage and networking requirements based on current usage and estimated requirements. Assess which workloads must be refreshed, renewed or replaced. Then define goals for capabilities you want to achieve with Azure.  
  • Staff: Identify who the key stakeholder is and empower IT staff with the necessary training to anticipate and advance technical changes. This will align teams and set expectations. You will also be able to develop an action plan with assigned resources and commitments.  
  • Involve your partner early: Help your migration partner by involving them early in the process so they can understand your current IT infrastructure, prioritize what you want to build and envision the migration process to ultimately achieve your cloud migration goals.  
  1. Prepare: Create an outline for your organization’s cloud migration journey so it rapidly responds to evolving business needs. 

SAP and Microsoft together offer planning resources to let you map your existing ecosystem to its ideal cloud state.  

  • Plan architecture and design: Have an architecture and design planning session with your SAP and Microsoft team. Use information gathered during the discovery phase to evaluate and map to the capabilities of Azure.  

Azure provides virtual machines and HANA large instances that are optimized for SAP workloads. You can also use tools to establish security, high availability, disaster recovery and backup plans. For customized solutions, such as custom code, governance and compliance, they can be added to your ecosystem and managed from it. Rightsizing too can save you costs. 

You can streamline the process by referring to reference architectures that shares proves practices to help you deploy and run your SAP landscapes.  

  • It is important to understand the group of SAP applications that should be deployed together. 
  • Deploy low-risk applications first so you understand how to patch and manage production systems.  
  • Set aside time for testing, training and sufficient IT change management communication updates to maximize business readiness.  

When you understand how Azure resources are deployed and build success benchmarks, you are all set for the next step.  

  1. Migrate: Initiate the migration process strategy and go live

Activate: When it’s time to kick-start your campaigns, you can consider starting off with a pilot to check how the migration works.  You need to make sure that your migration covers all your required capabilities. You also must anticipate plan for downtimes and communicate technology changes to the organization. 

Deploy: You can use open source SAP deployment frameworks to make the processes simpler. These components automate the deployment of your SAP infrastructure based on SAP on Azure references and follow the best practices recommended by SAP and Micrsoft. You can use these services to streamline migration to your new cloud environment.  

  • When it comes to your SAP estate – think long term! 
  • Check out Microsoft’s SAP VM deployment guide 
  •  Check out backup and recovery options. 
  •  Check compute, storage, network and access controls for the SAP solutions you want to move to the cloud.  
  1. Run: Focus on running SAP on Azure and optimize for security and performance  

Once your SAP solutions are deployed on Azure, you can continuously optimize the landscapes for new updates to technology and cut costs with new updates. Azure has a suite of services which you can use to secure your SAP estate and gives you visibility across all applications.  

You can protect your data with Azure Backup for HANA and manage it with Azure Monitor for SAP solutions, which collects real-time analytics across the new configuration. Azure security services will help you to create a secure environment, so you can run mission-critical apps and data with confidence. As you continuously will gain feedback on your ecosystem, you can keep optimizing performance.  

Microsoft can also integrate with organizations’ preferred third-party applications to match your unique preferences.  

  1. Innovate: Be future-ready with powerful business insights

In this step, customers are ready to create new user experiences that add tremendous business value.  

Once you’ve migrated, you can integrate your SAP and non-SAP data through an extensive portfolio of Azure and SAP data services. With it, you can create real-time dashboard views of current operations, use data analytics to understand trends and gain predictive insights. You can use data visualization tools to communicate across the organization and enable positive outcomes.  

When organizations move their SAP workloads to Azure, they get access to a robust repository of built-in process integrate apps and APIs. Similarly, they are also enabled to tap into more than 100 cloud services in Azure to innovate with new capabilities in the cloud. And they are also enabled to enhance productivity and collaboration with integration to Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, as well as first-class integration with SAP solutions like SuccessFactors.  

