Moving from SAP Hybris to the SAP Commerce Cloud: What you need to know

with Chris Kostakis - Chief Technology Officer

SAP Customer Experience has made a commitment to being a Cloud company. While SAP will continue to support customers using On Premise SAP CX products for as long as it makes sense for their business needs, there will be a long-term approach to migrate SAP Commerce (Hybris) customers to the latest version of its Public Cloud, SAP C/4 HANA, running on Microsoft’s Azure platform. While a legacy to-cloud migration can seem daunting — particularly when there are so many moving parts — we want to give you the information you need so that you understand how this change will impact you and how to mitigate the potential risks and pitfalls of making the move to the Cloud.

What’s in the Cloud

SAP C/4 HANA is designed to be an end-to-end business solution that combines front-office CRM and marketing automation applications with back-end transactional ERP systems and business applications. For SAP ecommerce customers, moving into the Public Cloud environment simplifies site development and experience delivery while streamlining complex platform processes.

SAP touts the Cloud’s low total cost of ownership, rapid onboarding and ability to allow customers and partners to create and manage their environments on demand. When done right, moving your SAP Commerce platform into the Cloud can allow you to:

  • Improve business agility and support for business innovation
  • Go to market quickly and expand globally
  • Grow and scale with flexible Cloud deployment
  • Simplify maintenance and support with the latest updates, etc.
  • Access enterprise-class omnichannel features
  • Tie future investment to business growth
  • Streamline internal processes

Migrating to the SAP Commerce Cloud

For most users, the migration will involve either three or four steps, which we’ll outline here. But first, here are some of the tasks that will need to be completed as part of the SAP Cloud migration project:

  • Identifying prerequisites for the migration assessment
  • Upgrading to the minimum-required platform version
  • Defining a timeline for transitioning
  • Adapting code for changed/deprecated features
  • Adapting code for the Azure SQL Server database
  • Migrating data to MS SQL (if necessary)
  • Undergoing performance benchmarking
  • Automated or manual functional testing
  • Creating load tests
  • Cleaning up data and database schema
  • New feature business enablement and training
  • Implementing 24X7X365 Application Support

Taking the necessary steps

  1. Upgrading. In order to fully migrate to the Cloud, Hybris customers should be operating on SAP Commerce version of 6.7 or higher. A majority of customers are still running older versions, so for most, upgrading will be the first step in the migration process. Because upgrading comes with its own set of complexities, selecting a qualified solutions partner is a key part of this process.
  2. Data migration. The next step will be migrating your data to the Cloud. Migrating data is a complex process and in general, not something we’d recommend attempting without expert support. We recommend that clients already on version 1 of the SAP Cloud work directly with SAP to move data into the newer version. This will make for the most seamless migration because SAP has direct access to your data. If you’re self-hosting, either in the Cloud or on premises, Gorilla can work with you directly on the migration.
  3. Testing. Testing your site will be an essential step. This is a significant effort and includes functional testing and site load testing. In tandem, you should also consider transitioning to automated testing. The new SAP Commerce Cloud architecture is conducive to automated testing and this is a key benefit of moving to the Cloud.
  4. Adapting your site to the Cloud. When transitioning to the SAP Commerce Cloud, there will be specific Azure features you can take advantage of, and others that won’t apply to, or won’t work with your site. You can also capitalize on adding new commerce features that have been released since your last deployment, and identify those that are most applicable to your business. For many users, beneficial new features include Smart Edit, Rules-Based Promotions Engine, Adaptive Search, and better overall tools for business users.

We can also help you enhance the code to workaround Azure features that don’t necessarily play well with SAP Commerce Cloud (think image resizing). Given all that’s involved, this is the optimal time to rework things that are not optimal for your business or users in order to get the most out of the commerce platform.

What are Your Migration Responsibilities?

Your team’s involvement will, of course, be integral to a successful project. Here are some of the things you’ll need to coordinate in order to make the process as quick and seamless as possible:

  • Providing necessary access to code repository and data
  • Providing high-level architecture and deployment documentation
  • Collaborating in the UAT process with your partner’s Quality Assurance team
  • Participating in determining required code adaptations

Mitigating Project Risk

Of course, all significant projects come with some risks involved. Here are some ways to mitigate risk and ensure a successful project:

  • Ensure access to the GIT code repository
  • Plan upgrade/migration related activities into your existing platform roadmap. An experienced partner can help develop a workable strategy for scheduling code updates/features releases within the larger cloud migration plan.
  • Keep an eye on SQL query performance (SAP will advise and engage merchant/partner to resolve, if needed)
  • Plan for active involvement from your team, ensuring stakeholders have the bandwidth to meet deadlines and keep the project timeline on track

Project Duration

Specific needs and dependencies will dictate the projected timeline for your organization. However, the typical duration of the platform upgrade and Azure migration averages between 24 and 36 weeks — This is elapsed time, not dedicated effort by your team or agency partner. This includes load testing and analysis, code adaptation, data migration, deployment and user acceptance testing. The overall timeline will depend on the time your team can dedicate and its involvement in the project. More involvement and shorter review turnarounds can condense the timeline to a degree.

Ultimately, the time spent will be well worth it. Enabling your company to:

  • Save money year-over-year in architecture upgrades
  • Obtain better control over infrastructure
  • Eliminate additional infrastructure costs
  • Reduce the need for additional resourcing
  • Implement more efficient internal processes, which can lead to significant time/cost savings for enterprise organizations

When broken down into separate steps, and guided by a trusted partner, migration to the SAP Commerce Cloud will seem far less daunting, and in the end you will reap the rewards of operating your ecommerce transactions in a secure, scalable Cloud environment.