It is interesting to understand how different the thought process is around selecting and implementing a public cloud solution, compared to private or on-premise.
If we take the S/4HANA solution as an example and consider how an SAP customer might go through the process.
If we have a look at Public Cloud implementation first, mainly as it is the ‘sexy’ version and hipster-fashionable currently. When you select the solution, you have to understand that ‘it is what it is’. You will get four upgrades per year, but you will only be able to tailor the solution with the input data. If S/4 does a Goods Receipt before it does a putaway, then that is the process into which you have bought and that is how you will run your operation. And don’t even think about Z-programs.
A Private Cloud is largely what we’ve been doing for years, in outsourcing the hardware provision on which our systems run. Something of which you should be aware, is that the code-base for the non-Public cloud S/4 offering is different and the release schedule is different, only twice per year. Not such a big issue unless you happen to have a mixed estate of Public and Private Cloud S/4 and want to provide support with different versions and system capability.
The On-premise approach is the most traditional approach in that the computer on which S/4 runs is on-site. This is probably the best solution for those running automation controlled by, for instance, Extended Warehouse Management. In these cases, the response time required trumps any other questions of convenience. This approach follows the Private Cloud code-base and release cycle.
What we also must factor into our solution strategy is the embedded (Core) or extended (Suite) capability of lots of the Supply Chain Execution parts of the system. So you could be running a production warehouse using the embedded EWM on a Public Cloud and a distribution warehouse using an Suite EWM solution running on-premise to support your automation.
And many other combinations of the above…..
My natural cynic is desperate to escape and start ranting at this point. However, what this S/4HANA approach does, is give you all the options to choose from for the various part of your business. It also allows you to minimise the cost base for your array.
What it also does is make your decisions more challenging and it requires you to be better informed and/or supported in the selection process – not post-selection during implementation as is the usual current scenario.
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