Spur-of-the-moment hallway meetings among users willing to share their stories, crowded sessions with experts that leave plenty of time for discussion – that’s the scene this week at SAPinsider in Barcelona, where the main topic of conversation is migration to S/4HANA and the cloud.
The event – organised by independent media group SAPinsider and IDG Communications, with the sponsorship of Deloitte, SAP, Basis Technologies, Everis, Panaya, Serrala, Fujitsu and OpenText – comes at a critical moment for SAP users.
SAP has announced that as of 2025 it will stop supporting legacy versions of its ERP system, forcing an evolution to the new technology. Large SAP users with complex deployments are under pressure to start thinking about whether to choose to move to the new system.
More than 300 professionals are gathering for the event, filling up the seven rooms used for the conference, whose official topic is “Digital Core and Intelligent Platform Built on SAP S/4HANA.” Given SAP’s 2025 deadline, the event is an opportunity to gauge progress to the new platform.
From the event stage, Rizal Ahmed, chief research officer at SAPinsider, presented data that serve as an x-ray of the state of the art of the global SAP community.
"The adoption of and interest in S/4HANA is increasing," Ahmed said, while showing a graphic to the audience.
The number of companies that have not implemented plans to implement the new technology is dwindling, while there are more and more companies that are migrating or evaluating a move.
While this may be cause for celebration at SAP, like any other data, the figures may give rise to another reading: those companies that have not decided to make the move have many unanswered questions.
The HANA database, unlike earlier the data store in earlier version of SAP ERP systems, runs in-memory, enabling near real-time analytics, and can be run on-premises or in the cloud.
According to SAPinsider, more than 60 per cent of SAP user companies are considering uploading HANA to the cloud (40 per cent on premise, 13 per cent in public cloud, 17 per cent in hybrid and 30 per cent in private).
Be that as it may, each company should assess the most appropriate strategy based on their business needs and particularities. And what is happening in Barcelona these days seems to be a good opportunity to start doing that.
"Sometimes you have to change your perspective, be open to change it, talk to people you haven't talked to before," Ahmed said. "Use this event to do it," he encouraged.
The conference features keynotes and sessions in which use cases, recommendations and lessons learned around SAP S/4HANA are treated from different perspectives (compliance, finance, administration, infrastructure and platform and BI analytics).