IT Infrastructure and Analytics

A case for a business case: SAP S/4HANA

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Three years ago, on a chilly Tuesday morning during the winter of 2015, after ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), SAP announced its next generation S/4HANA ERP solution in a highly orchestrated press conference as the Exchange opened for another day of trading. However, recent figures show that out of SAP’s large customer base, only 6,300 have made the move to S/4 — they have implemented S/4,  have implementation in progress or have purchased the license. So there is still a large majority that have yet to take the first step towards S/4.

It is easy to look at the trends to date and paint a bleak picture for the future but my recent discussions with customers actually revealed something quite different. With SAP maturing the S/4 solution with each release and rounding it out with other offerings, the next 12 to 18 months can turn out to be a very exciting time for SAP, customers and partners.

It was clear from the start that performance improvements from the in-memory platform HANA alone were not enough to transform the business for the digital era. The rewrite, or “simplification,” of the code base challenges the highly customized solution that took customers many years to build. Many customers who invested heavily in their ERP platform over the years are still wringing out the last drops of return. Even with SAP announcing end-of-life support for non-HANA solutions in 2025, lots of customers are still on the sideline contemplating what their next move might be or when to make it.

This is not a case of procrastination for most. The digital disruption has the most immediate and profound impact on business functions that are customer-facing and on businesses that are business to consumer (B2C) in nature. The requirements to address the foundational ERP platform and to move the processes from analog to digital are simply not as apparent or as urgent. SAP has done a good job laying out a case for change with its “Digital Core vs. Digital Innovation” messaging. Unfortunately, some of the potential early adopters have distracted themselves with other priorities. Defining the problems or seeing the opportunities become the stumbling block to get these S/4 projects off the ground.

If there was ever a case to be made for a business case, this is it. The importance of a business case on when to migrate from ECC to S/4 — private cloud or public cloud — is enormous. A solid business case, backed by a carefully crafted implementation roadmap, can lead to well-informed decisions. The roadmap must go beyond implementing S/4; it needs to address how to enhance the digital core once a plan is in place — including IoT, blockchain, automation, robotics and other innovative solutions.

Present a solid business case and you have positioned yourself as a knowledgeable thinker and trusted advisor. With that objective in mind, we created a business case within the IBM S/4HANA Value Accelerator service offering which also includes the HANA Impact Assessment (HIA) tool. The business case clarifies the “whys” while the assessment tool analyzes the “whats” to be considered when migrating to S/4.

Request an IBM HANA Impact Assessment here

Visit our website to learn more about how IBM can help accelerate your S/4HANA migration.

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