5 reasons why leading companies migrate from SAP to commercetools

Time’s up: Migrate from SAP to modern commerce now and future-proof your business

Manuela Tchoe
Manuela Tchoe
Senior Content Writer, commercetools
Published 10 March 2023
Estimated reading time minutes

As the legacy vendor forces customers to upgrade to new versions of SAP Commerce Cloud and migrate to its cloud solution, using SAP in the long term means wasting time and money on daunting migration processes with little or no return on investment. So, is it worth your while to remain in an outdated infrastructure that no longer helps companies stay at the top of their game? With commercetools Composable Commerce, businesses can get faster time-to-market with new products and services, customize their customer experiences at scale and speed up their digital transformation journey.

Migrating from SAP to commercetools made easy

When a market analyst like Gartner calls an established platform like SAP Commerce Cloud monolithic and advises readers to shop elsewhere when looking for a flexible and agile commerce solution, it’s clear the time has arrived for SAP clients to entertain new options. 

In addition to Gartner’s warning, it's clear that SAP has been struggling to keep up with customer expectations in digital commerce. The main problem is largely attributed to its aging architecture, which is difficult to scale or adapt. Additionally, the announcement that SAP customers should dedicate time and resources to migrate to S/4 HANA, SAP’s cloud-based ERP solution, which is tightly coupled with Commerce Cloud, shows that the company is unable to meet what is best for its customers.  

Despite the cloud migration deadline to 2025, then postponed to 2027, many SAP customers still run on self-hosted “on-premise” deployments, limiting their ability to auto-scale online capacity and innovate customer experiences. 

Migrating to a flexible and agile commerce solution like commercetools Composable Commerce can help businesses stay competitive and avoid the costly and daunting migration processes required by SAP.

Using SAP means missing out on modern commerce — and revenue

Over the past few years, SAP has shifted its product strategy to focus on core solutions, such as S/4 HANA (ERP). However, this move led to a divestment in SAP Hybris, later renamed SAP Commerce Cloud, indicating the vendor’s inability to embrace modern commerce pillars like the cloud.   

The cloud has revolutionized digital commerce in many ways, from better scalability during online peaks to cost efficiency and agility. Unfortunately, legacy solutions like SAP can hinder businesses from taking advantage of its capabilities due to the cost and complexity of maintaining customizations, inflexible contracts and static architectures. 

The migration to the cloud led by SAP’s flagship ERP product, S/4 HANA, has been marred with customer distrust and complexity. For instance, SAP customers who decide to move to the cloud must adapt to SAP’s standardized processes and drop customizations, which can be a significant obstacle to adoption. The result is 70% of SAP customers have yet to upgrade to S/4 HANA and fail to see the benefits of the migration. 

Moreover, SAP customers face issues like version upgrades, which consume a lot of time, energy and money across the organization. A typical upgrade may take up to six months, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Companies that upgrade later than 24 months after a release may incur professional services costs to complete the process.   

SAP’s lack of innovation is also a concern, as over half of its engineering power remains focused on maintenance and upgrades. Despite the vendor’s attempts to modernize its commerce offering with “Hybris as a service” and “Upscale Commerce”, these initiatives were deprioritized in favor of keeping the SAP Commerce Core platform running. Headless commerce is another popular trend that SAP advertises but fails to properly deliver with the frontend application still deployed along with backend releases. 

As a result, SAP has been unable to push for modern commerce capabilities as requested by customers to thrive in an environment of constant change. That SAP declined to participate in the Forrester Wave™ evaluation process in 2022 is another indication of the vendor’s innovation paralysis. 

Despite these issues, many SAP customers worry about the aftereffects of modernizing their commerce functionalities because it’s tricky to decouple an all-in-one suite — especially when combined with SAP’s ERP and CRM systems. The good news is that several companies have already taken on the journey to migrate from SAP to a modern commerce solution. 

Explore why Australian airlines Qantas, luxury fashion retailer Harry Rosen and retailer Salling Group decided to ditch expensive SAP upgrades — and modernized their eCommerce architecture with commercetools Composable Commerce.

