Standard Bank South Africa announced on Tuesday, 4 March 2020, that it is moving its core SAP Cloud Platform services to Microsoft Azure to significantly improve the experience customers have with the bank while enabling it to introduce new solutions to market more efficiently.
This accelerates the digital transformation of SAP customers to S/4HANA by partnering with Microsoft and using jointly developed reference architectures, roadmaps, and industry best practices. Many enterprises are looking to reduce their reliance on their own datacentres and moving more of their core workloads to the cloud.
Sabelo Nkwanyana, Standard Bank’s CIO for Personal and Business Banking, says leveraging the computing power of Microsoft and the product innovation capability of SAP demonstrates how Standard Bank is embracing partnerships and ecosystems to develop customised solutions for its clients.
“SAP has a deep understanding of our business requirements and how we want to ensure our customers are happy with our service offering. This partnership continues our focus on innovation by leveraging the respective skills of SAP and Microsoft to transform the digitisation and personalisation journey for our customers,” says Nkwanyana.
Lillian Barnard, MD of Microsoft South Africa, says, “The Project Embrace initiative between Microsoft and SAP announced globally last year is centred around the customer journey to SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform on Microsoft Azure. The work that we are doing with Standard Bank is the first local demonstration of this partnership, and another milestone in the journey Microsoft is on with Standard Bank, to bring innovation into every aspect of the bank’s IT system and enable enriched interactions with the bank’s customers”.
The partnership brings together SAP and Microsoft, along with a global network of selected system integrators, to move on-premise SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA customers to the cloud through industry-specific best practices, reference architectures and cloud-delivered services.
Barnard continues, “Enterprises are migrating to cloud providers at an accelerated rate. This makes it critical for our customers to have the right cloud infrastructure in place, enabling them to unlock the power of innovation. Microsoft’s significant investment on the African continent, with our first hyperscale datacentre regions in Johannesburg and Cape Town, means many more partners and customers are enjoying the benefits of our intelligent cloud platform.”
Speaking on the SAP partnership specifically, Barnard adds, “Project Embrace has three tenets at its heart: simplify, accelerate and innovate. By accelerating our customers’ digital transformation journey, we are enabling them to become agile, efficient digital enterprises on Microsoft Azure – with a cloud platform optimised for SAP – leveraging best practice and specialist expertise.”
“Today’s announcement is the biggest partnership centred on SAP implementation in Africa. With client experience a key strategic pillar for Standard Bank, Project Embrace reflects the shared commitment of both SAP and Microsoft to accelerate our customers’ journey to the cloud,” says Cathy Smith, MD at SAP Africa.
This project will deliver a unified approach to how Standard Bank runs SAP S/4HANA in Microsoft Azure. Ultimately, this will help the bank deliver a faster time-to-market on products and services while ensuring its IT infrastructure is optimised. By moving workloads to the cloud, Standard Bank will be able to access a range of features that it can deploy instantly and scale according to demand. This will result in cost reductions, improved system performance, and access to innovation.
“This will empower the bank to create new business models and deliver more personalised outcomes in today’s dynamic business environment. By providing Standard Bank with consistent engagement and delivery models, SAP and Microsoft bring both industry-specific best practices and deep local insight to deliver a compelling value proposition for their clients,” says Smith.
“Through Project Embrace, we are now able to better identify our business pain points and effectively address them through technologies that deliver a demonstratable return on investment. Having the ability to more accurately predict where customer challenges and dissatisfaction will occur enables a more flexible enterprise environment. We can help our customers transform their businesses and their lives in a secure way. This is much more than SAP and Microsoft supplying us with products. This is about fundamentally enhancing our digital journey for the future,” concludes Nkwanyana of Standard Bank SA.
In addition to the work done with Standard Bank, the Microsoft and SAP initiative is assisting customers around the world, and in a variety of industries, accelerate their journey to becoming digital, intelligent enterprises.