All RISE? Reflections on SAP’s approach to S/4HANA Transformation

Author Andy Steer : NTT DATA Business Solutions

All RISE? Reflections on SAP’s approach to S/4HANA Transformation


In this blogpost Andy Steer from itelligence takes a closer look at the “RISE with SAP” initiative.

If you spend any of your time working with or reading about SAP then I expect you will by now have heard about “RISE with SAP” the initiative that was launched by SAP CEO Christian Klein at the end of January. No doubt your inbox and social feeds have also been flooded with related messages from the ever-growing number of companies that operate within the SAP eco-system.

You will not however have seen any headline grabbing click bait from NTT DATA Business Solutions. No knee jerk “hot take” reactions here. An initiative as important as “RISE with SAP” deserves a considered response. We have taken our time, attending the various enablement sessions organised by SAP, being briefed within the Partner Advisory Council, and ensuring that we understand the detail before commenting.

Over the last 5 years, NTT DATA Business Solutions has built up considerable experience by partnering with customers on their S/4 HANA transformation journeys. It was important that we considered how the various elements of the “RISE with SAP” offering could complement or in some cases replace our existing offering.

This post is the first in a series of activities that are designed to help existing SAP customers of all shapes and sizes better understand “RISE with SAP” and how itelligence will leverage it to accelerate and lower the risk of their business transformation.

What is RISE with SAP?

Let us start with the basics. RISE with SAP is a commercial bundle, a single subscription contract that provides access to a collection of tools, services and software that SAP have assembled to assist you with your Business Transformation efforts.

At the core of RISE with SAP is the S/4HANA Cloud subscription which provides access to the latest version of SAP’s successor to ECC. This lays the foundation for you to move your existing ECC system to the latest version of S/4HANA managed in the cloud.

To achieve this, you trade perpetual software licences and maintenance for a subscription, and on-premise or hosted hardware for Hyperscaler provided infrastructure, all in a single contract.

In a nutshell RISE allows you to take your ECC system to an S/4HANA private cloud subscription model.

But that’s not all. The following image is taken from the RISE with SAP website.

Rise with SAP


You can see the imagery being employed; whether you are starting from an existing ERP solution that has minimal customisation (lean), or one that is highly bespoke (complex), “RISE with SAP” is positioned as your pathway to becoming an Intelligent Enterprise.

What is Included in a "RISE with SAP" Contract?

As can be seen in the image, there are 3 stages in the RISE journey:

Business Process Redesign – For the majority of SAP customers the secret to a successful Business Transformation will lie in the business processes that are realised within and integrated with their existing ERP environment.

Understanding these processes in more detail and being able to identify opportunities for improvement is crucial to build a value-based case for change. SAP already has tools to assist with this such as ’Process Discovery for S/4HANA Transformation’ (an evolution of the Business Scenario Recommendations (BSR) Report which has proven particularly useful to date. This allows analysis of process performance and efficiency and identifies areas for potential improvement and automation as well as tool-based support for standardisation opportunities. This activity is so crucial that SAP are expanding their offering to include what they call “Business Process Intelligence” in order to better provide tailored recommendations on how to move forward.

The recently completed Signavio acquisition is a key building block here and it will be interesting to see how this is made available to customers.

Technical Migration – if we have learnt anything in the 6+ years since the release of S/4HANA in February 2015, it is that for existing SAP ERP customers, the process of planning and executing a technical migration can seem complex. SAP provide a comprehensive series of tools to customers and partners to assist in the process of analysing existing SAP systems and planning and executing a seamless technical migration to S/4HANA. This is a well-trodden path and has been proven many times over.

Build your Intelligent Enterprise – so what about the software and the infrastructure it sits on? A “RISE with SAP” subscription includes not only SAP S/4HANA cloud but also the customer's choice of hyperscale (Azure, AWS, GCP) infrastructure to run it on. This choice also extends to SAP’s own datacentres if you so wish. Included in the contract are a range of Technical Management Services that SAP will deliver against an agreed SLA. Beyond this a “RISE with SAP” contract also gives you a jump-start into SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise vision by including access to the SAP Business Technology Platform and the SAP Business Network.

The newly anointed SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) addresses requirements for; database and data management, analytics, application development and integration, and intelligent technologies such as RPA. A “RISE with SAP” contract includes an initial set of credits for the SAP BTP, removing any excuse for not utilising its capabilities.

The SAP Business Network includes SAP’s offerings for what they call the “future of supply chains”, where unified, collaborative, and intelligent networks remove barriers and centralise data. The “RISE with SAP” contract includes a starter package for the SAP Business Network including collaboration capabilities for Suppliers with Ariba, Carriers with the Logistics Network and Partners and Customers with the Asset Intelligence Network.

