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Migration or innovation

SAP users are caught between the conflicting priorities of migration and innovation. Migration projects with lift-and-shift procedures often dominate at first, and innovation falls by the wayside. But there is a better way.
Peter Körner, Red Hat
July 17, 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Drive by Modernization and Innovation - could be the motto, i.e., a close dovetailing of migration and innovation without delaying the migration. The reconfirmed deadline of 2027 forces SAP users to migrate databases to SAP Hana and applications to SAP S/4, but the overriding goal is to transform the often siloed SAP landscape into an integrated enterprise IT as part of an innovation strategy.

Historically, many companies have pursued a step-by-step strategy: modernization is not tackled until migration is complete. If modernizations and optimizations were carried out at the same time as migrations, this often extended project times by years. However, what used to be true is no longer correct today. Innovation is not a project phase, but a permanent and accompanying initiative - open source principles live it for us. A "Lift and Shift Plus" is possible, i.e., a migration scenario that sees innovation as an integral part from the very beginning.

A modernization process usually took place in four phases: from the analysis to pre-projects and housekeeping, to the actual technical migration to the target architecture, and finally to the modernization and integration of innovative solutions. This process describes a rather SAP-focused "inside-out" view and delays the desired integration and "outside-in" added values until the end of the migration.

However, even in the SAP world, there is no way around new applications, techniques and architectures to drive digital transformation. These include hybrid multi-cloud platforms, cloud-native applications, AI and ML, data analytics, big data, and RPA. AI and ML in particular are currently gaining relevance, also among SAP users. A great many companies are developing and training models with SAP data, which they then run in production environments such as factory and edge scenarios. An ideal basis for this development and deployment process is known to be an open hybrid cloud platform.

But what is the basis for implementing concepts that link migration scenarios with modernization and innovation topics? It is open source technologies, cloud-native development models, certified Enterprise Kubernetes platforms and automation solutions, specifically Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. More and more SAP partners, tools and solutions are now using exactly this underpinning. 

Quick wins without disrupting the migration, SAP transparency on project progress or KPIs in near real time, and ballast reduction are just a few scenarios that can be implemented without long project lead times. In addition, Red Hat OpenShift then also serves simultaneously as a basis for modernizing and extending the existing Abap in-house developments.

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is increasingly establishing itself as a bridge builder for automation - in addition to technical migration, also with self-services for the higher-level innovation topics. In addition, there are topics such as compliance, security, and governance, which are traditionally associated with a high level of manual effort. Automation can eliminate this effort and can, for example, also enable faster implementation of the new supply chain due diligence law with the connection of various data sources.

It is clear that lift-and-shift processes have their justification, but it does not have to be just about technical migration; modernization can be addressed in parallel. So innovation can also be at the forefront. So what is there to wait for? The starting shot can already be fired today, the corresponding platforms for this are available - proven and certified!

Peter Körner, Red Hat

Peter Körner is Principal Business Development Manager Red Hat SAP Solutions at Red Hat

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.