Thought Leadership

SAP S/4HANA as the Digital ERP core for organizations on a Digital Reinvention journey

Share this post:

Organizations face tremendous disruption as their businesses are being redefined and re-invented. Their enterprises need to become digitally enabled, they need to reduce the complexity of their landscapes and adopt change at unprecedented speed. Most struggle with legacy analog processes or systems that are unable to keep pace with the needs of the business – driving the requirement for:

  • Modernization of their core systems and processes with augmentation of new digital technologies like S/4HANA
  • Big data brought to the transactional user for deeper insights to drive business performance and growth
  • Modernized user experience to drive efficiencies
  • Cognitive and automation integrated into core processes to achieve true digital reinvention.

As part of this drive towards digital reinvention, organizations are constantly searching for ways to build a seamless, connected, and live enterprise — one that works in harmony internally across departments, and externally with an extended ecosystem including business partners, but also one that touches their customers.

SAP S/4HANA is one of the key technologies that will be part of an organization’s roadmap to future modes of operation (FMO). S/4HANA can empower your organization to run live — and connect all parts of your business to break free from the business boundaries and technology limitations of the past.

Your enterprise leaders want to create a new digital core that consolidates transactions, analytics, planning, and machine learning into a single in-memory platform. This will simplify IT, speed up access to information to make business decisions, bring together existing organizational silos between lines of business, and connect the business through the cloud to external partners, suppliers, and customers.

Let me make it clear – S/4 HANA is here, it is real, and we now see a tailwind of organizations starting to move from their legacy SAP ERP and non-SAP ERP systems. As a recap, what is S/4HANA?

  • It is the next generation of SAP ERP
  • It is the digital ERP core that serves as the foundation for business innovation and simplification.
  • A new modern UI, simplified processes, simplified data model providing real time, single version of the truth for ERP Systems of Record
  • It is an enabler to empower business users with contextual & real-time information for faster & better decision making.

Organizations who run SAP today are faced with tremendous challenges:

  • The need to simplify complex legacy systems
  • The need to digitize core business processes to drive efficiency
  • The need to bring big data to transactional processes for deeper insights to drive growth

And it’s not just S/4HANA. It’s not about “Digital Front Office” technologies versus “Digitizing the ERP Core.”

They are two sides of the same coin. Organizations looking to S/4HANA as their Digital Core should have a digital strategy that is business-driven. Organizations need to look at the bigger picture as to what their FMO looks like based on business vision and pain points. What are the additional technologies aside from S/4HANA, and what is the underpinning and integrated IT Roadmap to achieve this FMO based on prioritization and dependencies. Key to this IT Roadmap is the ongoing governance to ensure it can evolve as business requirements change, or new digital technologies mature and come into scope. This avoids piecemeal IT projects that may result in regret costs, or not achieving the true value.

First, organizations need to redesign analog ERP Processes to digital via Design Thinking approach. They need to look at ways to bring big data to core transactional processes (e.g. weather data to help with supply chain and optimized demand forecasting based on weather patterns; IoT data to help with planned maintenance to avoid costly outages on the production line). They need to look at automation of manual and repetitive processes to drive efficiencies and enable key business users to focus more on data insights to drive business growth.

Second, organizations need to understand their Cloud and Mobile strategy. The New Digital ERP core and processes is designed with a “Mobile and Cloud first” mindset, so they need to look at Mobile strategy for end users and for mobile development, and the cloud strategy and need for integration of hybrid clouds.

Third, organizations need to understand the approach to Bimodal IT, and what it means for their IT organization. The key principal of S/4HANA is designed around the Bimodal IT concept, where you look to adopt a best practice approach to the core and stable ERP transactional processes, and augment and extend Systems of Record domain with the API and Microservices applications built through an Agile and DevOps approach on PaaS platforms such as SAP Cloud Platform (SCP), IBM Bluemix, etc.

SAP S/4HANA is the new digital core for digital reinvention. Visit our website to learn more.

“IBM’s HANA Impact Assessment tool is a great way to start your journey to SAP S/4HANA. This market leading tool helps SAP customers rapidly identify opportunities to get, and stay ahead of the value curve. It’s clear today that companies cannot rely on yesterday’s technology to meet today’s business needs.”
Uwe Grigoleit, Senior Vice President and General Manager of SAP S/4HANA

To request a HANA Impact Assessment please submit a request here.

Distinguished Engineer, SAP Global CTO

More stories

Three things I learned from clients in 2017 about digital transformation

I started 2018 thinking about resolutions and goals, and reflecting on the prior year; the things I want to accomplish in the New Year, both personally and professionally, and what I learned in 2017. It was only six months ago that I stepped into my role leading the IBM Global Next Gen Enterprise Cloud Applications […]

Continue reading

Enabling industry disruption while being disrupted

High-tech companies develop devices and technologies on which digital interactions take place. These interactions create massive amounts of valuable data that enable industry disruption. But while they’re creating the very tools required for digital disruption, these companies themselves are not immune to their own displacement by revolutionary innovators. Industries are converging, creating huge opportunities, but […]

Continue reading

Not all client journeys are the same: 10 questions every business needs to ask for SAP S/4HANA

Last week, I blogged about the considerations for a business’ digital reinvention journey. This week we’ll be discussing a number of immediate of questions as to what S/4HANA means for an organization’s mission critical systems. For example: What is the value of moving to S/4HANA, what’s the Business case? How disruptive is this going to […]

Continue reading