IBM Think 2022: Hybrid cloud, AI and the power of RISE with SAP

Explore how technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing or quantum computing are driving companies to be innovative and stay competitive in an increasingly uncertain environment. This has been the goal of “IBMThink”, the event that the American multinational held in Madrid on June 16.

An event in which the company met with customers and partners and in which Horace Morellpresident of IBM Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel, presented the company’s vision at a time when business leaders need to make important decisions in a short time.

In the different presentations, for example, how the AI and automation at scale, offer organizations a central point to access vast amounts of data in clouds and data centers, to address the most pressing vulnerabilities they face. Or how an approach open and secure hybrid cloud, preserve investments and take advantage of emerging technologies that can, in turn, deliver a frictionless experience to increasingly connected consumers.

During the day we had the opportunity to listen to a motivator Pau Gasol explaining how to lead, direct and make the best decisions at decisive moments (by daring to do so) and showing the tools they can work with to manage uncertainty.

Or the visionary Darius Gil (Director of IBM Research) show the latest advances of the company in areas such as quantum computing: that is, the future presentation of three new scalable architectures, designed to enable a new class of modular and networked quantum processors with the goal of achieving IBM’s goal for 2025, a processor of more than 4,000 qubits.

IBM and “Rise with SAP”

In the parallel sessions it was especially interesting «To RISE or not to RISE» in which experts from IBM and SAP analyzed the advantages for all types of companies of betting on “RISE with SAP”, a program that involves accessing SAP/4HANA in the public cloud and in which IBM is one of the partners most prominent worldwide of the German multinational.

driven by Beatriz RemonSAP Strategic Partnership Leader at IBM Consulting, Saul Buisan (IBM Consulting) and john navyHead of RISE with SAP in Spain, showed how this program, presented just over a year ago, is positioned as a unique offer that makes it easier for companies to transform their business, since it goes beyond a migration to the cloud, but rather it is a continuous transformation in which the redesign of business processes, the technical migration of what is the most critical asset of the company (the ERP) or access to AI capabilities that facilitate the development of a really smart company.

As an example of the above, Harald Patzer (CIO for Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel of IBM) showed in a discussion moderated by our colleague Gustavo de Porcellinis, how IBM itself has embarked on this same path hand in hand with SAP. In this sense, Patzer explained how the multinational has been working for years on the consolidation of legacy systems, and that after starting with more than 1,000 applications, they have managed to reduce it to less than 500. «We continually add more scope to our strategic SAP platform and take take advantage of improvements such as FIORI and intelligent workflows to improve the management of IBM’s backoffice but also offer new products such as Cloud Pay Go to our clients”, he said.

He also indicated that the company plans to consolidate our 25 SAP systems into a single system based on S/4HANA, hosted in the IBM cloud, on Power servers with RHEL. “We are going to integrate it into our ERP ecosystem, taking advantage of a hybrid cloud implementation with an S4/HANA core in the cloud and other systems in a private cloud environment.” The manager considers that this movement, which will allow the elimination of practically 50% of the applications with which they currently work, will also have a profound economic impact: “we expect a 25% reduction in TCO in the next 5 to 10 years, taking advantage of the advantages of cloud management and the RHEL platform with Power servers» he assured.

Finally and to learn more about what “Rise with SAP” means for companies and what role IBM plays in this field, we had the opportunity to chat with the company itself Beatriz Remon and with Michael Armengol, Head of Strategic Partners Alliances for SAP Spain. This is what we have been told.

[MCPRO] IBM is one of the largest companies in the world betting on RISE with SAP and S/4HANA Cloud. What does this collaboration agreement mean for both companies?

[Miquel Armengol] It is a new challenge for an alliance that has taken on certain levels of commitment, joint business and exploration of other areas, beyond what we call the digital core, which would be the ERP. We work together on issues of advanced logistics, human resources, and other categories of products and solutions that show that IBM is a very important player for us.

The alliance is even more relevant when we measure in Spain the number of certified consultants that IBM has with SAP. We are talking about more than 300 consultants. In addition to the fact that IBM itself takes advantage of “Rise With SAP” to transform its company, I think it is the best commitment we can have. Having a technology partner like IBM test our solutions helps drive the market and, above all, gives us a lot of credibility.

[Beatriz Remón] IBM Consulting is an organization dedicated to consulting and we have specialized professional services in areas of high capacity from the point of view of industry, business and technology. Today we have more than 140,000 professionals working in this field, of which 40,000 are aimed at working with SAP.

This means that a third of our professionals are providing services to our clients in the field of SAP and not only in ERP, but in other areas where we also have service lines very specific to reach our customers with the best technology.

