RISE with SAP is an innovative form of access to the latest SAP solutions in the subscription model. Who is this offer aimed at? What are the consequences of choosing a private or public cloud for the SAP system? Is it possible to continue using the on-premise model? What does the cloud mean for the ongoing administration and support of a RISE with SAP cloud installation? What do we need a Technical Cloud Architect for? We answer these and other questions.

RISE with SAP helps lower the barrier to entry in ERP and accelerate growth from investments in digital transformation. For new SAP customers, the RISE platform is the default path to use the system.  What can be chosen is the cloud: public or private. For existing customers, two options are available: an on-premise or private cloud. Let’s emphasize it again: a public cloud is an option for new deployments only.

There is no option to migrate to the SAP RISE public cloud. It is also worth adding that once you choose the public cloud, there is no going back. The transition to a private cloud or on-premise model can only be done by re-implementing the system. Therefore, the available options should be considered from a business perspective, but you also have to bear in mind that also on the technical side, the choice has far-reaching consequences.

There are many arguments in favor of the subscription model – we present them below.  However, it is recommended to become familiar with its limitations and to understand the similarities and differences of the available options. We present the SAP with RISE offering – what is included in the subscription and what is not, how the project of launching or migrating the system is carried out, how to administer an SAP cloud installation.

An example of how important it is to read the information provided in the “fine print" is SAP’s announcements that the RISE with SAP offering is much more than just ERP. It’s true. The package includes a number of additional products that complement and extend the capabilities of the transactional system. However, it is worth noting that these are very basic versions of the solutions, allowing for a proof of concept project to be carried out. Usually, the implementation and go live of these products requires additional fees to be paid for extended versions.

RISE with SAP in practice

The SAP S/4HANA Cloud system is a modern, well-thought-out system with a significantly reduced amount of stored data, resulting in a dramatic increase in performance and speed of data processing compared to previous versions. Add-ons that were previously separate applications have become part of the system. We have received brand new functionalities, such as New Cash Management, New Asset Accounting and, of course, the new SAP Fiori user interface guaranteeing easy access to ready-to-use applications. And most importantly, we maintain the entire system in the cloud. The last sentence reflects the fundamental difference between S/4HANA and S/4HANA Cloud – a change in the system delivery model.

In this innovative formula, for a monthly subscription fee, we get access to the latest SAP solutions, only one SLA, covering access to SAP solutions and maintenance of the SAP cloud environment, as well as system maintenance with SLA provided directly by SAP. Existing system users planning to migrate to S/4HANA Cloud also receive dedicated tools to support this transformation.

Let us recall the traditional on-premise licensing. Based on a pre-implementation analysis, the customer had to decide on the right number and type of users (professional, limited, specialized users, such as those running warehouses or stores). The customer purchased a system and a hardware platform. From the start, they began paying maintenance fees for SAP Enterprise Support, which provided access to SAP’s knowledge base and to the current, latest version of the system. SAP notes allowed for making corrections and adapting the solution to the changing Polish law, so that the system complied with the requirements of accounting and HR departments.

The disadvantage was the lack of adaptability to new business challenges. The purchased number of a certain type of users did not always meet the actual subsequent requirements.  Sometimes a company started to grow in a previously unplanned direction, more warehouses were built than originally planned, etc. Of course, it was possible to swap or buy licenses, but it was not a simple or quick process and required negotiations with SAP.

Against this background, the most important feature of the RISE with SAP subscription service is flexibility. The subscription involves the purchase of a Full Usage Equivalent, i.e. a pool (not licenses) of accesses to the system. In the basic version, the pool of 60 FUEs can include different types of users, which can be flexibly adapted to the needs during the contract period. This is a very convenient option. We can respond to new market challenges smoothly, flexibly, practically from month to month.

So RISE with SAP is a subscription-based latest generation ERP system. We receive the cloud and the entire infrastructure as a service directly from SAP. We decide ourselves whether to use the public or private cloud. According to an analysis presented by SAP, this approach saves up to 20% of the total cost of ownership of an SAP system compared to the on-premise model.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of a system provided directly by SAP: customers do not pay maintenance fees that were directly associated with the purchase of licenses. The fee for the maintenance support received by them is included in the price of the subscription paid monthly. It is provided directly by the SAP support organization. SLA time is guaranteed directly by SAP.

For companies that are already using SAP S/4HANA, switching to a subscription model involves terminating existing licenses. In terms of goodwill, there is a loss of intangible assets (often quite big) of the company.

It is also worth noting that the transition to RISE results in the expiration of the maintenance contract with All For One Poland or another partner. From now on, manufacturer maintenance is provided by SAP teams. What is an advantage can also be a disadvantage. All for One consultants are familiar with their customers’ systems and are in direct contact with people at the customer’s site. The service is provided in Polish (communication and the solution provided). SAP, on the other hand, has a global support organization with a large number of consultants. However, they are not familiar with the customer’s installations, and communication is in English.

