What comes to your mind when you hear the words ‘digital transformation? Do you immediately start imagining a complicated set of cloud technologies, complex ERP structures, unnecessary software subscriptions, and lengthy deployment timelines?
When it comes to any type of business or digital transformation, companies forget that it is more than just about changing a set of tools or software. To be honest, business transformation is all about changing the entire working culture and mindset in an organisation.
Digital transformation in its correct application is about altering and changing your business processes along with adding new technologies that can help you grow. At the end of the day, everything is wired to help your business stay ahead of its competitors.
The fundamental logic behind a digital transformation program like RISE with SAP (RWS) is simple. It aims to provide businesses with a single one-stop holistic solution, that can be tailor-made to suit individual needs, and work as a single subscription service.
In this resource, we are going to cover the following important points of discussion on RISE with SAP (RWS),
- What is RISE with SAP?
- What are the components of RWS?
- What are the benefits of RWS?
- History of RWS
- RWS Partners
- How RWS help with move to S/4HANA?
- What is included in RWS?
- RWS architecture
What is RISE with SAP (RWS)?
Almost all resources that are available online end up complicating the RWS program. This article will try to offer an honest and simplistic view.
First things first. The core or the foundation of the RWS is most definitely SAP’s S/4HANA Cloud. This is the starting point of RWS. To this is added the following,
- Hosting services
- Infrastructure management
- Migration services
- Implementation processes
- SAP’s business networks
Fundamentally what you get when you go with RWS is a fast go-to-market strategy that enjoys an amazing support ecosystem. Many commentators and SAP’s own blog say that this is a ‘Business Transformation As A Service’ or BTaaS!
You end up getting a complete move across to the SAP Cloud and its Product Portfolio. The ‘single’ bundled offering that runs on a ‘single’ subscription model is intended for more straightforward businesses that are looking at accelerated (yet easy) digital transformation solutions- software, services, and tools.
SAP’s Chief Operating Officer for S/4HANA, Mr. Sven Denecken describes RISE with SAP (RWS) as a ‘digital concierge service’ for customers.
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One of the major reasons for the coming about of RWS was the Pandemic. It just showed us how digital is the way forward. Businesses that were already prepared and used intelligent business solutions could make the right decisions and stay afloat during the tough times.
Businesses that waited on the sidelines were ambushed by the breakdown of supply chains, communication networks, physical processes, and outdated technologies. SAP, being SAP, realised that this was the perfect time to help businesses with digital efficiency.
What are the Components of RWS?
There are five major components of RWS. Each one of the components is central to driving digital transformation for a business. Together, these five components and their complex interplay allow a business organisation to take a step towards becoming an intelligent enterprise.
1. SAP S/4HANA Cloud
SAP’s S/4 HANA Cloud is the centrepiece of RWS. This is the company’s flagship offering and has helped millions of businesses worldwide shift their ERP operations to the Cloud for greater efficiency.
S/4HANA Cloud is the perfect solution for businesses looking to move from a physical to a hosted space.
It perfectly syncs with your businesses’ other solutions across finance, supply, logistics, sales, R&D, and CRM. With SAP’s S/4HANA, you get real-time data analytics and feedback that help with intelligent decision-making.
2. Diverse System Hosting Options (Hyperscalers)
The thing with RWS is that SAP wants it to be as appealing to businesses using different cloud solutions.
For example, while RWS is available on your SAP servers, you also can choose between Amazon’s AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Alibaba’s Cloud. If the news is to be believed, this will diversify further and include private server players.
This allows SAP to increase its catchment area and become appealing to new businesses that are already using a cloud-based solutions provider. Hyperscalers like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure can easily host SAP’s S/4HANA solution.
3. Business Network Starter Pack
Complicated cloud solutions aside, SAP realises that typical businesses start with a set of priorities. In other words, they want to focus on optimising day-to-day processes first.
This is why the RWS provides a fantastic business network starter pack that allows the business to manage and maintain everything from inventory management to customer support.
When you combine business processes like this with performance analysis, you get a completely transparent assessment of how things are going across the various verticals. Merging or asset management with routine maintenance boosts efficiency throughout the business.
4. Business Process Intelligence
Intelligent decision-making in businesses can help in increasing flexibility and agility. The Pandemic has shown that quick decision-making based on accurate real-time data analytics can be the difference between success and failure.
