How to Transform Your Legacy SAP Environment with Google Cloud

3 min read
Apr 13, 2022

In the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market, SAP is the recognized market leader, with a massive installed base around the world. But much of that installed base is running on-premises ERP. As part of its commitment to the future of cloud-based ERP, SAP is sunsetting support for its core ERP software by the end of 2027, requiring customers to migrate to S/4HANA.

For anyone still sitting on the fence, now is the time to get started on your SAP cloud migration journey—since a migration of this scale is a significant undertaking that could take months or even years.


The challenge with legacy SAP

If you’ve been running SAP ECC (ERP Central Component) for a decade or more—as many companies have—then you might have a tediously slow, siloed, unwieldy environment. And you’ve probably been accumulating data across siloed business units (especially if you’ve undergone any mergers or acquisitions), so you have a lot of ‘dirty’ data that makes it difficult to glean any real business value.

Many companies are looking to migrate their on-premises SAP workloads to the cloud as part of their digital transformation plans, seeking the benefits of agility, increased uptime and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). And they’re looking to leverage S/4HANA’s strengths in simplified architecture, AI-powered automation, embedded analytics and other advanced tools.

But this isn’t a straightforward lift and shift, especially if your legacy SAP environment includes multiple interfaces, customizations and other complexities. All of these will influence your cloud migration approach.


Why Google Cloud?

Google Cloud is emerging as a strong contender for an SAP cloud migration. In 2021, Google further expanded its partnership with SAP, becoming a RISE partner to help accelerate cloud migrations. Through SAP’s partnership with Google, S/4HANA workloads have real-time access to Google’s machine learning capabilities and cloud security infrastructure. 

That means you can integrate your SAP data with cloud-based analytics stacks such as BW/4HANA on Google Cloud using technologies such as Google Cloud Dataflow, Google Cloud SQL, Google Cloud Spanner and Google BigQuery. For example, the BigQuery Connector for SAP provides a simple, scalable way to make SAP data fully accessible within BigQuery.

While an SAP cloud migration can be time-consuming and complex, the end result—faster time to value—will be worth it. By merging disparate datasets into a single source of truth, for instance, you’ll have more relevant data that can lead to better decision-making for the business.

In an IDC study, companies using BigQuery for their SAP data yielded significantly improved business results, with 63% faster completion of queries and 77% faster delivery of analytics reports. They also reported substantially lower data warehouse costs and more productive analytics teams, with an ROI of 323% over three years.


“If SAP is the house, then Google Cloud is the playground. So all the cool new stuff, like analytics, is being built on Google. For any CIOs or CTOs that say data and insights will be a major contributor to their business strategy, we tend to tip them towards Google.”

-Aric Bandy, Executive Vice-President, Pythian


Choosing the right migration strategy

However, getting to that point takes time, resources and commitment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for SAP cloud migrations; you may even be considering a hybrid or multi-cloud approach.


Looking at other migration strategies but not sure where you should start? Read our Google Cloud Migration Handbook to learn how to migrate to Google Cloud with confidence.


Identifying the right strategy requires a deep evaluation of your current landscape, as well as your technical and functional requirements, now and in the future. For example, if you have multiple applications integrated within SAP—such as CRM, taxation or banking interfaces—then your migration will require more effort and cost more money.

You’ll also need to consider whether you have the resources in-house to tackle a project of this scope, especially with the ongoing IT skills shortage. Before executing any planned SAP migration, be realistic about the skills available to you, what additional skills you’ll need and what costs are associated with either hiring full-time staff or engaging a consultant.


Why choose Pythian for SAP to Google Cloud migrations?

Pythian is a premier Google Cloud Partner with 200-plus Google Cloud certifications. We’re also an SAP PartnerEdge partner and SAP-certified application hosting services provider, with 25 years of technical leadership in SAP consulting migrations, enterprise hosting and managed services.

Pythian’s SAP migration experts can help you transition your SAP systems to the latest version of HANA and S/4HANA on either on-premises infrastructure or Google Cloud. Our seven-day SAP to Google migration assessment will closely analyze your current SAP environment and design a comprehensive plan to transition your workloads, all while lowering your TCO through next-generation best practices and AI automation.

Want more information around migrating to Google Cloud and doing more with your data? Visit the Google Cloud Migration Hub.

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