SAP users struggle to optimise IT and unaware of services available from vendor

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Services available through SAP's premium priced enterprise support package are not being taken advantage of by customers who are still struggling to optimise their IT.

A staggering 93 percent of the 120 SAP users said that optimising their firm’s landscape was a challenge due to lack of budget (60 percent), lack of time (53 percent) as well as poor knowledge or skills, according to study by the UK & Ireland's SAP User Group.

It appears most customers are turning to SAP’s partners for help to get their infrastructure right. But 91 percent of users said SAP could do a better job of making customers aware of what products and services it offers.

Almost half of the respondents said they had never heard of SAP’s Expert Guided Implementations (EGI) service which offers workshops and remote sessions with SAP service engineers to help them get the most out of SAP's Solution Manager.

While 75 percent of firms said they had used SAP Solution Manager in the past three years, the user group's vice chairman Paul Cooper believes that the majority "may be using the bare minimum that the tool can do."

Cooper said: “When it comes to helping customers optimise their landscapes, it’s apparent that SAP still needs to do more to educate and help customers take advantage of the services it offers. As SAP’s product offerings continue to evolve, users need to understand how they will impact on their business.''

S/4Hana

“Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of users stated they didn’t know if S/4HANA would help them ‘run simpler’ in the future. While this is understandable considering it is a recently launched product, it highlights a knowledge gap that will need filling. Our ‘Optimising your SAP Landscape’ symposium will be giving users the opportunity to hear from SAP’s experts and learn from their peers, to assist them on their optimisation journey.”

S/4HANA is SAP’s latest version of its ERP software. It runs on the Hana in-memory database, in the cloud. While on-premise customers will be able to avail of some of its features through a self-hosted environment, S/4HANA in the cloud will be prioritised as part of the German vendor’s cloud-first strategy.

In its financial results, the German vendor claimed to have "over 370 customers" on S/4Hana. TechMarketView analyst Georgina O'Toole believes SAP's cloud goals are looking good, stating: "SAP has a cloud subscription goal of €3.5-3.6 billion (£2.3 billion) by 2017, and an ambitious $7.5bn-$8 billion (£4.9 billion) for 2020. It’s early days, but so far take-up of its new S4/HANA offering appears positive as it aims for these goals."

Two thirds already on, or moving to Hana

Nearly two-thirds (sixty three percent) of organisations are considering SAP HANA, and a third plan to do so in the next three years, the study found. Cooper explained that users are either looking to put it on their roadmap, but the move could have a lot to do with timing. If infrastructure is nearing the end of its life within the three-year mark, it is likely they will try Hana. He added that the SAP user community had heard use cases where IT managers found Hana "worked so fast they thought it had failed."

In addition, a majority of firms will be relying on a hybrid cloud environment within three years’ time, the study of UK and Ireland members found.

Cooper, added: “It is clear that many users are looking move to SAP HANA and run SAP on a hybrid infrastructure. However, in order to ensure a smooth transition and fully realise the benefits, users need to optimise their existing SAP landscape.

The findings of our survey show that optimisation remains a challenge for the majority of users, both from a resources and technological perspective. Nearly half of our respondents (47 percent) stated that customisations to their existing landscape had hindered the speed at which they could implement enhancement packs and/or adopt newer platforms from SAP, such as cloud and HANA.”

The sheer volume of data is hindering optimisation too, the study found. Two thirds of respondents (65 percent) reported an increase of almost half over the last three years.

With a decrease in storage costs, however, the majority of firms are storing and archiving more data. This is creating more issues around data accuracy and consistency and governance now that data is spread across multiple platforms.

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