SAP Tranforms Core Business Apps into Cloud Services

SAP recently made its offerings available as cloud-based subscription services, including the company's HANA in-memory database.

Another available service is the SAP Business Suite, which includes the company's ERP, financial and industry-specific applications. This suite also runs on HANA, which provides business intelligence and real-time key performance indicators. Another HANA-based product, the SAP Business Warehouse, is also available as a service now.

The subscription-based apps follow a recent announcement that SAP is allowing companies to extend existing SAP installations to the cloud as hybrid implementations. The company noted that some apps might have certain restrictions in those situations. Observers said offering its flagship business apps as a service is a key move forward for the company, as some regard it as a laggard when it comes to transitioning its business from a traditional supplier of business applications to offering them as a service in the cloud.

"Today is a significant step forward for SAP's transformation, as we are not only emphasizing our commitment to the cloud with new subscription offerings for SAP HANA, we are also increasing the choice and simplicity to deploy SAP HANA," said company executive Vishal Sikka in a statement.

While SAP has taken steps over the years to embrace the cloud, it has lagged its rivals. Making matters worse, it has faced a growing number of new competitors born in the cloud including Salesforce.com and Workday, which don't have legacy software issues to address. Also, those rivals and their partners have tools that can connect to existing legacy systems. SAPs biggest rival, Oracle, has made the transition with some big-ticket acquisitions along the way. And SAP has made a few of its own, including Success Factors and Ariba.

The company said it is expanding its datacenter footprint across four continents. It currently has 16 data centers worldwide and said it is extending its footprint to comply with local regulations and address data sovereignty requirements. The global expansion includes its first two datacenters in the Asia Pacific, adding facilities in Tokyo and Osaka Japan.

SAP said it has also extended its cloud migration service offering for existing customers. In addition to running its own cloud, SAP has partnerships with major cloud providers including Amazon Web Services, HP and IBM.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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