To learn more, visit the SAP on Azure migration center section to find the resources you need to streamline the migration of your SAP landscape to Azure and begin your cloud transformation journey.  

Helping major customers deploy thousands of SAP instances to Azure, Microsoft today offers a well-defined migration journey for SAP workloads.  

Benefits of SAP on Azure

SAP is popular as a standalone tool and is used across enterprises regardless of size in 180 countries. By migrating SAP systems to a scalable and flexible cloud service like Azure, customers can overcome the challenge of on-premises deployments in the case of mission-critical applications. SAP on Azure is deployed as an IaaS, a SaaS, or a PaaS offering and can be deployed as Azure-only deployments or Hybrid-structure deployments. Azure has offered support and certification for the SAP R/3 and S/4 HANA architectures to streamline the migration process. The major benefits of SAP on Azure are

More flexibility – Azure data centers are available to provide all forms of SAP requirements on an immediate basis and make it easy to meet system demands flexibly. Scaling up or down is also efficient with Azure.

Lower Cost – Cost-effectiveness is one of the primary reasons to choose SAP on Azure. The operational costs can be cut down to 45-75% based on the migration model. Customers can also build upon existing infrastructure using massive Azure integration benefits and save on prices.

Enhanced security– Exhaustive industry compliance coverage with about 25 trust certifications shows that Azure prioritizes data privacy and application security. All the critical infrastructure is hosted on reliable and secure platforms, and it has built-in disaster recovery systems. The Azure cloud footprint covers over 40 regions which lowers the risks of outages.

Increased productivity– Azure has a range of features from IoT to Data analytics and AI that is up to date with the latest technology trends. For instance, it helps to conduct predictive analysis by facilitating visualization of SAP HANA data on Power BI. It also integrates complex operations with simple tools like Outlook, SharePoint, and Office 365 to enhance the SAP experience.

Improved performance – Azure offers massive computing power that supports both, R/3 and S/4 HANA workloads and provides a smooth run to most SAP applications. This provides a better user experience and frictionless functioning.

Azure Monitor for SAP Solutions

SAP solutions on Azure are a popular choice among customers due to the long-standing collaboration and its benefits. Many major enterprises in the world run SAP solutions on Azure. SAP applications are mission-critical and even a minute’s delay or disruption of service can have a large financial impact and affect the organization’s reputation. To avoid that Microsoft has introduced Azure Monitor for SAP solutions for efficient monitoring and troubleshooting. Customers can access simplified monitoring, effective troubleshooting, and flexible customizations with this Azure native monitoring for SAP solutions.

Some of the key features of Azure Monitor for SAP solutions are:

Multi-instance/multi-provider – This allows customers to get telemetry data from multiple systems of the same source system type or multiple systems of different source system types. With this feature, one monitoring resource can be used to monitor multiple SAP HANA instances and multiple Pacemaker clusters.

SAP HANA DB telemetry – With SAP HANA DB telemetry, customers can collect and view HANA Backup and HSR telemetry and the infrastructure utilization data from various SAP HANA instances in one location with the Azure portal.

Microsoft SQL Server telemetry – Get telemetry data from Microsoft SQL Server and visualize and correlate telemetry data such as CPU and memory with top SQL statements.

High-availability (HA) cluster telemetry– This feature allows customers to collect telemetry data from Pacemaker clusters and identify the clusters that are healthy versus unhealthy and correlate this with the health of underlying node and resource health.

The major benefits of Azure Monitor for SAP Solutions include:

Easy collection and consolidation of telemetry data from Azure infrastructure and databases in a central location, independent of the underlying infrastructure such as Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Large Instances, or both.

Visually correlate telemetry between different components for faster troubleshooting using the telemetry data.

Customers can create Azure dashboards to see telemetry from both the SAP and non-SAP components running on Azure with Pinning. This combines telemetry from Azure Monitor for SAP Solutions (used to monitor SAP landscape components) with telemetry from Application Insights or Log analytics (used to monitor non-SAP components).

