To RISE or not to RISE? The best way to SAP S/4HANA

Jan 22, 2023
  • IT
  • SAP

As we’re inching closer to SAP’s 2027 deadline, many companies are considering their options for moving to SAP S/4HANA. The launch of RISE with SAP in 2021 added yet another variable: a subscription bundle that expertly combines performance with ease-of-use and simplicity. But what’s the best course of action for your organization? Here’s our comparison of the RISE with SAP versus SAP S/4HANA ‘any premise’ operating models and licenses.

First off, with ‘any premise’, we refer to on-premise licenses in general: whether that means running SAP S/4HANA on a physical server on company grounds, or at a cloud provider like Microsoft (Azure), Amazon (AWS), or Google (GPC). The key differentiator here, is that you’re paying to ‘own’ the software perpetually. 

RISE to the cloud

With RISE, SAP introduced an alternative approach in the form of a cloud subscription model for SAP S/4HANA Cloud ERP. And since SAP loves cloud, they added in several software components (SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP Business Network, Ariba, etc.) and services to convince users to take the leap. The key selling point: a single contract that covers all your software, services, and infrastructure needs on your journey to becoming an ‘Intelligent Enterprise’. So no, you won’t have to negotiate a separate contract with your hyperscaler as would be the case with a standard on-premise license. 

Furthermore, RISE comes in two different flavors:

  • The public cloud variant, which comes with standardized processes.
  • The private cloud variant, which provides more flexibility and customization and provides the possibility of choosing your own hyperscaler (AWS, Azure, or GPC). Of course, that’s great news if your company is already working with one of these.

The ‘any premise’ promise

Given all that, some organizations might still decide to invest in an on-premise license instead, for various reasons. In theory at least, this option provides greater flexibility over a subscription model. For example, if you want to quickly test a change or upgrade, an any-premise approach allows you to easily set up a sandbox environment by taking a snapshot of your machine. Also, organizations with an in-house team and who manage everything on premise might be hesitant to change to a cloud environment. 

Should I stay or should I RISE?

Ultimately, the decision between RISE or any prem comes down to the unique context and goals of your organization. However, there are a few key decision points to consider:

  • OPEX vs CAPEX: Whether your company wants to avoid large upfront investments (any premise) or turn IT operations into an operational expense with predictable monthly fees (RISE).
  • Full usage equivalents (FUEs): The minimum amount of FUEs for running RISE’s Private Cloud Edition is currently set at 60. For the Public Cloud edition, it is set at 35.
  • Current landscape complexity: Not every system can be migrated or integrated with RISE (yet). However, this doesn’t have to be dealbreaker: your implementation partner can likely provide you with workarounds, e.g., a hybrid approach.
  • Implementation type (greenfield or existing): For greenfield migrations, RISE Public Cloud makes the most sense. For brown- and BLUEFIELD™ migrations, private cloud – with its additional flexibility and the ability to postpone upgrades – might be the more obvious choice.  


Of course, there are a lot more variables to consider, including the desired support flexibility, security, in-house expertise, etc. Your most important decision, therefore, is to pick an implementation partner who can accurately assess your unique situation and offer independent advice on the approach that works best for you.  

RISE with SAP, shine with delaware

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