For years, companies have been dealing with one central theme in IT: Adapting the SAP portfolio to the challenges of the digital age. The focus here lay especially on the operation and management of SAP applications. In earlier years, it seemed sufficient to rely on the process- and governance-driven approach for application management. In lapidary terms, the main thing was that the applications run. But these times are long gone and the challenges in SAP Application Management are becoming increasingly complex and urgent for companies.
For this reason, the consulting firm itelligence commissioned PAC - a teknowlogy Group Company in 2018 to conduct a market research study among 207 IT and SAP managers in Europe. The current study offers an insight into the most urgent fields of application management and shows the current situation.
The challenges facing SAP management are becoming increasingly complex
Almost all companies (96%) are faced with the situation that their SAP landscapes are now highly individualized due to permanent adjustments. Hybrid IT landscapes often include public and private cloud models as well as legacy IT and (outsourced), independently operated infrastructures.
Any restructuring of the portfolio therefore creates complex challenges. 91% of the respondents assume that the corresponding tasks can hardly be managed by the internal IT departments. In addition, there are personnel bottlenecks and cost pressure.
On the other hand, there is the will to prepare Application Management for the automation of companies and to achieve improved performance in the areas of speed, agility and efficiency. Compliance, security and consistent end-to-end governance must be ensured across multiple infrastructure platforms and multiple applications.
Cloud and automation on the rise
Cloud applications in particular have already become a matter of course in many companies. The cloud version of the ERP suite (SAP S/4HANA) has been implemented by 39% of all companies. 56% use the cloud platform and Leonardo or plan to do so in the foreseeable future. 53% use Analytics Cloud.
Applications are also used for separate processes. 63% use Ariba for procurement and purchasing, 77% use Successfactors in human capital management. 41% of the respondents have already automated the management of their SAP systems or use AI technologies. Of those companies that have not yet done so, 46% are interested in such an application.
External service providers are becoming the be-all and end-all for problem solutions
In many cases, this restructuring of the SAP landscape is only possible by commissioning external service providers. 79% of the managers surveyed use nearshore resources for this purpose and 69% use offshoring. In a performance comparison, nearshoring resources seem to be more convincing because 46% of all study participants believe that their share will increase in the future.
In both application hosting and SAP management, 66% of companies show a preference for collaboration with external service providers. This is more than just outsourcing. Technical skills, industry-specific know-how and the innovative ability of external partners can and should lead to a more effective business transformation, which often could not be achieved by entrepreneurs alone. Experience in the field of cloud migration has made us aware of the positive effects of such close integration. In this sense, external service providers will continue to play a key role in business transformation in the future.