With BPI, RISE with SAP helps businesses with processes that help everything from visualising the available data to helping make intelligent decisions based on it.
There is a way where you can use your data and pitch it against industry benchmarks to see how you are performing. There are recommendations on offer in areas where you are lagging. This helps in the creation of an intelligent enterprise.
5. SAP Tools and Services
In order to engineer the digital transformation process, you need a set of specialised tools and services. RWS helps you with everything you require to help you migrate to S/4HANA.
This includes all parameter readiness checks, existing code and software analysis, and access to SAP’s informational and educational learning hub.
You should know that there are two approaches you can take with RWS- Greenfield, where existing approaches and processes will have to go. Or Brownfield, where existing processes and software can be continued. There is a last flexibility approach, Selective S/4HANA Transition, where you will get the best practices of both Greenfield and Brownfield.
What are the Benefits of RWS?
RISE with SAP is suited for businesses looking for an integrated approach to getting started with SAP. Enterprise Planning is not easy since you require a ton of different processes, software, and tools to get going. With a packaged deal like RWS, you can immediately start with digital transformation for your business. Let us look at some of the major benefits.
1. Saves time with immediate deployment
Movement is one of the most important things businesses face when it comes to digital transformation. There are simply too many things that you need to get going before you start to experience real traction, but not so much with RWS. The integrated nature of the solutions means that you can start quickly with BIP, Business Network Starter, Hosting, and Tools + Services.
2. Direct and extended support from SAP
Since this is not a one-time license and is more an ongoing process, SAP helps with continuous support for partner businesses. This is highly beneficial for new businesses that are not too proficient with SAP and its related products. You get a lot of great support from SAP’s team that considers RWS more like a process rather than a one-time project implementation.
3. Increased simplicity and reduced complexity
There are tons of technical and software barriers when it comes to digital transformation. RWS eliminates complicated jargon and replaces it with a simplicity that was previously not seen with SAP products and services. With the ‘One Contract’ and ‘One Subscription’ model, you stream the entire approach and transformation.
4. One partner for the entire rolling out process
Whether you are looking for infrastructure management or technical support, you just have to deal with one SAP vendor that will be your only point of contact (PoC). Everything, including software and support, will flow from one vendor. This reduces redundancies and promotes better communication and coordination during the entire digital transformation process.
5. Suited for businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries
SAP’s primary purpose is to encourage medium-sized businesses that acknowledge the importance and benefits of digital transformation. With customised options, including choosing the starting points, businesses have a lot of flexibility to proceed according to the pace at which they are most comfortable. They can choose between both private as well as public Cloud.
You should note that it doesn’t really matter at what stage of the digital transformation process you are at. With RISE with SAP, you can start whenever you want, from whatever point you are currently at.
History of RISE with SAP (RWS)
Christian Klein, the CEO of SAP, announced Rise with SAP (RWS) as a new solution to the world in January 2021. According to Klein, the intention was to help existing and new SAP customers start using the company’s diverse product offerings as a single yet comprehensive, integrated offering that will help them engineer digital transformation.
Many people felt that SAP was simply trying to say that it had created something new when what they were doing was just offering novel cloud solutions. Not true!
Cloud computing has been there forever (it seems that way right now). In fact, there are tons of other SAP products like S/4HANA. The question that everyone was asking is- how is RWS any different and, more importantly, new?
The primary reason that SAP saw potential with RWS was how it could help move businesses to the Cloud with a modernised ERP system. While ERP has been around for a long time, its application in a modern, fast-paced, and the digitally driven world has been inadequate for most businesses.
The following are the background problems and situations that RWS looked to address.
- The modernisation and globalisation of supply chains and logistics chains have drastically evolved in the last two decades.
- The advancements in mobile computing and internet connectivity have unleashed tons of potential in developing countries (smaller cities and towns).
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning were not around a few years back. Benefitting modern business processes from AI and ML was a top priority.
- Integrating complex business processes was practically impossible. Standards were clunky, expensive, and did not have dedicated support options.
- The Coronavirus Pandemic showed everyone that digital was the way to proceed. Without this, you had to shut down shop or move your business to a different field.
- The start-up ecosystem with venture capitalists had not taken off. It was critical that ERPs, cloud computing, and business intelligence were integrated into this new field.