From Consulting we are agnostic, so we use the best technology on the market to bring it to our clients, and in this case it is proven that SAP is a market leader.

[MCPRO] In this project, AI plays a leading role in helping companies like IBM make better business decisions. How does he do it?

[Beatriz Remón] IBM’s strategy goes through the movements to a hybrid cloud, accompanied in the framework of Artificial Intelligence. We have done a very recent study where different CEOs worldwide have been surveyed, which gives very specific data on how companies take advantage of these automatisms and data management, to make better decisions in uncertain environments.

The result is that due to the pandemic, 43% of CEOs acknowledge that they have accelerated all their strategies to launch artificial intelligence systems that promote having structured data, so that specific questions can be asked when make a concrete decision at a critical moment. This percentage reaches 45% in Spain.

Another interesting fact is that professionals who are dedicated to the world of technology trust much more technology providers that are investing in artificial intelligence today. Our CEO always explains that the hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence are the two strategic pillars of IBM to keep up with the pace of business growth.

[MCPRO] For what type of companies is it interesting to bet on a business model such as RISE with SAP? How do you overcome those resistances that still remain to bring a load as vital as the ERP to the cloud?

[Beatriz Remón] The journey to the cloud is on the agenda of all CEOs, in all companies. It is something that is on the table and it is something that they will have to deal with sooner or later. That’s a fact. The ERP, which is also the most critical load that companies have in this movement towards the cloud, will allow them to optimize, expand, scale and be more efficient when implementing new new loads around that ERP.

And the truth is that in the world there are still many loads to upload to the cloud. Only 25% of loads are today in the cloud. Imagine this journey, how intense it is and the amount of market opportunity that is given to companies like SAP and IBM.

[Miquel Armengol] Companies that are very anchored in the past are being forced to change because the environment has changed. There has been a pandemic, there are geopolitical tensions, there are environmental crises, legal requirements…etc.

As a consequence of all this, companies have to reinvent themselves. Moving to a transformation in the cloud and thus carrying out a business transformation allows companies to adapt to the new environment and, on the other hand, allows them to enable new business models, generate income in other lines that they practically did not have and finally, allows them to enable or facilitate clients to develop a sustainability strategy.

[MCPRO] How is the “RISE with SAP” market embracing? And what is this implying for IBM?

[Beatriz Remón] We can say that right now our main focus is on dealing with customers and being able to do assessments that allow them to see what an evolution is like that can lead to a reduction of between 20% and 25% of the TCO in the following 5 and 10 years.

It is a very important amount for companies to take this evolution very seriously and to be able to invest in what businesses really need. Without being able to address specific customer data, I would tell you that it is our main objective right now to get closer to them.

[Miquel Armengol] I believe that last year we experienced an absolutely spectacular year in terms of growth of the cloud business. The transition has been exponential, with a 61% growth in this business.

If we focus on «RISE with SAP» we are talking about the fact that 70 new contracts were signed in Spain alone. It is a number that was out of all anticipation, a surprise, considering that we launched the program last year. In addition, 112 contracts were signed with companies that until then did not have anything from SAP. With which, I would say that we have experienced an explosion of digital transformation projects.

What I mean by this is that high expectations have been generated and we see here a very interesting market both for SAP and for partners and for IBM. The forecast we have more or less for this year is to grow in this solution between 23% and 26%.

[Beatriz Remón] At the moment, 40,000 users are defined who have on their way to migrate to S4/HANA between now and 2027, that is, we have a few years ahead of us with a very ambitious horizon. It is also that many of them are proposing that this migration is already done in the cloud.

[MCPRO] In the case of companies convinced of being able to enjoy RISE with SAP in the public cloud, what are the advantages of betting on IBM as a partner?

[Beatriz Remón] In February of this year, we just signed an alliance with SAP, which certifies that IBM is the only provider that is capable of offering a migration to the cloud accompanied by infrastructure services, managed services and offering business knowledge to clients.

All this in a field of action of hybrid cloud and IBM Power technology that has been leading the technology sector for more than 12 years from the point of view of reliability, security and robustness; also having the environment offered by RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), as an intermediate layer that addresses any type of structure in the cloud.

[Miquel Armengol] IBM is a specialist partner in making major transformations with a focus on large accounts, in companies with complex system maps, with important requirements. It is the type of client where IBM feels comfortable, where we collaborate more.

The business plans that we make together are oriented to this type of account, in which the different business managers and the line businesses. This from a collaborative vision. From a view of offeringWhat IBM offers is an end-to-end vision: from consultancy and advice, to implementation, to infrastructure as a service, offering managed services… all in a “single window” mode and in its own infrastructure.

Below we share with you a gallery of images with the best of the event.

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