The 6 Dominant Challenges that Make SAP Migration and Adoption Difficult

SAP is one of the world’s leading names in end-to-end enterprise solutions. But that doesn’t imply a complete lack of challenges for this tech behemoth. Nowadays, SAP customers all over the world are comfortable with desktop- bound SAP enterprise solutions and there is considerable resistance when it comes to migrating to cloud alternatives. SAP has only recently intensified its efforts to evangelize cloud-based operations and its loyal users are grappling from a lack of know-how and awareness about the benefits of cloud-hosted software solutions.

Here are the 6 dominant challenges that make SAP migration and adoption difficult for users. You can find solutions and more tips on how to ensure SAP adoption success by downloading the white paper: “The Most Important Practices to Ensure SAP Cloud Adoption Success.” (Just sign up in the form below)

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1. No Clear Cloud Strategy

As SAP experts already know, the business solutions giant has taken its own sweet time in turning its eyes to the cloud market. As a result there have been several product recalls, delays and specification changes for its cloud offerings. Even more so in the case of ByDesign.

This has left customers looking to migrate to the cloud in a quandary. SAP is a high price option and it has a large number of functionalities and modules. It is traditionally chosen by well-established enterprises or those on their way up.

Because of its superior performance and its reputation as the industry leader in enterprise solutions, users tend to be companies that have stuck with SAP for possibly decades and because of its late entry into the software as a service of cloud hosting domain are completely at a loss about the advantages and benefits of the model.

An additional problem is that users tend to be confused about the kind of cloud-based system they should run. A SAP ERP requires a database and lots of processing power. It is not as simple as purchasing a bunch of user licenses and getting started right away. A business must have a cloud solution that is a perfect fit for its present needs with an eye to the future.

A good example of lack of clear direction is embodied by the integration of SuccessFactors with the core on premise HCM platform. The ‘Talent Hybrid Cloud’ as it is referred to leaves businesses in a quandary regarding when to actually use SuccessFactors (and when to stick with traditional SAP), where to store the data and how to create a set of standardized operations around an in cloud-on premise software model.

2. SAP company administrators and Customers Success Managers (CSMs)  often have a lack of clarity

They need to first educate users and then figure out the mix of add-ons and components which can deliver operational success after the move to the cloud without costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This challenge looms as the first road-block to cloud adoption making the process seem unnecessary and cumbersome.

3. Employees Resist Change Because Product Value is not Effectively Communicated

SAP HANA is being touted as the ‘Porsche’ of RDBs and one of the first truly large scale Platform as a Service offerings by an established business solutions provider.

However, despite the large processing power, the ability to scale applications and an open marketplace that can allow enterprises to freely choose from hundreds of unique apps, companies are still wary of investing in HANA.

The lack of familiarity with the PaaS concept and the large upfront cost of the offering are standing as detriments in the path of unequivocal adoption. HANA warrants discussion because even though it isn’t an ERP solution in itself, it is definitely a complement that can allow the core modules of an ERP access more real time trends, insights and handle vast volumes of data.

Both SAP CSMs and administrators must acquaint themselves with this new platform and show users conclusive proof that HANA can indeed boost productivity and performance. The same issue exists with Ariba. According to the Ariba Change Management Plan, employees do not see any point in transitioning to the e-invoice ecosystem considering it an unnecessary complication.


4. Dearth of Certified Trainers and Consultants

There are very few SAP certified trainers and consultants available. This means procuring training for users to optimally leverage the cloud ecosystem is a costly proposition. This may sometimes compound the wariness of users looking to migrate to the cloud.

5. Poor Retention Due to Employee

Even though employee resistance may be an issue with the deployment of any SaaS platform, it is pronounced in case of SAP because of the extensive functionality of its business solutions. A typical SAP deployment offers everything from ERP to reporting to product lifecycle management and other industry specific features.

Thus migration to the cloud means employees must completely shift to a new interface that they must use in almost all of their daily office activities. Such a broad spectrum change is overwhelming. And even if training is provided, retention becomes poor.

SAP administrators must co-ordinate with trainers, change managers and even vendor CSMs to figure out a phase wise roll-out to test usability and expose employees to the SAP cloud ecosystem gradually.

6. Getting Management Onboard

Since mandates, clauses and provisions keep changing, agreements tend to be vague and user unfriendly.

For CIOs looking to pitch a cloud-based SAP application to the higher management this is a major drawback and can result in the decision to stick with a legacy platform. CSMs must convey this to SAP clients and enterprise SAP administrators must prepare the management to embrace the imminent change.


This article is part of a White Paper called “The Most Important Practices to Ensure SAP Cloud Adoption Success.” Fill the form below to claim your FREE copy!


The White Paper covers a range of topics including:

Chapter 1: SAP in the Cloud

Chapter 2: The 7 Dominant Challenges that Make SAP Migration and Adoption Difficult.

Chapter 3: 10 Most Important Practices to Ensure SAP Cloud Migration and Adoption Success.

Chapter 4: 5 Industry Proven Tools to Make SAP Adoption Smooth as Silk




Marissa Hart is the Lead Author & Editor ShareMe. ShareMe is a blog focused on SharePoint Online. SharePoint Online delivers the powerful features of SharePoint without the associated overhead of managing the infrastructure.