Every business has a different motive for its cloud journey. Among the most common include:
Modernizing an outdated IT setup
Reducing and managing IT costs
Facilitating your company's ability to adapt
Although there are many business cases for making the shift to the Cloud, the bottom line is there must be a clear end goal that will act as the guiding force in the project. Purchasing cloud shelfware will do little for business improvement; your team must see clear value. Therefore, organizations should view cloud technology as the tool to simplify processes. Sales teams should shift focus to adoption-driven solutions.
Following the decision to proceed with the journey to cloud, your team might quickly become overwhelmed with what steps you should follow next. In this blog post, we outline the essential steps to beginning your migration to the Cloud.
1. Remember the Problem Being Solved is Complexity
To achieve your business's predetermined motive, team leaders need to understand that the core problem cloud technology solves is managing complexity. Chances are your company has been successful for a while already and now has multiple departments using different tools or processes to complete the same task. Therefore, the solution may not be simple but it will help consolidate complex processes to be so straightforwardly simple that users will not see the need to work around them.
2. Approach Your Cloud Transformation Journey with a Design Focus
Your team might be won over by the SAP Business Technology Platform's key features of being pay-per-use and easy to scale. While modernizing might seem like the answer to your business problem, the reality is, deploying cloud technology is about more than the benefits of the technology itself. Technology should be an enabler to help your team complete each tedious process in a more straightforward way. The SAP AppHaus, and specifically its partners, achieve this simpler process through design thinking. Design thinking is practical since it incorporates user feedback at the beginning of the process to determine how tasks are currently being completed. It also involves several iterations of paper to high-fidelity prototypes to reduce the amount of development time needed, forcing agile decisions and solutions that work.
The bottom line is that the process of customer feedback, research, and prototype experimentation results in a human-centred solution. The more personalized an experience, the higher adoption tends to be.
3. Establish a Project Leader and a Design Thinking Leader
This step comes in two parts. It is recommended that a Project Leader is needed for cloud migration, and we still believe this is the case. However, a design thinking consultant or leader should also ensure user feedback is not lost in iterations or development. These roles differ slightly and can be defined at a high level as follows:
Project Sponsor / Executive Business Sponsor
For a cloud change to stick, it is vital that your leadership team, including your CEO and board of directors, are aware of the change and are actively supporting the project's goals in alignment with the company's bottom line. On the other side of the spectrum, your functional managers will likely have concerns about maintaining their teams' satisfaction and productivity and that their product line (or associated business area) is still capable of meeting a business quota.
To manage the different objectives, you will require a project sponsor to manage opposing viewpoints and refocus concerns on the end objective. The project sponsor must also ensure team members are adhering to the cloud migration process and getting out of the habits they have grown accustomed to.
Finally, the project sponsor needs to believe wholeheartedly in the solution. Leaders inspire change and need to be ready to set the example of diving headfirst into these new opportunities. With passionate drive, they will not shy away from initial discouragement and will continue to lead the organization into new and inspired change.
Design Thinking Leader
The process of collecting feedback can be lengthy, which is why business leaders are encouraged to enlist the help of a focused design thinking team to take them through the process. A design thinking lead can help to ensure the best solution is being brought to the table since their focus is less on pleasing management and more on innovative success and ideation.
4. Create a Team for Success
Once you have a leader in place, you will need to ensure the remainder of your team is prepared for success. Some of these team members will include:
Subject Matter Expert (someone who understands the innermost workings of your organization)
SAP Security Specialist
IT Leader (who understands the innermost workings of your organization's current IT system, including where data/information is stored)
Design Thinking Expert
A Business Sponsor who will drive change and remove roadblocks
SAP Product Expert (this will vary depending on what applications you are hoping to deploy)
Vendor Manager (to manage cloud contracts and service level negotiation)
This team might include both internal and external team members who are experts in their field, and all members of the team must be made aware of the scope of the solution to ensure there are no project overages.
5. Define a Communication Plan Based on Your Migration Strategy and Roadmap
For any business migrating to the Cloud (SAP or otherwise), a migration strategy will need to be defined and brought to the affected parties' attention. Whether all systems will be changed at once or specific team members will be impacted first, your migration strategy will be the first step in identifying affected parties.
Although naming may differ, these strategies can loosely be defined as:
Rehost: Replicating the cloud environment to be nearly the same as your on-premise ecosystem to shift the team over to the Cloud.
Revise: Adjusting individual components within your ecosystem to support cloud service add-ons.
Rebuild: Starting from the beginning and creating an entirely new cloud environment complete with new applications and functions.
Refactor: The structuring of specific applications is to be cloud-based so they can connect back to your cloud platform core.
Your plan to communicate the strategy will require key messaging, a rough timeline, and an outline for the channels used to share this message. Involving your team in the discussion will take into account their concerns and can help to create buy-in for the transition. While not everyone will agree, business leaders across all departments must be made aware of functional changes and their impact on important events during the project's duration.
It is recommended that each phase of your cloud deployment is mapped against your resourcing schedule and other significant projects in your organization. This will ensure that you have enough resources available for your migration and team members feel their efforts in other areas are validated. A roadmap can help teams to stay on course and ensure that no part of the project gets lost along the way.
6. Develop Meaningful Cloud KPIs that Measure Adoption
With a strategic plan in place, you now must continue to prove that the decision to migrate to Cloud was worthwhile. This will help to determine where challenges are occurring based on specific performance metrics related to cloud adoption. New key performance indicators (KPIs) will be needed in many cases, since some on-premise metrics will not be as relevant for your current project. These KPIs should evaluate the actual offering as well as the adoption rates among your team.
Some that you might consider are:
Error rate (how many errors are still being made by employees, and is this less or more than their previous solution?)
Customer satisfaction scores (such as a Net Promotor Score or NPS)
The average duration of tasks completed (are they shorter or more efficient than before, or do they require more steps)
Are compliance standards being met? (How many policies are still being overlooked? Is this more or less than before)
The KPIs that you should include are the ones that show your organization's progress towards overall business goals. Fiori Analytics can also be used to determine which applications are being adopted. The bottom line is that each business is unique, and the metrics you will use are dependent on the project's goals.
7. Reach Out to a Qualified SAP Partner to Assist in the Education and Support Processes
If you are tackling cloud migration on SAP for the first time, it will likely make the most sense for you to enlist an expert's help. While you could onboard a team member internally or hire a contractor to get your business up to speed, it is often more cost-effective to enlist the help of a team that has already completed an SAP Business Technology Platform migration and can help upskill your team on the new processes. Although the solution should be simple enough extensive education is not necessary, an SAP partner can help arrange short lunchtime sessions to quickly share the solution's inner workings and answer questions related to the technical capabilities of the solution.
As a support resource, an SAP partner should act as part of your team. A partner will be the most valuable to your business if they are able to answer your team’s questions, provide a guided roadmap and offer solutions that will make a direct impact on your bottom line. As an SAP customer and partner, we also recommended selecting a partner that operates with a human-centred approach to innovation so pain points are tackled as a team effort between both parties, not a solo effort by your business with solutions presented by a third party.
To learn more about easy-to-deploy Cloud solutions, we encourage you to browse more about our SAP Qualified Partner packages.