The main features that made SAP solutions the world leaders in business management software - transactionality, robustness, traceability - are as essential today as they were 20 years ago. However, paying thanks largely to digital transformation, the needs or requirements of customers have been significantly renewed, rendering these features limited on most occasions.
Cloud Computing, Mobility, User Experience (UX), Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) or Cognitive Computing are just some of the necessary technological components companies today seek from enterprise software. These technologies being the value levers that not only allow companies to extend traditional business models, but also to create new ones.
To address the transformation needs of companies around the world, SAP has released SAP S/4HANA (S/4); a product which represents a radical change from its predecessors.
S/4 offers functionalities capable of simplifying, optimizing and even redesigning an organizations business processes. Furthermore, S/4 is free of the technical and functional limitations of its predecessors, while maintaining their distinguishing features. Finally, S/4HANA is designed to work with the differentiating technologies (like those mentioned previously) that can enable new business models or accelerating the redesign of current ones.
UNLOCKING THE S/4HANA VALUE LEVER
There are several reasons that justify the conversion to S/4HANA. At the functional level, the merger between OLTP and OLAP in the same platform allows for more intelligent decision making, thanks to the availability of important information in real time and enriching the transaction layer with new analytics.
From a technological point of view, the improvements provided by the new platform (in-memory database, simplification of the data model, improvement of the UX, new development frameworks, etc.) allow important features such as performance, scalability, ease of use and simplification in operation and administration.
Each of these features by themselves offer differentiating advantages that would justify the transition to the new platform. Even so, there is another, much more decisive and definitive advantage that has to do with innovation as a driver of change.
DRIVING BUSINESS INNOVATION
Innovation in the business sector is an extremely complex concept. Organizations must find a balance between the new value propositions, necessary to renew the offer of products and services, and the security & protection offered by consolidation of outdated business models. All companies must define their positioning regarding digital transformation from a business perspective (“technology” is rarely justifiable driver). Any company that is able to identify where to invest to obtain tangible gains (new services, products or improvements to current ones) will be able to stand out from its competitors.
The main value that S/4 can offer is its role as the first level of digital transformation in the company: driving the adoption of innovative technologies.
Currently there are thousands of companies running on S/4HANA, a clear indication of its maturity and acceptance. Apart from the technical and functional advantages these companies have gained, there is also the substantial advantage of leveraging the platform as a driver of innovative change & business evolution within the organization.
ASSESS FIRST, INNOVATE SECOND: HOW TO TRANSITION TO SAP S/4HANA
S/4HANA is a sophisticated platform that cannot simply be switched "on". Choosing the best final configuration (the objective model) for each case requires expert knowledge and an individual and detailed analysis that considers the unique needs of each organization.
Similarly, the transition to S/4HANA is not free of complications and important decisions, there are many alternatives and possibilities, each with its own advantages and risks. Fortunately, there are also solutions and practices that can help overcome the obstacles that will undoubtedly appear in the transition to the new platform.
It is, first of all, necessary to carry out a deep and detailed analysis of the IT systems. Leveraging different tools to extract and combine data to gain accurate insights on the impact of transition (custom code, testing scenarios, obsolete processes and so on). This activity provides the level of precision required for an organization to plan their transition smoothly on a technical level, while also providing concrete ideas about the overall project timeline and costs. If an organization wishes to leverage the transition to innovate, exploit new business value and re-structure existing processes, the second step is to combine the analysis with qualitative information obtained in working sessions across the business.
While the approach of the organization to move forward with a simple technical migration without business process disruption versus complete transformation and process innovation is the prerogative of the organization (and a decision often driven by budget, strategy, etc...), the first and most fundamental step is always the same: deep & detailed analysis of the IT systems. With this first step accomplished, the organization will be able to understand clearly and definitively the risks, challenges and required steps ahead of them.
EXPERT SAP S/4HANA ASSESSMENT SERVICE & POV
Techedge has experience in all types of transitions to HANA solutions, including: SAP Business Suite on HANA, Greenfield & Brownfield S/4HANA projects, S/4 Central Finance and system conversion to SAP S/4HANA.
We offer customers hands-on and hands-off approaches to assessing their IT systems. Our AS/4SERV assessment (completed in 30 days) is a non-intrusive but fully informative assessment that provides real insights onto expected budget and fully defined roadmap to help you make your transition to S/4 smoothly, folding in innovation according to your business outlook.
For companies seeking more tangibility, we offer a “Proof of Value (PoV)”. The 60-day PoV will put your data into a live S/4HANA application, run on the public cloud of your choice, so you can see, feel and internally sell the new business experience on S/4HANA. You will also obtain a full report regarding critical code updates, visibility of expected business downtimes and a complete migration path.