3 visionary brands that migrated off SAP to commercetools Composable Commerce

1. Harry Rosen digitized style consultations 

Like many companies during COVID-19, the Canadian luxury menswear retailer Harry Rosen was caught off guard by strict lockdowns. A part of the company’s DNA is in-store personalized consultations, so its concierge-like service became severely disrupted as stores closed for months. Harry Rosen’s team realized that bringing a digital clienteling service to life on their legacy SAP platform would be costly, complex and time-consuming. Since migrating to commercetools, the company has created digital experiences not only got them through the pandemic but contributed to leadership predicting a 40% increase in digital sales by 2025. 

Since migrating to commercetools, Harry Rosen was able to digitize style consultations by replicating the in-store experience with digital laydowns. Advisors use their knowledge of their client’s needs, gained from experience and recent conversations, and pull together digital images of multiple items to create complete looks, presenting each on a personalized webpage. The advisor even pre-populates each item with the client’s correct size — all the individual has to do is click "add to cart" and, when they're done shopping, hit "checkout." Digital laydowns quickly gained acceptance by the brand’s loyal clientele, now accounting for 10% of all digital sales. 

2. Qantas improved e-shop uptime, performance and innovation 

Qantas has faced numerous scalability issues with SAP over the years, which led to lost revenue and annoyed customers. The company decided to re-platform their frequent flyer rewards online store from SAP to commercetools to improve uptime and performance with a cloud-native architecture, scaling cloud capacity to meet traffic peaks. Qantas has managed two high-traffic online shopping days without a hitch and has offboarded SAP four weeks after the go-live. 

Inspired by the success of its frequent flyer rewards online store, Qantas re-platformed Qantas Wines, an e-shop for Australian wines associated with the airline’s premium member benefits. Now, the airline’s eCommerce presence has a subscription capability and various payment options and can handle complex mixed-cased bundling and inventory management. 

3. Salling Group reduced the total cost of ownership by 75% 

When the Scandinavian retailer Salling Group aimed at strengthening its omnichannel experiences, it was clear that its commerce setup, previously based on SAP Hybris, needed to be more scalable and cost-efficient. By migrating to commercetools Composable Commerce, the company reduced the time-to-market for its new webshops and lowered TCO by 75%. 

The retailer was also able to customize their online shop and content — which was incredibly difficult with SAP — and increased release cycles from once every other week to multiple times per day. This robust focus on innovation also enabled Salling Group to improve the visitor conversion rate by 30%.

Migrate now and see immediate results

If your business is using an outdated version of SAP Commerce Cloud and planning to migrate to the cloud, you should consider choosing a cloud-native, composable commerce solution that enables your business to innovate rapidly. commercetools Composable Commerce provides an alternative to SAP and helps your business reap several benefits: 

  • Unique customer experiences: You can add and customize commerce functions to create exceptional customer experiences seamlessly. 

  • Speed and agility: With a flexible infrastructure, you can respond to customers’ demands and navigate market changes with ease. 

  • Productivity: By adopting composable commerce, your teams can focus on innovating new features and touchpoints rather than being bogged down with maintenance and bug fixing. 

  • Cost optimization: With a versionless solution that is always up-to-date, you can eliminate costly upgrades and migration processes. This way, you can dramatically reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) over time. 

  • Robustness and scalability: Increase the ability to handle online traffic peaks while maintaining high-speed performance, so you can increase conversion rates and revenue. 

Migrating off SAP is not as complicated as you might think. With the strangler pattern, you can replatform from any monolithic system to composable commerce by replacing each functionality piece by piece. Not only can you eliminate the chances of system disruptions, but you also accelerate time-to-value. 

If you’re considering modernizing your eCommerce infrastructure instead of upgrading to yet another SAP version, know that companies that have migrated to commercetools have seen positive results straight away! Qantas experienced immediate performance and uptime improvements in its frequent flyer and wine e-shops. Harry Rosen was able to pull off digital consultations from scratch in a matter of weeks, increasing the bottom line of this unit during the pandemic. At the same time, the Salling Group lowered operational costs across the board. 

These achievements are no small feat — and you can also unlock similar results with commercetools Composable Commerce. 

If you’re using SAP Commerce and want to unlock the benefits of composable commerce, get an overview of why you should migrate to commercetools in this quickstart guide. If you’re a developer, jump into our step-by-step migration guide.   

Manuela Tchoe
Manuela Tchoe
Senior Content Writer, commercetools

Manuela Marques Tchoe is a Content Writer at commercetools. She was a Content and Product Marketing Director at conversational commerce provider tyntec. She has written content in partnership with Facebook, Rakuten Viber and other social media platforms.

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