Munich, January 15, 2019 – The SAP portfolio is constantly changing, and with it its operation. While the management of SAP applications has so far been heavily process- and governance-driven, as the digital transformation evolves, it must now also support the modernization of the company itself and ensure the integration of mobile devices, data analytics, cloud computing, and social media. The study "Application Management in Europe" provides insight into the status quo and future developments in the area of SAP application management. For this purpose and on behalf of itelligence, PAC surveyed executives of large companies in the SAP/IT sector throughout Europe.
With SAP into the cloud
The most widely used solutions still are the “older” ERP systems (SAP R/3, SAP ECC). A large proportion of respondents (49%) are operating an SAP CRM solution at the moment. Cloud applications, too, have become common for many of the respondents. A large number (39%) of them have deployed SAP’s new ERP suite SAP S/4HANA in the cloud. 56% stated they are already using or planning to use SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Leonardo. The figure for SAP Analytics Cloud is 53%. A large number of companies use solutions that support their separate processes, such as Ariba for procurement (63%) or SuccessFactors for human capital management (77%).
Complexity as the dominant challenge
96% of participants see their SAP landscape as a challenge due to the high degree of customization and adaptations. As many companies use or will use a number of different cloud applications and deployment models in parallel, they have to face complexity in terms of integration and the management of these solutions. For 91% of respondents, the complexity of hybrid IT landscapes is posing a challenge. Such hybrid IT landscapes often comprise legacy IT, private and public cloud models, as well as self-operated and (out)sourced infrastructures, and thus require consistent end-to-end governance, compliance, and security across a wide range of various applications and infrastructure platforms (see figure 1).
Figure 1: With regard to the management of your SAP systems: Which of the following aspects represent a major challenge?
Nearshore vs. offshore vs. automation
In recent years, cost pressure in particular, but also the lack of human resources within Europe, has led to an increased demand for services from offshoring and nearshoring locations. 79% of participants in this study have stated that they are taking advantage of nearshore resources. Offshoring is used by 69% of companies. The experience of nearshoring seems to be increasingly positive: Of those companies using nearshore resources, 46% are convinced that this share will increase in the coming years.
Offshoring and nearshoring are experiencing increasing competition due to increasing automation. 41% of participants are already using automation or artificial intelligence-based technologies for the management of their SAP systems or are planning to do so. At the same time, 46% are interested in employing these technologies in their organization (see figure 2).
Figure 2: Are technologies such as automation or artificial intelligence (AI) used for the management of your SAP systems?
New requirements for service providers
Indeed, 66% of companies prefer to have an external service provider involved in rather general tasks such as application management or hosting of an application. However, the requirements for managing an SAP application landscape have changed. A mere “keeping the lights on” approach, which was typical for SAP application management services in the past, will no longer be sufficient. Consequently, customers are hoping for deeper industry-specific know-how from providers to enable closer integration with the business.
Ideally, companies that work with external providers to implement and operate their SaaS solutions benefit not only from their technical capabilities but also from their ability to innovate. After all, a cloud migration is often the trigger for a business transformation.
The study document "Application Management in Europe" is available to download from the itelligence website.
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