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SAP Releases Business Suite, HANA as Cloud Services

Of all the major software companies, SAP is regarded as a laggard when it comes to transitioning its business from a traditional supplier of business applications to offering them as a service in the cloud. Lately, it has stepped up that effort.

SAP this week took the plunge, making its key software offerings available in the cloud as subscription-based services. Specifically, its HANA in-memory database is now available as a subscription service. Also available as a service is the SAP Business Suite, which includes the company's ERP, financial and industry-specific applications. The SAP Business Suite also runs on HANA, which provides business intelligence and real-time key performance indicators. The HANA-based SAP Business Warehouse is also now available as a service. The company announced its plans to offer the SAP Business Suite and HANA as a service last year.

The subscription-based apps follow last month's announcement that the company is allowing organizations to extend their existing SAP installations to the cloud as hybrid implementations. The company noted that some apps may have restrictions in those scenarios. Offering its flagship business apps as a service is a key move forward for the company.

"Today is a significant step forward for SAP's transformation, as we are not only emphasizing our commitment to the cloud with new subscription offerings for SAP HANA, we are also increasing the choice and simplicity to deploy SAP HANA," said Vishal Sikka, member of SAP's executive board overseeing products and innovation, in a statement.

While SAP has taken steps over the years to embrace the cloud, it has lagged behind its rivals. Making matters worse, it has faced a growing number of new competitors born in the cloud, including Salesforce.com and Workday, which don't have legacy software issues to address. Those rivals and their partners have tools that can connect to existing legacy systems. SAP's biggest rival, Oracle, has made the transition with some big-ticket acquisitions along the way. For its part, SAP has made a few acquisitions of its own, including those of SuccessFactors and Ariba.

SAP said it is expanding its datacenter footprint across four continents. It currently has 16 datacenters worldwide and said it is extending its footprint to comply with local regulations, to address data sovereignty requirements. The global expansion includes SAP's first two datacenters in the Asia-Pacific, adding facilities in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.

SAP said it has also extended its cloud migration service offering for existing customers. In addition to running its own cloud, SAP has partnerships with major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 04/10/2014 at 11:54 AM


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