Telkom Business Connexion (BCX) today launched its SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud (HEC) solution in partnership with SAP Africa.
Isaac Mophatlane, CEO of Telkom BCX, says the new offering complements the existing SAP services that the company has provided for the last 20 years.
Telkom BCX brings its Africa-wide data centre infrastructure and world-class connectivity to the deal, and becomes SAP’s seventh global premier SAP HEC partner.
Guy Armstrong, vice-president: HEC sales in EMEA, explains the SAP HEC helps to bridge the gap between on-premise computing and full cloud deployment.
Although most companies will eventually move some or all of their systems into the cloud, it’s a long journey and there is some trepidation about whether it’s the right solution, and how to accomplish it.
Numerous companies are looking for something that will help them take the first step in their journey to the cloud – a solution that provides them something between a full on-premise installation and a total Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud solution – and this is where SAP’s Hana HEC service comes in.
HEC allows companies to run their on-premise SAP systems in a SaaS-like manner.
Armstrong describes HEC as a solution that lets SAP manage a customer’s SAP environment for them, as a managed service either provided by SAP or one of its partners.
“With HEC, we have the expertise and the skills and we can allow companies to scale for agility and flexibility We can help to derisk the business; it’s about data security; and it’s about data sovereignty.
“It’s all about recuing cost, freeing up funds, reducing risk, being agile and flexible; to be innovative and remain competitive.”
HEC has been available in the global market since 2013. During this time, SAP increased its customer footprint 12-fold, with transactions increasing 20-fold. In fact, HEC quickly became the second-biggest cloud service in SAP, from a standing start, two years ago.
Globally, there are more than 450 HEC customers, with 1 300 Hana instances being run. This relates to a 133% growth year on year. There were 183 net new customers in 2015, and existing customers re-invested in the service as well.
In the EMEA region, HEC has seen triple-digit growth, scaled the provision of HEC to all 12 of SAP’s strategic industries, signed over 50 net new customers in 2015 – in fact, an EMEA customers was one of the largest HEC deals ever with SAP.
SAP aims to deliver a premium service, either itself or via trusted partners. “We have an ambition to double the size of our customers references this year,” Armstrong adds. “And we will aggressively scale our partner model.”
He says the advantages of local partners include connection latency, lower cost, data sovereignty and the ability to innovate quickly.
Cameron Beveridge, SAP Africa’s Head of Cloud, believes that perhaps the biggest challenge that HEC can help companies to overcome is the chronic skills shortage – this is a problem worldwide, but it’s worse in South Africa and Africa, particularly when it comes to technical skills.
In addition, rapid and often disruptive changes are happening in the market right now – and set to get worse in future – putting companies are under huge pressure to innovate, and to innovate quickly.
The SAP HEC services can help companies by providing the services they need.
It’s not just skills redevelopment that has to happen quickly. Beveridge says that organisations need to seize new opportunities as they come up, and that means rapidly accelerating their business into new areas as needed.
If a company needed to change direction or launch a new service, utilising the traditional IT model, this would mean project planning, hardware purchases, software deployment, adding security and more – all of which adds up to a long time to value. With HEC, it’s possible to ramp up those environments very quickly and scale up or down as needed.
It goes without saying the new, greenfields systems are always going to be the low-hanging fruit when it comes to deploying in the cloud – but there’s no reason why legacy systems can’t be part of the solution as well.
With the HEC service, SAP determines the migration path for each customer and takes full responsibility of migrating the IT workloads into the HEC environment. So HEC becomes a big part of the solution. This move to HEC helps to bring customers up-to-date in terms of system maturity; and it’s a lot easier to make the move into the cloud from there.
The bottom line, says Beveridge, is that cloud offers massive value, and HEC gives customers the opportunity to test the water starting with their existing systems. Customers can take a portion of their environment and see how it works; or they could go with a big bang approach.
They could move to HEC with a new system, with all or part of a legacy system of for a new deployment in a regional or branch office.
A big part of HEC’s value-add is the fact that it’s built on the HANA platform and Beveridge explains that SAP is redeveloping its full suite of products to take advantage of HANA’s in-memory technology.
Another advantage for customers is that they can switch their spending from capital expenditure (capex) to operational expenditure (opex) including their software licenses.