Why More Large Enterprises are Choosing to Implement S/4HANA in the Public Cloud—and What It Means for the SAP Labor Market

Brian Trout, Executive Vice President, Sales, Baer
Brian Trout
Executive Vice President, Sales
26 April 2024

Until quite recently, most large enterprises that have made or are in the process of making the switch to SAP S/4HANA, have chosen the Cloud Private Edition. They have so many discrete processes and specialized needs that fit-to-standard and the public cloud haven’t even been on the table for consideration. But SAP has made clear that they see their SaaS model, whether that is GROW with SAP or S/4HANA Public Cloud Edition, as the way forward. And as they continue to invest in public cloud and offer incentives to companies that choose it, we’re seeing a dynamic trend of large enterprises adopting it, particularly to support mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

As this new public cloud market emerges, it is giving rise to a new area of specialization in the SAP labor market—consultants with hybrid experience in both the private and public cloud spaces.

The SAP Public Cloud and the M&A Advantage

Even if an enterprise’s primary SAP backbone is S/4HANA Cloud Private, as they take on new business units through M&A, the public cloud can serve as a strategic tool to create speed to market and a more straightforward way put infrastructure in place that did not previously exist. Using a public cloud approach, enterprises can more efficiently create conformity around processes so the new unit can integrate with and operate productively within the larger parent company.

But M&A goes both ways, and larger enterprises often strategically spin off business segments that are not core to their primary area of operation. Take, for example, Unilever’s recent announcement about plans to spin off Ben & Jerry’s and the rest of its ice cream brands as a stand-alone business. Having best-in-class, modernized architecture in place not only makes the business more attractive to investors, but it is also more digestible and therefore simplifies divestiture.

However, for enterprises that go this route, there is a downside. The SaaS delivery model is truly a fit-to-standard play with extremely limited flexibility, and although you can get up and running with relative speed, it is not without complexity.

Fortunately, those are both problems that the right SAP consultant can help you navigate.

An Emerging Need: SAP Consultants with Combined Cloud Private and Cloud Public Experience

As investment in S/4HANA ramps up in both the private and public sectors, a new market need is emerging for experts with hands-on experience and certifications in both the private and public cloud. For example, we recently worked with a client that was implementing S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition and reached out to us to fill a very specific role. In our discussions, we learned they had a broader need to better understand the distinctions between private vs. public and what their ability to make customizations would be in Cloud Public.

With this additional information, we were able to place a consultant who had participated in multiple private cloud implementations, was certified in Cloud Public, and had the narrow skillset the client initially requested. Their broad range of experience meant the consultant could take on a larger, more strategic role and help the client more adeptly navigate the complexities of the implementation. They were able to advise on the differences between the two editions, the limitations of Cloud Public, and provide strategic guidance around the overall approach to the design.

While the client primarily fit to standard, they had a discrete process that at first glance they believed could not be accommodated within the public cloud architecture. However, the consultant had experience with a workaround that leveraged unused fields for customized purposes that they were able to implement to meet the need.

Keeping Pace with SAP Advancements

Like all things technology, SAP is continuously innovating and advancing its RISE with SAP, GROW with SAP, and every flavor its of S/4HANA offering. Collaborating with an Enterprise Performance Partner who understands SAP technology and the labor market trends is key to finding the right expertise, at the right time, for the appropriate investment.

You might also be interested in reading: GROW with Sap: a Smart Solution for SMBs—and a Way to Sidestep Massive Labor Compression

About Baer

Unlike typical technology staffing companies, Baer is a true enterprise performance partner. We have a deep understanding of the scope of enterprise digital transformation and the highly specialized skillsets you will need at different stages of the process.

To learn more about how Baer can make a positive impact on your enterprise transformation, please reach out to Brian Trout, Executive Vice President, Sales, at btrout@baergroup.com, or John Wilson, Vice President of Strategic Accounts, at jwilson@baergroup.com.

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