There are those who would argue that SAP application software is too critical to run anywhere but on premise. But there are also those who would argue that SAP software is too critical to run anywhere else but the cloud. IBM is betting that there will soon be a lot more organizations thinking the latter than the former.
The IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+ service now spans five continents. According to Dennis Quan, vice president of SmartCloud infrastructure for Global Technology Services at IBM, the goal is to allow organizations of any size to manage SAP applications on a global basis. The simple fact of the matter is that SAP environments are not only complex to manage; IT organizations are never really done upgrading applications or adding new modules.
Quan says the IBM instance of an SAP cloud is based on the same processes that IBM uses to manage its own internal deployment of SAP applications.
IBM is hardly the only cloud service provider providing access to SAP applications; SAP itself makes its applications available as a cloud service.
What will be interesting to watch is the degree to which the most mission-critical of all enterprise applications migrates to the cloud. Of course, putting SAP applications in the cloud is not an all-or-nothing proposition either. Most organizations will probably opt to deploy certain modules in the cloud or take advantage of cloudbursting capabilities in the cloud to rightsize their own IT infrastructure investments.
In that context, it will quickly become less about whether SAP applications should run in the cloud versus to what degree.