As we discussed at the Biz.ONE Conference in October, the evolution of SAP Business One to the cloud has been an ongoing journey. As with many ERP solutions, there have been a number of stops along the way and the occasional change of product strategy and direction driven by the broader SAP platform strategy.
With a new year just around the corner and Biz.ONE receding in the rearview mirror (don't worry, it will be back in 2018), it's a good time to take stock of the choices that are available for you when considering SAP Business One in the Cloud.
Technology Drivers and the Impact on Choice
The advent of SAP HANA, SAP's progressive but accelerating adoption of cloud business models, such as subscription-based licensing and the deployment of SAP owned data centers, have all contributed to the development of the current SAP Business One Cloud offering.
Going forward, there will be two options available for you as a customer when it comes to the licensing and deployment choices when looking at SAP Business One Cloud.
Option One - The Partner Hosted Model
The first and most popular option to date has been the Partner Hosted option. In this scenario, you purchase the SAP Business One licences under a subscription model and then the solution is deployed onto a partner-managed platform. Deployement can be either on SQL Server or SAP HANA, depending on your choice and business requirements.
In this model, there is a cost for the licenses and also a cost for the hosting, which may or may not be bundled together.
Option Two - SAP Hosted and Managed
The second option, from SAP, has been called Cloud Deployment Services (or CDS); however, this model has been superseded by the newer SAP Cloud model where you purchase your licenses for SAP Business One from your partner and the per-user, per-month cost includes hosting and management offered by SAP in their own data centers.
By far and away, the biggest differentiators for customers considering which option to take appears to be the choice of database platforms, access models, and choice of solutions available in the "stack."
For example, on the SAP Hosted Cloud, you must have a minimum of three users, you must run HANA, and you can only deploy those complementary partner solutions that are built using the SAP HANA Service Layer. Additionally, deployment must be via Microsoft Remote Desktop Services and the RDP Client.
Accessing the additional components of the solution that require Microsoft Office 365 such as the Excel based analytics components are not supported.
Compare this to the partner-hosted options where you can choose SQL or HANA, start from as little as one user, utilise multiple complementary solutions, and deploy Microsoft Office 365 with full integration (if the hosting partner chooses to offer all or any of these).
The Choice is Yours
The good news is that there are choices; the bad news is that you need to make them. Having said this, there are compelling reasons for both models. When the time comes for your move to the cloud, be sure you fully consider which option makes the most business sense for your deployment.
Over time, it is likely that these options will evolve and change, so we'll keep a close eye on all approaches and update you as news becomes available.
In the mean time, we will continue our conversation around Cloud via ONE.Source throughout 2018. If you have any questions, let us know. Not only will be do our best to point you in the right direction, but your questions and challenges will help inspire more of these blog posts to share with our broader community.