The Pros and Cons of RISE with SAP (RWS)

December 01, 2022

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As IT vendors acknowledge the complexity of customers’ digital transformation initiatives, many are engineering new products and solutions specifically designed to simplify and accelerate those projects. Enter SAP. In 2021, SAP launched RISE with SAP – or RWS for short. But like a lot of SAP offerings, it’s not easy to understand exactly what RWS is, its pros and cons, and who it’s best suited for.

We explore these areas in detail in this short bulletin: Is RISE with SAP a Fit for Your Business? Meanwhile, here are some highlights for those readers that want to learn more about RWS.

What is RWS? What is it not?

Let’s start with what it’s not – RWS is not a new product or set of solutions. It is essentially a marketing program. Through this program, customers gain access to SAP’s cloud services through a single contract, subscription and monthly payment. They can pick and choose certain cloud-based solutions that meet their specific requirements and are designated a single SAP contact to guide them on their transformation journey.

Click here to see which core components are included in RWS.

The Pros

In our bulletin, we share several benefits of RISE with SAP. Here are three to consider:

  • Simplified purchasing and management. There is beauty in having one subscription, contract, bill and point of contact. It makes it easier to purchase, deploy and manage SAP assets (which historically hasn’t been easy for SAP customers).
  • Flexibility in the cloud. While SAP would prefer to run everything on their cloud infrastructure, they realize this isn’t in sync with the reality of how most customers operate. With RWS, customers can choose their hyperscaler which allows them to run SAP workloads using other IaaS providers. Additionally, customers have the option to deploy via SAP’s Public or Private Cloud options.
  • Easy integration and fast deployment. SAP has intentionally made it easier for customers to connect and closely integrate with third-party applications. Additionally, many components of RWS are cloud optimized or cloud native making it easy to lift and shift business processes to the cloud.

The Cons

Is RWS a fit for every customer? No, particularly if you’re an existing SAP enterprise customer with a large SAP solution footprint. If you fall into that category, there can be significant drawbacks:

Can’t leverage on-premise infrastructure. Solutions procured under RWS can’t be run on a customer’s on-premise infrastructure. This is a disadvantage for customers unwilling or not yet ready to move to cloud infrastructure.

You are locked in. The core motive behind RWS is to move your IT ecosystem to SAP’s portfolio of cloud services, then lock you in via subscription. This isn’t a dig at SAP – virtually all major enterprise software vendors share this objective. The challenge with SAP is the business-critical nature of many of their offerings. Once you are locked in, it’s difficult to move off even when presented with credible competitive alternatives.

No net-new perpetual licenses. As companies journey to the cloud, most maintain a large number of perpetual licenses for their largest software deployments. SAP is no different. However, moving to RWS will eliminate the option to purchase additional perpetual licenses.

Is RISE with SAP a good idea for my business?

There is demand for the simplicity that RISE with SAP offers – especially given the acceleration of enterprise-scale digital transformation that’s happening across virtually every industry. But the drawbacks should not be overlooked. It is possible to achieve the simplification that RWS offers by other means. Our advice – weigh the pros and cons of RISE with SAP carefully.

While customers ultimately do have to get on board with SAP’s long-term cloud roadmap, they don’t have to move in lockstep with SAP. Choosing the pace that works for you and understanding when and where to leverage SAP’s newest offerings are important parts of the journey as is routine license and cost optimization across the SAP estate.

NPI helps large enterprises assess whether RISE with SAP is a good fit. Contact us to learn more.