Migrating SAP to Cloud Effective strategy, best-fit transitioning options, and a comprehensive execution approach

Migrating SAP to Cloud Effective strategy, best-fit transitioning options, and a comprehensive execution approach
ERP Modernization

Migrating SAP to Cloud Effective strategy, best-fit transitioning options, and a comprehensive execution approach

Why Migrate to Cloud

Moving products and services to the cloud is a current trend in businesses. For some, it’s a business decision while for others it becomes mandatory especially due to rising website traffic, the company’s geographical expansion, and so on. The advantages of shifting to the cloud are substantial even though moving SAP products and services may appear to be a difficult and time-consuming task. This migration requires detailed planning and should be completed before SAPs 2027 deadline for support withdrawal. Moving to the cloud provides an organization with several advantages, such as:


Cloud-based SAP applications provide access to unlimited capacity and performance resources besides the flexibility to scale the systems up or down based on the demand. Cloud infrastructure can meet the demands of a new project, from adding storage to reducing surplus resources. Businesses can become more flexible and agile in making decisions and managing demand variations.

Disaster recovery methods and replicated storage ensure high availability, business continuity and provide greater control over critical data than their hardware counterparts. Furthermore, cloud implementations are less expensive, simpler with minimal risk of data corruption during a system crash. Companies can combine many cloud providers to further reduce the risk of data loss.


Public cloud computing uses a variety of encryption mechanisms, access control, intensive testing, and network hardening to provide superior data security and decrease or eliminate the risk of data leakage even as on-premise SAP implementation offers the highest level of protection.

Data recovery technologies that come with a cloud-based model provide more control over data contributing to business continuity, high availability, and zero chance of data loss.


Companies that migrate to the cloud save significantly on the cost of engaging technical personnel to support servers or repair or replace hardware. Significantly, businesses are not bound by location and can access company data from anywhere in the world by moving to the cloud.


Cloud-based applications enable even small businesses to compete with larger corporations. It makes a business very agile and gives a competitive advantage besides cutting costs, making the system available globally to the users, and the capability to manage data, platform, and security.

Challenge Areas

Despite all the obvious advantages of cloud migration, some businesses are still hesitant to migrate their SAP solutions to the cloud owing to complicated landscapes, significant customization requirements, unclean master data, and a lack of skills/knowledge. Organizations need to consider these and other challenges before making a definitive step.


Some procedures may be delayed if the provider’s center is located far away from the business’ premises and therefore companies need to select the nearest data center.


Businesses should ensure that their software is compatible with the proposed cloud regarding the SAP system, operating system, and database software before moving to the cloud.


After the move to the cloud, both personnel and equipment would need to adapt to the change in the entire organization and the processes.


The migration operation needs a certain amount of time, which must be evaluated in advance in accordance with business operational needs.

Strategy to Migrate

A migration strategy is a plan an organization makes to move its data and applications from on-premises architecture to the cloud. The correct migration strategies help enterprises to be leaders in the adoption curve and successfully migrate to the cloud.

The major migration options for transitioning from an on-premises SAP model to a cloud-based one include:


In this migration strategy, the existing SAP hosting environment is duplicated to the cloud. This form of migration, also known as called ‘re-hosting’, transfers the exact duplicates of the top three levels of the present landscape – the database, OS layer, and application layer.

Since there are no major adjustments, relocation is fast and inexpensive while causing less disturbance to regular work and ensuring almost instant ROI. This strategy eases future transformation provides greater agility and is the preferred solution for the cautious and those who are unsure about their long-term strategies.


In technical migration, the existing applications are maintained but the operating system and database are upgraded to meet specific transformational objectives. This strategy uses some of the core characteristics of a cloud-based SAP, such as automation and scalability, and offers additional benefits.

Technical migration is also used to prepare a company for future application migration. The migration of ECC users to Suite on HANA for SAP users is often the initial step towards a future shift to S/4HANA.


In application migration to the cloud, all three layers – application, operating system, and database are changed. The different ways of achieving this are:


This strategy, also known as “Greenfield Migration”, involves starting from scratch and is effectively a reset button. This transition strategy leads to a comprehensive re-engineering of a company’s procedures and operations and has both advantages and disadvantages. For an organization that has been using SAP for a long time and has amassed a large amount of intricate and customized code, a greenfield strategy may be the fresh start needed to rework its SAP use and decrease complications.

Even though this system implementation involves discarding the familiar frameworks, companies gain many unique capabilities on their provider’s platform and a high ROI. It increases developer productivity through features such as customizability of data models and application templates, communities with pre-built engines, and meta-driven engines.


System conversion, also known as “Brownfield Migration”, refers to an upgrade of the SAP ERP. Here SAP S/4HANA is implemented while retaining the tried-and-trusted business processes and customizations. It also transforms the operating system, database, and application layers. System conversion is the leading migration strategy for SAP ERP migration and may include modifications to the landscape as well as its control and management.

When handled correctly, system conversion results inconsistent performance, lower costs, and reduced downtime. It also frees up IT staff’s time to focus on strategic goals rather than regular maintenance.


This strategy is a fusion of greenfield and brownfield migration strategies. It entails Client Consolidation, Process Reuse for all existing ERP customizing as a baseline, and building new customization on top of the baseline, which involves SAP S/4HANA integration, simplification, and/or mandatory improvements including a few innovations


This strategy is a hybrid approach that provides the flexibility/opportunity to change the existing landscape and is used to consolidate multiple clients or to migrate the business in stages. Likely scenarios in landscape transformation include:

  • A system that combines different ERP systems into a single system to meet the demands of business consolidation.
  • Separating data segments and certain functional components to facilitate divestment.
  • Upgrading and migrating several regional landscapes into one global environment.

Execution Approach and Considerations

SAP ERP can be migrated in multiple ways to meet the business goals and requirements. There are a few key points to be considered at the start and the end of the migration, depending on the migration selected. The execution methodology for any two projects can be the same or quite different depending on the business needs.

The execution methodology areas include:


While migrating the environment(s), a ‘multi-environment layer’ approach can be used. Before moving to the final production environment after all approvals and meeting all business goals, different environments can be used to

  • Develop any new customization
  • Test current and new customization
  • Validate the accomplishment of business requirements

Optimizing network architecture and application settings can help a business overcome challenges like latency and egress? cost while also helping to optimize or resolve application or process issues.

  1. DATA

The organization must migrate, ingest, process, and catalog all enterprise data from on-premises systems into a central secure cloud-based and establish a modernized ERP platform. This would enable Master Data Management including governance and syndication of data and clean all the corrupt data, and unused and conflicting documents besides removing all unwanted data–thus preventing bottlenecks during the migration process.


The support of cloud vendors for upgrades and compatibility of SAP applications, databases, and operating systems with that of the cloud vendors should be checked.

Companies should also

  • Analyze the governance, technical, and language standards of the potential cloud vendors to their business standards and look for the best fit.
  • Ensure the compatibility of the components, and a competent team of IT professionals with integration skills to assess the risks.
  • Check the vendor’s capability in resolving difficulties and assurance of 24 x 7 data security.

Many of the tasks can be automated to provide higher efficiency with respect to time and cost. Migration scripts can be written to accumulate all enterprise data into one master data before migrating it to the cloud environment while an automation script can test application configuration and integration.

  • Technology & Solution Advisory
  • Re-engineering and Upgrades
  • Cloud Migration & Maintenance
  • Design and Implementation
  • Application Management & Support
  • Mobility & Analytics Solutions

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