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Hybrid Cloud & Planning: What Extending to the Cloud Looks Like

April 22, 2021

Blog
Author
Kirsten Barkved Kirsten Barkved
Kirsten is a Digital Content Strategist on the SAP Digital Strategy team.

To grow (and grow profitably) requires fast thinking and quick, confident decisions. And as the future of planning becomes more and more cloud-focused, businesses have a few options: they can get to know the Cloud and all its capabilities, or they can hold fast to their databases.

But there’s a third option: getting to the Cloud at your own pace through a hybrid approach.

This option helps businesses who know they need to innovate but aren’t able to fully transition yet. Said businesses are able to hold on to their on-premise deployments while leveraging the capabilities of the Cloud, such as AI, augmented analytics, and machine learning. And when you have the latest innovations on your side, you’re able to take your enterprise planning strategy to a whole new level.

 

What is Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid approach uses a combination of private and public cloud infrastructures and allows workloads to move between the two interconnected environments. This mobility between cloud environments gives businesses greater flexibility and agility in data deployment options, allowing businesses to innovate, scale, and protect their assets and their customers.

This type of approach allows companies to experience greater analytics capabilities, as well as keep up with changing technology, while still leveraging their existing data and reusing what they’ve already built.

As well, businesses that take a hybrid cloud approach are able to extend to the Cloud one step at a time. This enables minimal disruption and allows them to migrate at their own pace while still taking advantage of all the innovative capabilities of the Cloud.

Why Businesses Need Hybrid for Planning

It's clear that surviving in a fast, ever-changing environment requires businesses to have:

  • Ability to respond to change
  • Insight to create a strategic plan
  • One source of truth to base decision making from.

When businesses have these qualities, they’re able to not only keep pace with the market, but they’re also agile enough to outpace their competitors. These days, it's best practice to align operational planning with finance planning. To think fast and move first, businesses require a single source of truth to connect their enterprise. More often than not, that source of truth is powered by the Cloud.

But while no one denies the versatility that the Cloud offers, few understand the implications of moving. Factoring in the time, resources, capital, and years a business has put into its on-premise deployment, the benefits of the Cloud are often not enough to persuade an organization to move over. That puts businesses in a tricky position: how do they tap into the technology they need to thrive, not just survive, without abandoning their historical plan data, investments, and internal processes?

This is where hybrid cloud comes in.

Taking an integrated approach ensures businesses can enhance and build upon mission-critical on-premise use cases while leveraging universes, document structures, and assets in conjunction with the BI, planning, and predictive innovations provided by the Cloud.

 

Join our upcoming webinar series to see what happens when you take financial and operational planning across your business.

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hybrid cloud for planning

Challenges Finance Teams Face

Leveraging a hybrid cloud strategy for planning solves a lot of critical issues that finance professionals face in their day-to-day, such as:

  • Inability to discover true costs and key drivers of profitability
  • Inability to harvest insights from big data
  • Unable to augment financial analysis with AI to create a more accurate forecast

All of this impacts a businesses ability to respond to changes. It also leads to inconsistent modeling and planning across the organization.

This also effects the morale of teams, who are comprised of incredibly smart professionals that, more often than not, are stuck doing tedious tasks in Excel. That's time wasted validating and reworking data.

The Benefits of Hybrid Cloud for Planning

A hybrid cloud approach helps businesses who have investments in on-premise leverage intelligent technology. They get the advantage of a single, unified systems that provides them with a view of their business at all levels, without leaving behind their historical data. When everyone has access to information, there is faster time to action and empowerment. Users can manage budget, events and workflows, so you don’t have to worry about manually tracking down data – all of your organization’s information is in one place.

Hybrid cloud for planning also enables businesses to:

  • Reuse all their processes, workflows, and data, without compromising on innovative goals for the future
  • Access easy collaboration features, such as working collaboratively through features like chat
  • Bring financial and operational plans together
  • Leverage self-service analytics capabilities
  • Mitigate risk with secure, reliable data that is  always fresh data and version-controlled planning
  • Gain clear visions into plans, forecasts, revenue, and headcount with predictive technology

As deployments to the Cloud accelerates, so too are calls for enterprises to keep up with the rapid innovation it will bring. Hybrid cloud enables businesses to help keep apace with those already leveraging this technology.

How Does This Approach for Planning Work?

Most organizations deal with multiple vendor solutions across their IT landscape, from on-premise to the Cloud, including hyperscalers and SaaS providers. This diverse technology landscape makes it incredibly challenging for companies to truly integrated and monetize data assets.

Maintaining a hybrid cloud solution requires a consistent integration of services. It also requires rich connectivity between all applications–no matter where they reside.

If you’ve invested in your on premise systems over the years, you likely have a lot of plan data. Just the thought of moving all that data is enough to cause a mild panic. That’s why connectivity is central to any hybrid solution you choose. You want the solution to adapt to you, not make you jump through hoops just to leverage it.

An integrated approach allows you to bring together all your existing data from different lines of business, such as sales, HR, or customer experience.

hybrid cloud and data

For instance, at SAP, we offer two ways to connect to your data: live data connectivity and imported data connectivity.

With live data connectivity, a live connection is directly connected to SAP. As a result,  all your data is in one place so you can connect end-to-end data and business processes. In other words: you keep your data exactly where it is, in your systems. This is great for many reasons, but particularly for security–data remains inside your hardware. There is no replication in the Cloud. Real-time data is streamed directly to you, and everything stays behind your firewalls.

With imported data connectivity, you can create connections to remote systems to allow data acquisition by SAP Analytics Cloud. Here, data is imported into SAP Analytics Cloud. Any changes made to the data in the source system doesn’t affect the imported data. Users can prepare, wrangle, and model the data. And the data is refreshed on demand or via a schedule based on the user’s setting.

Is Hybrid Cloud Right for You?

As we enter a new decade, the best run businesses will tap into the power they need to advance ahead. Why? The real value of technology is what it does, not what it’s made of.

At the end of the day, any enterprise looking to take the next step must weigh the pros and cons. A hybrid cloud approach is a great option for those looking to leverage the best of both worlds.

To learn more about cloud-based enterprise planning solutions, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Enterprise Planning.