While SAP customers are preparing to upgrade to the latest version, the reasons for government officials who have moved ERP to the cloud are clear. With the right cloud technology, Government agencies will be able to benefit from the innovations offered by a solid platform for years to come.
Government organizations often take a conservative approach when deciding what workloads to run in public clouds. General-purpose applications, such as email systems, are most likely to go offsite, while mission-critical platforms, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, generally stay in on-premises data centers. IT managers often feel more comfortable maintaining control over ERP modules for financial management, accounting, procurement and other services that are essential to government operations.
Attitudes on this approach are changing, however. Not only have IT managers become more confident regarding the reliability and security of public clouds, many believe leading cloud providers provide higher levels of monitoring, security, management and uptime than what’s possible when managing systems in house. This helps explain why many organizations in government and commercial industry are now moving mission-critical applications, including ERP systems, to public clouds. In fact, 83 percent of government IT decision-makers in the Center for Digital Government’s 2018 Digital States Survey said they plan to move systems and applications to the public cloud.
Government agencies that use SAP for their ERP applications now have a unique opportunity to future-proof their environments – all while moving to an innovative cloud platform.
LEADERS IN ERP AND CLOUD FORGE CLOSE TIES
SAP and Google recently created HANA Cloud for the Google Cloud Platform. This alliance provides a specialized environment to tap into the latest features offered in S/4HANA, along with Google Cloud’s ability to enhance IT agility and innovation. Following are four reasons to use SAP S/4HANA and Google Cloud to create a modern foundation for government ERP services.
1. ENHANCED SCALABILITY AND RELIABILITY
Google Cloud runs a virtualized architecture engineered to support SAP workloads. This enables government IT managers to quickly add compute, storage and network resources for new initiatives or respond to anticipated spikes in demand. Being able to provision virtual machines with 12 terabytes of memory, on demand, gives organizations tremendous flexibility to grow and scale when required. Google Cloud’s compute environment is also designed for high availability (HA) with live migration, an uptime rating of 99.99 percent, and availability zones and storage services to support HA deployments.
2. BETTER MANAGEMENT OF SECURITY, RISK AND COMPLIANCE TO KEEP PACE WITH EVOLVING REQUIREMENTS
Google Cloud automatically encrypts data when it’s at rest, which ensures sensitive government information is always protected. Other cloud services require agencies to manually encrypt data or turn on this feature, which creates risk of human error. In addition, the Google Cloud environment integrates SAP’s Data Custodian, a governance, risk and compliance system developed in partnership with Google. It provides visibility and managed support for an enterprise’s data in the public cloud. As a result, government security officials can see everyone who accesses ERP applications and data so administrators can intervene if there are any attempts by unauthorized personnel to access protected resources. HANA Cloud is also certified for a wide range of important government regulations, including FedRAMP, FIPS 140-2, ISO 27001, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, SOC 2 and SOC 3, and others.
3. INNOVATION FOR MORE EFFECTIVE CONSTITUENT SERVICES
The HANA Cloud environment supports advanced data and analytics capabilities that can help government agencies gather insights to improve citizen services and streamline operations. The underlying Google Cloud Platform aggregates data from both SAP and non-SAP systems. SAP’s in-memory databases connect with analytical engines and utilize dashboards to help speed decision-making. In addition, SAP HANA’s integration with Google Cloud’s native data warehouse, BigQuery, lets agencies work with petabyte-sized data volumes. Agencies can integrate these rich datastores of information with sophisticated analytics tools, including Google Cloud’s Artificial Intelligence services, stream analytics and messaging services. This combination will enable accurate, in-depth analyses that can improve operational command and control to increase efficiency in internal processes and deliver better outcomes.
4. PROPRIETARY MIGRATION TOOLS TO EASE THE MOVE TO THE CLOUD
The size and multiple layers of ERP systems create technical challenges when organizations prepare migrations from on-premises ERP applications to public clouds. Google Cloud’s Velostrata software speeds cloud migrations with streaming technology that mitigates complexity and reduces labor costs. The software offers other important features like advanced wide-area-network optimizations, pre-migration in-cloud validation testing and right-sizing of cloud resources. It also enables the ability to roll back to the on-premises ERP version as a safety net if unexpected problems arise.