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Why did SAP wait to embrace the cloud?

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SAP is a name synonymous with ERP as one of the pioneers in the space and was a market leader for many years until the advent of cloud technology. SAP was a latecomer to the cloud and though it may have lost some market share to earlier adopters, its delay in embracing the cloud gave it an opportunity to audit the landscape and develop its own strategy.

SAP pursued two routes into the cloud space back in 2012. Firstly, it showed its intent by gaining any lost ground through several high-profile acquisitions of companies with cloud products, notably Concur, Success Factors, Hybris and Ariba. Once a foothold was established, SAP brokered partnerships for infrastructure services with the likes of IBM to sell its own cloud-based solutions. Secondly, it learned from others, developed its internal capabilities, and came up with its own propositions to not only retain a market leader status, but also be innovative and disruptive, building its own cloud platforms, most notably SAP HANA.

As a further extension of SAP HANA, it developed HEC, the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, which gives its customers the option of a private, fully managed cloud environment, run from secure data centres hosted by SAP. This not only affords the typical IaaS offerings but adds managed services by SAP HANA experts into the mix. Run on a subscription model, SAP HEC is a unique, bespoke option for HANA users. However, realising that every customer has different requirements, SAP’s cloud solutions don’t stop there, with the company evolving and simplifying its stance on cloud technology all the time to stay ahead of the curve, collaborating with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud to help organisations using SAP HANA move to the cloud through other means.

A business that was deemed relatively late in cloud technology, SAP continues to make bold moves in the space. Capitalising on the recent demand for cloud-based data warehouse software, it has recently launched its own Data Warehouse Cloud repository in beta, with a view to rolling out it out in 2020, as well as a new native version of SAP HANA built specifically for the cloud.