Where Does NTT DATA Business Solutions Fit In?

As you can now appreciate a customer that decides to take a “RISE with SAP” subscription gains access to a comprehensive bundle of software, tools and services that will help them as they transition to a cloud based S/4HANA future. However, the devil as they say is in the detail. So, what else do you need? What is not included in a subscription to “RISE with SAP"?

The following diagram is taken from the “RISE with SAP” launch materials.


alt rise 2


The bottom segment (shaded in blue) indicates the items that are included in the single “RISE with SAP” contract (Software & Support, Infrastructure & Management, and Technical Managed Services).

If you have decided that the pivot to a single subscription for software, infrastructure and technical managed services is for you, (and there is no guarantee that you will) there may still be some key pieces of your ongoing transformation jigsaw missing. Advisory and Implementation Services along with Application Management Services are not included.

NTT DATA Business Solutions offer a wealth of experience of guiding customers on their transformation journey, enabling customer S/4HANA transformation and providing ongoing day to day support and continuous innovation. We have built our considerable experience (including over 390 S/4HANA projects globally and more than 150 S/4HANA go-lives) into a structured set of advisory services, implementation services, NTT DATA Business Solutions IP and Application Managed Services.

Advisory Services

Why Move? Why now? How? Where? When? All key questions that you need to answer. As an existing SAP customer it is essential that you can accurately plan your journey to S/4HANA and the intelligent enterprise, and the tools provided by SAP play an important part in that process. At NTT DATA Business Solutions we have deep experience of working with all these tools and already leverage them in our S/4HANA assessment services which have been developed to help customers take control of their transformation journey and deliver their Living Roadmap to the Intelligent Enterprise.


assessment alt 2


We are pleased to announce that the NTT DATA Business Solutions Assessment Services for S/4HANA have been updated to include “RISE with S/4HANA” as a potential realisation pathway.

The NTT DATA Business Solutions Assessment Services process is the perfect way to bring structure and formality to plans for S/4HANA and can help you understand whether “RISE with SAP” is the right choice for your Business Transformation Journey.

Implementation Services

As a Global Platinum SAP Partner we are of course able to provide a full range of implementation services to compliment whatever S/4HANA pathway a customer is on. Perhaps the most critical of these being focused on the S/4HANA MOVE itself. If a system conversion is required then the NTT DATA Business Solutions SAP Partner Qualified Packaged Solution for S/4HANA Conversions delivers for a fixed price. Alternatively our partnership with Natuvion is a key enabler for more complex selective data transformations to S/4HANA.

Application Management Services

Whether you have the classic SAP Business Suite or already use SAP S/4HANA, rigorous maintenance, fast support responses, and fast roll out for innovations are and will remain vital.

With NTT DATA Business Solutions application management services we can take care of everything: SLA and ITIL based support assists your users and manages your SAP applications and processes.


At NTT DATA Business Solutions we are proud to be a “RISE with SAP” launch partner and firmly believe that the combination of software, services, tools, and infrastructure under a single subscription contract will appeal to many existing SAP ECC customers who see S/4HANA adoption as key to their business transformation.

We welcome the investment that SAP is making in tools and services to help customers understand the value that can be gained from combining business process transformation with a move to S/4HANA. Our NTT DATA Business Solutions Assessment Services has adopted these capabilities and enhanced them with our experience and industry IP.

Also a note on the hyperscaler component of “RISE with SAP.” It is sensible for SAP to offer RISE customers a choice of infrastructure provider and the options available (Azure, AWS, or GCP) in a single contract will make perfect sense to many customers. However, we do expect some customers to leverage existing cloud infrastructure provider contracts, something which cannot be done under “RISE with SAP.”

Hopefully this has been a useful read and has helped you to build a better understanding of “RISE with SAP.” As previously mentioned NTT DATA Business Solutions will be running a series of S/4HANA MOVE activities throughout this year so stay tuned to all the usual channels.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss how you can transform your organisations business processes while adopting S/4HANA.


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andy size
Andy Steer
More about the author

As the principal architect and evangelist of the itelligence UK technology strategy, Andy spends most of his time with 3 communities; organisations looking to get beyond the hype of Digital Transformation, my itelligence colleagues and of course our Partners, principally SAP.

Specialties: SAP Innovation Roadmap including S/4 and all things HANA, Analytics, Cloud and Digital Transformation.

Do you have any questions in relation to this blog. Please feel free to contact Andy.

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