SAP S/4HANA Insights Series: Journey, not Quick Fix

Tuesday, 11 Oct, 2016   /   Nick Mulcahy

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SAP S/4HANA is the next generation business suite and SAP’s biggest innovation since SAP R/3. Having first launched globally in February 2015, we’ve spoken to many New Zealand businesses who have been weighing up the solution for themselves. Built on the ground-breaking in-memory database, SAP HANA, and with a whole host of simplifications and innovations, in the last year we’ve worked with many New Zealand businesses to incorporate SAP S/4HANA into their future technology roadmap.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients, a farmer-owned cooperative and fertiliser producer, was the first New Zealand business to go live with SAP S/4HANA in early June 2016. We’re proud to have worked with Ballance to implement the solution, and have gained many extra insights as a result.

In this series of blogs, we break down a few of the key insights we've gained into SAP S/4HANA, from completing the first implementation in the country.

Click here to download the full 'SAP S/4HANA  Insights Guide', full of our CEOs reflections on the solution and learnings from the first S/4HANA implementation in New Zealand.

Download our SAP S/4HANA Insights Guide

Insight #1 - SAP S/4HANA is a Journey

Businesses embarking on a move to SAP S/4HANA should consider that it’s the start of a journey rather than simply an ERP fix or upgrade. Keep in mind that SAP S/4HANA is itself on a roadmap pathway and the simplifications are ‘works-in-progress’. Customers should be mindful that the solution they buy today is not the final masterpiece – SAP continues to simplify and build new functionality into the solution with each release. With annual updates taking place for the on-premise version (and quarterly updates for the cloud edition), the solution continues to take shape and, importantly, some functions are being discontinued.

The SAP S/4HANA solution you see today may not yet be the completed vision of the next generation ERP, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t already deliver great benefits. Ballance has been a case in point, already reporting productivity gains and increased speed in reporting tasks, like month-end for example: “There is no longer even time to go and get a coffee when waiting for a report to process!” - was one comment from Richard Hopkins, CFO at Ballance.

A major reason for Ballance’s success with the solution to date has been the fact that users are switched on and open to change. From our perspective, it’s been great working with a client who views a project of this significance as an opportunity to rethink the way they do things.

Here are a few points of interest to note for your SAP S/4HANA journey:

  • The User Interface (UI) continues to develop. At this stage the solution features a mixture of two UIs – the new and simplified Fiori screens mixed with the old SAP-GUI format for some transactions. Customers embarking on the journey shouldn’t expect a fully ‘Fiori-ised’ experience straight away, but there’s no doubt this will come in subsequent releases - with Fiori 2.0 due later this year.

  • Some functionality is being moved and restructured. Be aware that some functionality you may have previously relied on in your SAP ERP could look different or may have moved in SAP S/4HANA. Following the ‘Principle of One’, where there are multiple SAP functions, solutions or technologies currently co-existing, SAP are focusing only on the most recent and advanced. Functionalities that are considered non-strategic going forwards fall into what is now termed ‘Compatibility Scope’, whereby a specific existing solution, while not the recommended target solution, is still available in SAP S/4HANA on an interim basis. 

This blog is a preview of the material covered in the SAP S/4HANA Insights Guide. Click here to download the full guide, complete with of our CEOs reflections on the solution and learnings from the first S/4HANA implementation in New Zealand, at Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

Download our SAP S/4HANA Insights Guide

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