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SAP’s Business Transformation – Rising from 2020 to 2021

This is a blog on a couple of topics close to my heart – SAP, S/4HANA and Business Transformation.

As I came onboard to Mindset in August, one of the asks of Gavin Quinn, our CEO, was to streamline the products with SAP’s S/4HANA as the main area of focus. Looking into the strengths of Mindset, I realized that customers of SAP S/4HANA or those looking to move to SAP S/4HANA were struggling to address the questions: “what is my business value” and “what is the value for my users”? These were challenges Mindset aided several customers in solving over the years. Value, User Adoption and how is this a different experience.

So, we put in place a service and product solution strategy to look at the end to end lifecycle of a customer’s journey. Keeping a strong DNA of User experience and design thinking, we formalized our offerings to help customers explore the Strategy with business transformation, going to technology advisory finally ensuring implementation and management of the solutions. Additionally, we wanted to make sure we build our offerings based on our strong competency centers. They have already been helping our customers with their digital transformation journey.

Further, in the last few weeks, SAP launched the RISE program. The program is the latest in a series of SAP’s efforts to help customers in the transformation journey. This echoed the same approach that we have put together.

As we prepared for a panel discussion at ASUG’s SAP S/4HANA Virtual Experience (more details towards the end), the following were the thoughts that went through my mind in the wake of the recent announcements and our strategy at Mindset.


It all began with the Q3 quarterly announcement where the main announcement was adjusted revenue and margin targets for 2025. The markets reacted and SAP’s share price fell sharply. But the Q3 announcement was notable for something else too: SAP’s renewed focus on the cloud.  Speaking at the event, SAP CEO Christian Klein announced  “I don’t want to trade the success of our customers by forcing them to buy more on-premise software while they want to move to the cloud.” The weak forecast, according to SAP, was an indication of the transition of its customers to the cloud.

The outlook was brighter when the SAP’s Q4 2020 results, pre-announced earlier in January, were in line with the new expectations set in October, with signs of a customer push towards shifting licence revenues toward cloud subscriptions. SAP added 900 new SAP S/4 HANA customers in this quarter, which was a significant rise exceeding the run-rate of 500 predicted earlier in the year.

Leading to Rise with SAP

So it was with great interest that I watched the announcements coming out of SAP at the end of January. At the event, Christian Klein outlined how SAP intends to further foster this cloud transition. He called it the “Business Transformation as a service” offering.

As everyone knows by now, Named ‘RISE with SAP’ this new offering combines:

  • Business Transformation as a Service
  • Infrastructure as a Service (from SAP or a Hyperscaler)
  • Cloud Managed Services (from SAP), and
  • Application Managed Services (from SAP or a Systems Integrator)

into a single contract with “one responsible party for the Service Level Agreement, Operations and Support.”

The new offering, which targets a 20% reduction in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), also includes:

  • Solutions for redesigning business processes using Business Process Intelligence (with the recently acquired Signavio playing a key role here)
  • Tools and services offering automated migration to the cloud
  • Business services in the Business Technology Platform (BTP) to enable extensions and integrations (supported by 2200 APIs, and no/low-code tools)
  • SAP S/4 HANA Cloud, with embedded AI and RPA
  • Integration with business networks and supply chain solutions from SAP (covering suppliers, logistics, and asset intelligence)

So what does all this mean for the industry and SAP’s customers?

  • Customers can now look into the business value and mine existing process intelligence before deciding to transition to their latest enterprise software
  • With Rise with SAP, SAP has actually consolidated existing frameworks (SAP’s Value Lifecycle Manager,  SAP Business Scenario Recommendations, and others) and provided new ones (SAP Business Process Intelligence) to set a strong foundation that can help customers to understand the value.
  • To realize the value, there are still choices and decisions that need to be made as a part of their business and process strategy. Here is where customers should be careful not to fall into one type of thinking. They should look into what is best for their own organization and differentiate in their industry.
  • Typical customers have enterprise architecture with several different software as part of their digital strategy. They must ensure that evaluation for Rise with SAP still fits into the overall picture keeping in mind the complex landscape (Hyperscalers, best of breed solutions for either industry or lines of business).

Transformation Business Case in the context of Rise with SAP

For customers who wish to take advantage of this new simplified model to get going on their transformation to S/4, the typical place to start would be in the  business case for moving to S/4 HANA. A holistic business case will extend from business strategy to technology adoption.

Business and digital transformation drive business success. Since 2010, Mindset has helped hundreds of customers on thousands of projects to navigate and execute their transformation journey. We have used this experience to launch our business and technical advisory services. We use our strengths of Design Thinking and user experience to guide organizations and look at these transformations differently. This new perspective helps facilitate discussions between IT and the business to identify the goals leading to changes in processes. Also, in extensions to existing enterprise solutions. With our experience driven approach, we help usher in transformational changes in a seamless way.

RISE with SAP, with several integrated capabilities to run end to end processes, will help the customers take a holistic approach from business benefits to end user experience without being constrained by deployment or enterprise architecture discussions being mired in contract discussions. Customers can now focus on getting the best benefit from the technology advancements that will help them to transform their business.

Uwe Grigoleit, GM for S/4 HANA Solution Management at SAP, outlined in his blog the different types of partners who will play a role in ‘Rise with SAP’, from Hyperscalers, SIs, Resellers, to Software Partners. “Without our partners,” as Uwe says, “there is no RISE with SAP.

Once SAP has provided the frameworks and tools to understand where the customers are with their journey, partners will be able to provide the expertise to help interpret the information, create a roadmap and prioritize which elements of the journey fits the business strategy.

We are excited by the new Rise structure that enables us to offer the team of experts helping clients in a collaborative way to make their S/4 transformation. It provides the customers with opportunities to transform the organization for delivering value based on their business goals. Further, it enables customers to focus on developing industry differentiation through applications created for specific processes. This is to augment the standard processes., rather than a lengthy implementation of core processes weighing you down.

The message is clear; Let SAP focus on the core, customers and partners can focus their energy and efforts around building the differentiation. 

The recent announcements and acquisitions from SAP have shown its priorities in getting its customers move their enterprise solutions to the cloud. This is with SAP S/4 HANA at its core. We are excited to be a part of this journey, driving key elements of this transition. Further, let me know if you have questions on your S/4 Journey, we are excited to help.

On Tuesday March 23, 2021, 11:50 AM EST, at ASUG’s SAP S/4HANA Virtual Experience, we will discuss with customers of SAP as well as an SAP Leader about  “Vision, Strategy, & Business Case Considerations: SAP S/4HANA”. Our speakers are:

  • Dan Bourquin – VP of Global IT, Generac Power Systems – New Glarus, WI
  • Helen Frericks – Senior Director, IT Enterprise Business Systems, Entegris – Chaska, MN
  • Bert Schulze – VP of SAP S/4HANA Customer Success, Co-Innovation & Content, SAP SE – Walldorf
  • Paru Sankar – Managing Director APJ & VP Product Strategy, Mindset Consulting – Bengaluru
  • Adam Anderson – Head of SAP Consulting, Mindset Consulting – Fort Collins, CO

Here, we discuss how we can further adopt S/4HANA to deliver on the vision and strategy. Also, we discuss how best to enhance the business case upon establishing a foundation.

Complete details on this session can be found HERE .


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Parvathy Sankar is the Managing Director of Mindset India and the VP of Product Strategy at Mindset. She shapes Mindset’s overall product strategy globally to ensure that our clients get the best experience and value out of their technology transformation. Prior to Mindset, her experience includes 21+ years leading business transformation programs, enterprise software product strategy and innovations including at SAP.

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