Create customized charts and graphs by editing the visualizations. Identify patterns, configure alerts to get proactive notifications, and configure custom data retention period to retain telemetry data for trend analysis by running custom Kusto queries on raw data collected by Azure Monitor for SAP Solutions

Integrate with Azure Lighthouse to enable partners to help their customers with monitoring and troubleshooting their SAP on Azure landscapes by viewing telemetry across different tenants as per appropriate access policies.

Recent Advancements in Azure-SAP Partnership

The Microsoft- SAP partnership was formed more than 25 years ago and is still expanding through innovative technology. COVID 19 has posed many challenges and has affected how businesses function all over the world. To overcome these challenges with technology, Azure and SAP collaborated to develop a set of integrations and operational improvement projects to enable customers to create an intelligent, frictionless enterprise. The aim of these improvements is to increase productivity and efficiency by providing the users an opportunity to work in the application of their choice and simplify tasks across the company’s platform or applications. The Microsoft-SAP collaboration is working on around 40 integration projects which focuses on three areas: people, systems, and technology that focuses on improving flexibility and resilience.

Integrating Microsoft Teams with SAP Solutions

The pandemic brought about changes in consumer buying habits. It has altered how people connect and communicate while working remotely and dealing with travel restrictions. To allow flexibility in working and increase productivity, Microsoft Teams has been integrated across all SAP solutions on Azure. This has made an impact on the day-to-day activities of employees. For instance, the use of Microsoft Teams shot up from 44 million active daily users in March 2020 to 115 million by 1 October 2020 and is now used by more than 500,000 organizations. This integration has allowed customers to collaborate more effectively with business partners, modernize the remote sales experience, and foster learning communities such as virtual learning to upskill and reskill. Customers can respond more quickly to changing demands by bringing critical data and tools from SAP S/4HANA into Microsoft Teams. They can empower sellers to connect better with customers through the integration of SAP Sales Cloud with Microsoft Teams and give employees simple and engaging

ways to stay connected and stay informed by integrating Microsoft Teams across SAP products including SAP S/4HANA and SAP SuccessFactors.

Easing Migration to SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure

SAP and Microsoft have both worked on simplifying the digital transformation through Azure. To simplify the move from on-premises SAP S/4HANA in the cloud and improve the migration efficiency, SAP and Microsoft are automating the SAP S/4HANA migration to Azure. They also provide common essential reference architectures to give customers the technical details and insights that they need to operate SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure. They continue to provide customers value by expanding engineering, interoperability, and monitoring for customers who want to modernize their enterprise applications by running SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure. The endorsed cloud collaboration is planning to continue to work on SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure with migration tooling and automation, enhanced monitoring, and platform and application security and provisioning. Some of the integration capabilities include automated landscape creation features, cognitive features with SAP S/4HANA, and landscape migration and deployment improvements.

Ensuring Global Availability, Integration, Connectivity, and Security

SAP Business Technology Platform provides an open, integrated platform that enables developers to create intelligent and frictionless end-to-end business processes and build and extend SAP and non-SAP applications quickly. Combining SAP Business Technology Platform with Microsoft Azure’s platform can help customers to expand into new markets and create new scalable and reliable business models.

SAP and Microsoft are expanding global availability while improving the customer experience for enterprise architects, DevOps, system administrators, and information security experts using SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure. The capabilities being addressed includes event integration, simplified administration and provisioning of users between Microsoft and SAP, and faster and simpler landscape creation and provisioning.

Some of the other improvements include more secure network integration, improved network performance, better integration of Microsoft Azure and SAP software development environments, and better provisioning and management of Microsoft Azure services on the platform. SAP and Microsoft will continue to provide reference architectures, enriched with enterprise architecture methodology, to guide and support customers in building SAP software and Microsoft Azure landscape in all the efforts.

< Combining SAP Business Technology Platform with Microsoft Azure’s platform >