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A massive cloud migration—in a flash

SAP transforms itself to help other companies transform

3-minute read

Call for change

A vision to support its customers’ business transformations

SAP, the global enterprise software developer, has a vision to enable companies to become a network of intelligent enterprises. An intelligent enterprise uses AI, automation, and analytics to optimize businesses in real-time—and ultimately helps companies with their business transformations.

SAP saw an enormous opportunity to support its vision and its customers’ transformations by transforming itself—in essence, doing what it encourages its customers to do. It redefined its business model to focus on delivering its end-to-end software suite from the cloud—rather than from on-premises facilities.

To drive this transformation, SAP needed to migrate nine large data centers and leverage its next level resilient, scalable cloud computing infrastructure and extended centralized platform, called SAP Business Technology Platform, in coordination with over 9,000 customers. To minimize service interruptions, the migration happened over 24-36 hour maintenance time slots.

When tech meets human ingenuity

A phased approach with extensive automation

When SAP approached Accenture for support on this ambitious migration, both companies knew that assembling large, collaborative teams with the right skills would be a prerequisite for success. Together, the companies trained and ramped up project staff to more than a thousand employees in just a few months.

SAP and Accenture also decided to split the migration into two phases. In Phase 1, the teams developed migration runbooks, which described over 1,000 steps and tasks along with the responsible people and time allotments. Tools were developed to automate the building of the migration infrastructure as well as the decommissioning of the data centers. They tested the methods on one of the data centers and resolved technical challenges.

In Phase 2, the teams applied the lessons learned and tools developed in Phase 1 to successfully migrate the other data centers on the first attempt. They also met SAP’s requirement to decommission each data center in 15 days.

A valuable difference

Toward a network of intelligent enterprises

The project migrated nine data centers with a multitude of teams and infrastructure platforms to just three major cloud platforms, significantly reducing complexity and enabling much more efficient operations. Post-migration, SAP SuccessFactors can scale its computing resources much more quickly, enabling a larger base of customers. The cloud infrastructure enhances the security, reliability, and performance of SAP SuccessFactors applications. The cloud also lays the foundation for SAP SuccessFactors to make user experience improvements not possible previously.

Now, SAP is much better positioned to achieve its vision of a network of intelligent enterprises to power business transformations around the world. It is providing its customers with better technology to transform their human resources so they take better care of their employees and improve employee well-being. This equips companies to adapt continuously to opportunities and disruptions and transform their entire businesses.