The Technical Quality Check service provided jointly by our team and SAP, which consists in preparing pre-launch analysis of current systems based on reports collected in the customer’s system, is disappearing. The standard fee will no longer include access to a dedicated SAP Solution Manager. Our support service for license audits and optimization of license utilization is also disappearing.

RISE with SAP administration and support

Let’s take a look at the differences in the approach in the SAP private cloud (and on-premise) and SAP public cloud models in terms of system administration and maintenance.

Application support remains the same – which means that in both public and private versions, as well as in the on-premise model, problems related to the daily use of the system reported by users can be handled by the in-house competence team or as part of a partner service, e.g. the SAP application management service at All for One.

Let’s go a little lower, to the technical level, and check out the administration services. As already mentioned, for systems maintained in SAP RISE (private or public edition), it is the software manufacturer that manages all or a large part of the technical layer of SAP Basis (infrastructure, operating systems, databases).

In the traditional licensing approach, the on-premise variant – the customer can choose whether they will manage and maintain the system on their own or use, for example, SAP Managed Services at All for One.

In the RISE with SAP model, the service includes a layer of Infrastructure Management, Software and Support (updates, upgrades, kernel replacement, etc.) and Technical Managed Service. This means that for a single subscription fee the customer receives both infrastructure from the partner delivering the cloud of their choice and technical services.

The infrastructure for RISE is always provided by one of the selected hyperscalers: Amazon, Google, Azure or Alibaba Cloud. Only with these providers can we – via SAP – enter into a contract that includes RISE with SAP availability guarantees. Maintenance services are provided through the SAP system of tickets handled in English.

The SAP service covers physical management of sites, all infrastructure operations on disk arrays, backups, as well as Server Provisioning and Server Management. Also with regard to the database, SAP assumes full responsibility, including Database Management, patching, upgrades. All updates and upgrades are automatically enabled. The frequency of updates differs between public and private edition versions.

It is also worth noting that the upgrades implemented as part of the RISE with SAP service only apply to the SAP technical layer. Each upgrade must be followed by modular customizations. The key is to check whether the upgrade has affected the business processes, perform customizations and changes, test, and provide functional business support.  And these tasks are already on the side of the customer, who can perform them, for example, in the form of an application management service or additional partner support.

Technical Cloud Architect

For customers using RISE with SAP, the system manufacturer recommends appointing a Technical Cloud Architect function. His role is to help the company understand the RISE services accurately, what systems we have at our disposal, what their capabilities are, what is included in the service package and what is not included in it. He can assist in the process of handling service requests – in identifying the problem and its precise description, as well as the correct understanding and implementation of the prepared solution.

At All for One Poland, the role of the Technical Cloud Architect is one of the additional services supporting customers of the RISE with SAP platform. Our advantage is a team of consultants with experience and ability to conduct SAP Support communication both in handling maintenance tickets and in performing similar services for SAP HEC, as well as in RISE systems.

One of the most important tasks of a RISE with SAP Cloud service architect is to plan and coordinate proactive activities related to the architecture of SAP systems. A RISE subscription provides access to the full range of services, however it is recommended to take on a demanding approach with a provider. It is important to be proactive when dealing with SAP, to monitor systems, business processes, to ask if the problem we noticed is serious, who is responsible for solving it, how to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Additional services

The typical scope of services of the RISE with SAP package is a spreadsheet of more than 700 detailed items, with a description of what SAP is required to do in the standard version, what is an additional service, and what is not included in the package. Part of the scope, so-called Cloud Application Services, can be completed by the customer. Usually these tasks are delegated to a partner, such as a company like ours.

It is worth taking a closer look at the scope of standard services. It can be noticed that monitoring of critical business processes is not part of this scope, nor is security log analysis. There is no management of roles, profiles, authorizations, etc.

Typical additional services that are not covered by the standard fee but are relevant from an SAP system maintenance perspective:

  • SAP user/authorization management
  • Transport system management
  • Integration with other systems/applications (it is worth noting that in the public cloud option the possibility of system integration is minimal, the private version gives more integration possibilities)
  • Monitoring of systems and its adaptation to the customer’s business needs
  • Monitoring of business-critical transactions and processes
  • Implementing SAP notes and manual changes
  • Planning and coordinating of system upgrades and updates
  • Verifying and taking action on system dumps
  • Managing lockouts, downtime and updates,
  • Managing printers

These are tasks to be performed in-house or as part of services provided by an external partner. It’s a good idea to become familiar with the contents of a RISE with SAP contract, and to prepare accordingly for organizing services not covered by the contract, as well as to determine whether your own IT resources will be sufficient, or whether you should be assisted by a partner with experience in SAP Managed Services.