I had the pleasure of speaking at an SAP S/4HANA event this month in Atlanta, Georgia, with SAP. The event was about SAP S/4HANA – The Digital Core in the brand new SAP Atlanta office. After our event, we adjourned to the Grand Opening celebration in the office, and the new “Digital Boardroom” was on display. It was great to see what we have been calling, the “Boardroom of the Future” come to life. It was, as promised, real-time business.
During our S/4HANA Digital Core event, SAP and itelligence thought leaders participated in a panel discussion giving audience an opportunity to ask real life questions. I thought to share the questions and answers here for those who were not able to make the event. Feel free to comment, or send me amessage if you have other input or questions, and I will add to this blog.
Commonly Asked Questions about SAP S/4HANA
1) What functionality is in SAP S/4HANA?
SAP is releasing new functionality in phases as part of the Digital Core transformation, starting with SAP S/4HANA Finance (formerly called Simple Finance, a.k.a. 1503 and now as SAP S/4 Enterprise a.k.a. 1511).
Currently, Simple Finance (1503) includes all the necessary innovations around the Finance area in S/4HANA. For the logistics, SAP has released a number of innovations and will continue to release innovations throughout the year. The Digital Core is built out to take advantage of the in-memory platform for the application and analytics. As we have discovered with our 50+ current S/4HANA projects, each customer had a different reason and a different need to go to S/4. itelligence helped them to map their needs to the S/4 solution(s) and helped them understand “Why S/4 Now?”.
In my view, the best source to understand what is included in S/4HANA is the Simplification List for SAP S/4HANA. on-premise edition 1511.
2) With the continual development and changes in The Digital Core, do I wait for it to stabilize or do I move now?
This is the question we are hearing from almost all the install base customers of itelligence and SAP.
If you want to simply take the advantage of the simplification and innovations in the Simple Finance area (S/4HANA Finance) – The time is now! . Simple Finance is stable and already live at number of customers globally including 10+ at itelligence itself. Regarding the logistics innovation and simplification, carefully review the Simplification List and also contact itelligence to build your personalized roadmap.
We have developed a tool based on the simplification list which can help you understand what and why of S/4HANA now. Also, SAP provides a free service called BSR report (https://www.s4hana.com/), take advantage of that and see for yourself what benefits you get out of the current version of S/4. This will help you make decision on the roadmap to S/4.
I must say, at this point if you are not on the HANA platform, the time to make that switch is absolutely now so that you are prepared for S/4HANA. The HANA migration (with a caveat that not all landscapes are simple and same) in general is a proven non-disruptive process and itelligence can get you there.
3) We have a BW/HANA Strategy – What else can we do?
A BW/HANA Strategy is a good start. But, to maximize your investment you should look to creating an Analytics strategy that the BW/HANA Strategy aligns too. The analytics strategy will help identify operational versus strategic metrics, govern the process to ensure consistency in analytics, make and organize more insights driven and set the path for advanced analytics like predictive analytics.
Now that you have the power of the technology and access to the information, itelligence can help you glean new insights from the information, build the strategy and create the business case as required.
4) What are the comparative features of The S/4HANA Digital Core, Suite on HANA, and Simple Finance?
The S/4HANA OP 1511 Simplification List is the definitive reference for what changes you can expect when you convert to S/4HANA. It clearly states by functional area what the deltas are between S/4HANA and the Suite on HANA. The Simplification List is an exhaustive document and goes into great detail regarding the features of S/4HANA.
Realizing that most customers do not have the time to read through such an extensive document, itelligence has created a tool which can help you quickly analyze the impact of a potential conversion to S/4 and help you build a solid business case for the conversion.
5) In an environment that contains both SAP & Non-SAP DATA, both unstructured and structured, what is the recommended analytics approach?
This is a personalized discussion point. There are a number of ways we can approach a solution or strategy. A lot of decisions will depend on volume, type, frequency etc. of data. However, to give an example – You can land the data in a non-SAP environment like Hadoop and bring the data into HANA using HANA Vora. You can mine the unstructured data and convert to structured data for consumption via Lumira, etc. itelligence can help create the strategy and approach based on short and long term vision of the company.
SAP Cookbook – (Requires SAP SCN login)
SAP Simplification list
SAP BSR Report – A high level comparison of what S/4HANA enhancements or features would be relevant to your environment.