- Tech-savvy entrepreneurs are no longer hesitant to invest in technologies and software that can help them experience real value.
You can say that these were the background conditions and history that led to the creation of RISE with SAP as a bundled integrated software offering.
RISE with SAP (RWS) Partners
Bringing such an advanced and integrated product solution to businesses is not easy. As you can imagine, it requires tons of coordination with multiple SAP partners that help move the needle forward.
If you think that there is just one SAP and it is doing everything, think again. Behind the curtain, there are multiple consulting companies, advisory groups, applications providers, software specialists, support teams, hardware partners, and network solutions experts.
With every business having its journey to digital transformation, SAP works with multiple partners in different fields to help guide, lead and support every customer.
In the opening sections of the article, we spoke about hyperscalers. Companies like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud offer cloud solutions and support. RWS can easily integrate with them and allow for fully integrated workings. Without the hyperscalers, it would be difficult for SAP to connect with businesses that do not want to use SAP’s servers.
2. Consulting Integrators
SAP works with multiple consultants and system specialists that help in combining RWS with various case studies, white papers, and research work. This helps demonstrate effectiveness, point out improvements in business processes, and comment on ways to boost and streamline efficiency. You get a lot of technical expertise and value in consulting and support.
3. Reseller Community
It would be impossible to roll out a specialised software + hardware offering like RWS if only SAP had to do it alone. This is why it chooses to work with some of the best tech and software brands in the world that work as resellers. To be honest, 90% of all businesses using RWS will be directly working with resellers.
4. Software Experts
One of the core areas where software partners licensed with SAP play a major role is in the area of Business Technology Platforms. They work towards providing solutions to building new extensions, better IPs, and a range of customised applications that are tailor-made to businesses. They are the bedrock of RWS. Without them, integrations at such levels would not be possible.
The success of RWS relies on the seamless collaborations between all the partners that have been mentioned above. Digital transformation is a very community-driven process, and the four partners make it happen by staying with a business throughout their journey.
How RWS help with the move to SAP S/4HANA?
There are three major approaches to migrating your highly sensitive data to the SAP S/4HANA ecosystem. Let’s take a look at them and the benefits as well as challenges accompanying them.
The Greenfield Approach: New Implementation
The new implementation or Greenfield approach is meant for the enterprises that migrate their data from a non-SAP legacy system or SAP ERP suite. It requires an initial data load while implementing a fresh SAP S/4HANA ERP system. In this process, the standard data migration tools and content can be used to implement the SAP S/4HANA system and migrate data from the legacy system.
The Greenfield approach is all about implementing the new system from scratch, making it easier to customise the management suite per the business requirements. In addition, the approach provides an opportunity to eliminate all the issues and limitations present in the existing ERP system and take full advantage of the new S/4HANA capabilities.
However, taking this route also means expecting radical changes in the ways the enterprise will operate. New processes will more likely require a steep learning curve and may impact the entire organisation. Additionally, a completely new implementation is also time-intensive and expensive, without guaranteeing efficiency gains or added value.
The Brownfield Approach: System Conversion
System Conversion or Brownfield Approach is the complete conversion of an existing SAP ERP Suite to SAP S/4HANA — Lift & Shift, in insider terms. If an enterprise is not using SAP HANA as its underlying database, Database Migration Option (DMO) and Software Update Manager (SUM) will be technically implemented for data migration.
The Brownfield Approach is affordable in comparison to the Greenfield project. Also, since this migration is more about upgrading the technical aspects of the system, enterprises are less likely to face disruptions in their existing business processes. Although, this new system will still have to deal with the limitations of the previous ERP suite. Additionally, the existing on-premise infrastructure makes the new solution less scalable. As a result, enterprises will require purchasing additional computing capacity when needed. However, the new capacity will likely remain underutilised when there is no more resource demand.
Selective Transition Approach: Landscape Transformation
Landscape Transformation is an SAP S/4HANA data migration process that consolidates existing regional SAP systems into a single global SAP S/4HANA system. It can also be done by separating different entities such as company codes of an existing ERP system or consolidating their landscape into a single SAP S/4HANA system.
Selective Transition is one of the most cost-effective and quick approaches to S/4HANA migration. Instead of long migration projects that can take five to ten years, this rapid approach cuts 50 percent of the project implementation time. As a result, enterprises can access innovation faster and see early returns on their investment. Instead of reinventing everything, the selective approach focuses on essential items to get the most out of the S/4HANA transition.
