SAP is promising to lower the cost of licensing, maintaining and hosting its core ERP applications by taking on all those tasks for a single subscription fee \u2014 a sort of digital transformation as a service, as CEO Christian Klein described it.\nEnterprises taking up the offer, called \u201cRise with SAP,\u201d will no longer pay separate licensing and maintenance fees, and their applications will be hosted by SAP in its own cloud rather than on premises or elsewhere.\n\n[ Comparison shopping? See "The best ERP systems:10 enterprise resource planning systems compared," with evaluations and user reviews. | Learn why companies are increasingly moving to cloud ERP and how to spot the 10 early warning signs of ERP disaster. | Get weekly insights by signing up for our CIO Leader newsletter. ]\n\nKlein unveiled the offering on January 27, saying it would be generally available the next day.\nWhile it sounds like a good deal if all goes smoothly, enterprises need to have a clear idea how they can get their applications back on premises, or at least under their control, if things don\u2019t work out in the cloud for some reason, said Thomas Henzler, licenses and maintenance director for the German-speaking SAP User Group, DSAG.\n\u201cI still see a huge need for transparent processes in the step from a license to a subscription model, and potentially vice versa,\u201d he said. \u201c\u2018Rise with SAP\u2019 must not be a one-way street.\u201d\nRise with SAP is primarily aimed at moving on-premises S\/4HANA workloads into SAP\u2019s cloud, but the offer also extends to customers running S\/4HANA in another cloud, or to those with heavily customized S\/4HANA applications: Their workloads will move into the private cloud edition of S\/4HANA.\nThere\u2019s even something for customers still running Business Suite 7 on ECC, SAP\u2019s older ERP platform. Thomas\u00a0Saueressig, SAP\u2019s executive board member responsible for product engineering, said Rise with SAP will take over some ECC systems. This could prove attractive for enterprises looking for a way to migrate to S\/4HANA before SAP ends mainstream support for ECC in 2027.\nPromising to cut the total cost of ownership \u2014 by up to 20%, according to Klein \u2014 while taking on more responsibility if things go wrong doesn\u2019t seem like a great deal for SAP, but the company hopes to make its money back in three ways.\nSimplifying business processes\nFirst, it plans to apply its business process expertise to help businesses modernize, simplify and standardize the business processes implemented in the workloads it will manage, with the goal of removing customizations from customers\u2019 S\/4HANA cores and moving them out to its Business Technology Platform.\nThen, by hosting at scale, it expects to be able to reduce infrastructure costs \u2014 even when taking on workloads that were already running on Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform. \u00a0\nAnd, of course, it could make it up on volume if it wins net new customers with this simplified commercial offering. To do that, though, it will have to demonstrate that the subscription-based service is free of the contentious access-based fees that have caused difficulties for customers seeking to integrate rival software-as-a-service offerings with SAP\u2019s ERP core in the past.\nPaul Cooper, chairman of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG), said SAP\u2019s new offering could prove attractive to enterprises already in the midst of business transformation, or those that have been putting off migration from ECC to S\/4HANA.\n\u201cEvery customer situation is different.\u00a0For some, \u2018Rise with SAP\u2019 will potentially be an attractive offering, but ultimately customers will need more details, especially on the commercial aspect, before they can really make an informed decision,\u201d he says.\nKlein portrayed Rise with SAP as offering a one-stop shop, with only one organization, SAP, for CIOs to deal with if things go wrong \u2014 but in reality, the initiative will be highly dependent on SAP\u2019s network of software partners, resellers, consultants and system integrators. The biggest are all on board, including the likes of Accenture, Deloitte, DXC, and EY, and Indian business process modernization companies such as HCL Technologies, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, and Wipro.\nFrench IT service provider Atos too is ready to deploy its 13,500 SAP professionals to help customers to Rise with SAP. It also plans to move its own SAP systems into the private cloud edition of S\/4HANA, although it didn\u2019t say whether it will be buying the Rise with SAP offering itself.\nThe bottom line for most CIOs is that they need to know more \u2014 a lot more \u2014 about how Rise with SAP will work and be priced before signing up.\nAs DSAG technology director Steffen Pietsch put it, \u201cRight now there is not enough information available to evaluate the viability of the Rise model."