Having an exit strategy is crucial for a start-up’s survival. After all, everyone wants to know how and when they can exit a sinking ship if necessary – and how much money or shares will be left after the fact. Exit strategies are often imperative. Then why is no one talking about cloud exit strategies? Because for cloud providers, cloud exit would not be a business case, but a catastrophe.
Luring customers, especially those operating SAP systems, into their trap can prove very lucrative for cloud providers for many years to come. This does not mean that all cloud providers have sinister intentions – one just has to wonder what happens next.
Cloud exit proves to be difficult
Let’s suppose an SAP customer has transferred all his licenses, systems and applications to the SAP cloud. However, next thing they know, they cannot or do not want to operate these systems anymore. What now?
Well, they could always end their cloud subscription and consequently stop paying SAP money – at least in theory. Due to several data protection regulations now in place, data and information has to be accessible for defined retention periods before IT systems can be shut off.
With a small on prem server and corresponding licenses, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, in the name of digital transformation, our SAP customer has given up all his licenses including maintenance to SAP. The customer has no choice but to remain in SAP’s cloud and continue to pay subscription fees.
What can be done about it?
Unfortunately, not a lot. Customers can always avoid SAP’s cloud if they haven’t already signed contracts that say otherwise. Keep your licenses on prem.
Or you could always switch to one of the major cloud providers, like Amazon, Microsoft or Google. They do not offer a cloud exit strategy, either, but they make it easier to prepare for the worst.