The only drawbacks to this approach are the complexity of the data migration process and the need for specialised SAP tools and resources.
What is Included with RISE with SAP (RWS)?
There is a misconception that RWS is all about ERP functionality. While that is true to an extent, SAP wants you to think of RWS from the point-of-view of a service. The attraction is the ancillary services that take forward an elementary concept like ERP and redefine its horizons with business intelligence products, services, and support.
Let us now turn our attention to some of the important components that are included with RWS.
- You get the basic foundation that is the SAP S4/HANA Cloud ERP
- This is backed by the migration services and implementation processes
- Additionally, there is complete access to the SAP Business Starter Network
- Then there is SAP Ariba, which is a Procure-To-Pay Suite from SAP
- SAP’s mining capabilities allow you to get your hands on its business process suites
- SAP also throws in its own servers, but you can choose others like AWS or Azure
- You will be entitled to any SAP Release Upgrades and Upgrade Entitlements as part of RWS services and support
The major talking point is that while the above are distinct ancillary services that would have required their very own subscriptions and service support, RWS manages to bundle them together through a Single Contract!
This means that whether you are looking at digital transformation from a services standpoint, a support system, or even help with advanced infrastructure, you get all that in the form of a one-stop-shop strategy.
RISE with SAP (RWS) Architecture
In the last section, we mentioned how S4/HANA Cloud is at the very heart of RWS. The aim in terms of architecture has always been to provide a multi-level managed security level that mitigates the necessary risks for customers.
You have end-to-end Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for a complete full-stack experience to complement the overall security architecture and infrastructure.
Let us look at important pointers regarding the RWS architecture.
1. Single Tenant Managed Private Environment
The first thing you should note is that SAP creates individualised accounts for each customer. Whether you are coming from AWS, Azure, or even the GCP, all the applications are committed to working for only a single customer. Two critical areas- ‘Security By Design’ and ‘Security By Default’ form the bedrock of the multi-level security architecture.
2. Data Security and Encryption
SAP uses the 256 Bit Key Algorithm for encryption. To break it down, you will get the AES-256-CBC as the safe encryption for RWS. All the root keys for data, logs, backups, and applications are stored and protected in the SSFS or Secure Store File System. HTTP traffic that is coming in is protected by AES-256-GCM.
3. Application Security and Backup
Every data that is in transit is encrypted through SLAs. You will not get any access to backend systems as they are protected. Outbound communication is limited and controlled by the restricted access list at all times. There is additional multi-level authentication support on offer at all times. The cloud solutions are integrated through the SAP Cloud Connector.
4. Network Security and Access Points
Every network access is preceded by the formation of a Virtual Private Cloud or a Virtual Network. This is created every time a new account or subscription takes place. Network traffic is encrypted through VPN tunnels. An access manager approves all requests, and this has to go from a designated authority. Every single network action is logged and validated.
5. Operational Security and Control
Whether it is Patch Management or hardening and securing operational systems, applications, and databases, the RWS is protected by SAP’s Enterprise Cloud Services ECS. There are automatic alerts that are sounded in case the system finds any anomaly. The security team performs 24×7 audits on databases, networks, and applications to provide a secure system.
In addition to the above five elements, the architecture also boasts of high-security compliances and certifications like ISO 9001, ISO 22301, ISO 27017, ISO 27001, and ISO 27018. SOC Audits (Both Type 1 and 2) are performed, and reports are generated for the customers.
The Final Takeaway
RWS is not so much about formulating and existing new technologies (yes, there are definitely new and advanced solutions on offer). But, as Sven Denecken said, it is about understanding the customers’ needs and redesigning and implementing prevalent/existing and new technologies to suit their business processes.
You see a top performer and access their solutions or processes, and you take that as a benchmark. You then start with RWS and see whether, through certain permutations and combinations, you are able to reach close to where the industry benchmark is. At the end of the day, it is about unlocking the potential for businesses.
The partner ecosystem comes together as a single unified whole with RWS. SAP should be commended for investing in deep negotiations with partners and ensuring the scalability and volume of the entire exercise. Will RWS be as big a gamechanger for SAP as S4/HANA was? Given the recent demand and queries, SAP has another winner on its hand!