Carla Arend
Carla Arend (Lead analyst European Cloud Research)
Archana Venkatraman (Senior Research Manager European Cloud Data Management)
Filippo Vanara (Research Analyst, European Multicloud)

SAP has spurred a discussion about a reset of the ERP systems landscape by declaring a 2025 deadline for its customers to move to S/4HANA. While the focus initially should be on the business value aspects and the overall migration strategy, there are some important infrastructure decisions that organisations need to take in the process.

SAP S/4HANA migration is not happening in isolation. It is taking place in the context of existing IT infrastructure transformation projects and cloud adoption plans. Customers need to choose the following sap s/4hana deployment options:

  • Continue to run SAP workloads on-premises. A third of European organisations plan to run their SAP workloads on-premises because they have optimised the infrastructure over time and can operate a very efficient environment. Integration with other workloads, performance requirements and regulatory compliance requirements are key reasons for running SAP workloads on-premises, according to IDC’s 2019 multicloud survey of 218 SAP users in Europe.
  • HEC — HANA Enterprise Cloud. This service can be hosted by SAP or by a partner as part of its HANA Enterprise Cloud offering.
  • Hyperscale cloud platform. Migrate SAP workloads to a hyperscale cloud platform. A third of organisations are already running SAP workloads on the public cloud or are planning to do so. From the public cloud, they get an efficient and agile IT infrastructure and access to innovative cloud services that they can layer on top of the SAP applications. But cost drivers need to be understood to make sure the business case stacks up over time.
  • Move to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, a SaaS solution. Moving to a SaaS solution is a big change in business model and adoption, as it is a user-based pricing model. Only a few companies have chosen this path so far, despite the fact that “SaaS first” is emerging as a popular cloud adoption strategy.

The coming 12–18 months will be critical as companies outline their blueprints for replatforming their SAP environments. The infrastructure and deployment strategy they choose today can make or break their S/4HANA migration. Choosing the right hyperscaler cloud platform is critical for success. Here are some key considerations:

  • Does the hyperscale cloud platform have a rich ecosystem to build out complementary services and a portfolio of related PaaS services that can be layered on top of SAP for innovation and differentiation?
  • Security, performance, latency. These are table stakes, but how does a hyperscale cloud platform meet your specific requirements?
  • Data migration blueprint. This journey will be critical, so plan and prepare for data migration. An easy data migration path is a top criteria for selecting the right cloud platform.
  • Technical capabilities. Our research sheds some light on which hyperscale platforms are top choices for SAP migration today and why. It also shows how cloud strategies differ by country, vertical and company size.

We are now launching a research stream that looks deeper into the impact that the proposed S/4HANA migration will have on customers, systems integrators, hyperscalers, channel partners and IT infrastructure vendors.

Prefer audio? Listen to the podcast, and explore past episodes of IDC’s podcast miniseries based on SAP S/4HANA migration:

At the video below, IDC’s Philip Carter introduces this new research stream looking at how customers are modernising their core IT systems to drive competitive advantage, triggered by SAP’s S/4HANA migration deadline of 2025.

We will share results from our latest European survey of 218 SAP customers and size the market opportunity based on our tracker products. Stay tuned.

If you want to learn more about this topic or have any questions, please contact Carla Arend, Archana Venkatraman or Filippo Vanara , or head over to and drop your details in the form on the top right.