Companies that rely on legacy SAP applications to do business know that they have a major challenge to overcome. Legacy modernization is SAP Blog becoming more necessary than ever to maintain competitive advantage on new platforms such as SAP HANA® and the cloud without losing already developed custom processes.  

Legacy enterprise software, often written in highly customized ABAP code, faces significant limitations as a new paradigm in business technology takes hold. 

Powerful new capabilities like in-memory analytics and application development and management – delivered as cloud services – provide real-time insights that accelerate decision-making and enhance business performance. Some new platforms offer completely new ways to manage business areas and functions, which can lead to increased revenue, customer loyalty and other benefits.  

For SAP customers, the SAP HANA Cloud Platform provides the in-memory computing benefits of SAP HANA combined with the elasticity, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of the cloud. But the reality many companies face, is that legacy software infrastructure and management simply isn’t compatible with emerging computing capabilities and models of service delivery.  

The challenge that well-established, competitive businesses will face soon is how to compete with organizations that have more modern, agile technology infrastructure while grappling simultaneously with the mounting costs of maintaining their legacy systems.

The Path to Better Performance

You might think that moving to SAP HANA and the cloud is only worthwhile you’re running new SAP applications. You have probably been told that getting the best out of SAP HANA or the cloud is only possible with a greenfield approach, by starting from scratch. You may also have first-hand experience that any change to existing source code is a costly, time-consuming and error-prone process.  

It’s a complex undertaking to manually refactor hundreds of thousands of lines of code – so massive and multifaceted that many CIOs and IT leaders consider it too risky. As a result, many businesses are simply postponing the inevitable and not harnessing the immediate value that modernization can have.

But there is a way forward that makes migration to SAP HANA and the cloud not just possible, but fast and affordable – automation. A custom rules-based automated approach eliminates errors and significantly reduces the cost and duration of the process. Here is an infographic that shows 8 benefits of automated optimization of SAP HANA. Check it out.

The result is applications that perform faster by several orders of magnitude, while preserving the essential business character and functionality embedded in the code. Perhaps most importantly, this process allows businesses to move past the cycle of resource intensive updates and maintenance, and invest that time and money in more forward-looking, strategic business processes.

Transformation through Automation

Cloud migration involves four main components, all of which are vastly improved through the use of automated code transformation:

1. Moving core business functionality to the database layer

This is key to unlocking the in-memory computing power of the SAP HANA database and can offer immediate improvements to application speed. While it would take months to change hundreds of thousands of lines of code manually, automation can accomplish this in days.

2. Improving performance, now and for the future

Source patterns embedded within the ABAP code, such as non-optimized data access and unused columns in queries can slow performance. A rules-based engine with an automated migration process is far more effective than people are at identifying and correcting these issues. Moreover, many more custom rules can be applied to increase application stability and maintainability, saving time and resources in the future.

3. Enhancing security

As with any cloud solution, security is paramount. An automated process can quickly pinpoint and eliminate security vulnerabilities, both on the application level within the code, and on the infrastructure level for data-in-flight or at rest. Once identified, the code is automatically modified to ensure critical information is protected from outside threats.

4. Creating a cloud instance

An automated process can create a cloud environment that allows a business to maintain its existing relational databases during migration, preventing disruption. Once a cloud instance is in place, any change to the production system is automatically integrated into SAP HANA – without slowing down existing business processes.

The Future within Reach

Companies using legacy SAP applications have acknowledged the challenge they face as more agile, cost-effective cloud services take hold. Sooner or later, these businesses must confront the issue and transform their enterprise technology, or be left behind. After reading the advantages of automated modernization discussed above, you now know how automation changes the calculus of this equation. It reduces risk and uncertainty, and brings comprehensive software transformation – and unlimited potential to grow and innovate – within reach.

*** This post was originally published on SAP Business Innovation.

If you have installed SAP HANA but are not seeing the expected improvement in the speed, check out this whitepaper on how automated code optimization can benefit you. The whitepaper discusses 8 benefits that our customers have seen after implementing the automated code optimization.