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Maximize Your Move to SAP S/4HANA Finance

Q&A with Dr. Christoph Ernst of SAP and Steve Stechschulte of BlackLine

As more and more customers are moving to SAP S/4HANA Finance, they have many questions about how to prepare for the transition and about how the company’s finance and closing processes will be affected. During a recent SAPinsider Live Q&A, Dr. Christoph Ernst, Global Solution Owner for Accounting and Financial Close Solutions at SAP, and Steve Stechschulte, Senior Solutions Consultant at BlackLine, answered questions from attendees regarding integration, analytics, automation, and more.

Below is an abridged transcript of the SAPinsider Live Q&A conversation where Christoph and Steve discussed what changes to expect with the move to SAP S/4HANA Finance and how BlackLine can help. The full transcript is available on SAPinsider Online at bit.ly/MaximizeYourMove.

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Using Hyperconvergence to Simplify SAP Infrastructure

As enterprise infrastructures become more complicated by mixtures of on-premise, cloud, and hybrid technologies, simplicity is becoming more important. An emerging need is for an enterprise cloud built on “hyperconverged” infrastructure, one in which a variety of technologies, including virtualized solutions, can be accessed from a single point. Find out how a simplified hyperconverged environment that includes virtualized SAP workloads can consolidate companies’ data center footprints and provide easier migrations and management and improved performance and availability.

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Make Machine Learning Work for Your Business

Top Image Systems on Extracting Value

Andrew Pery, Chief Marketing Officer, Top Image Systems, discusses Machine Learning with Ken Murphy of SAPinsider. Below is a transcript of the conversation. Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider. Thank you for listening to this podcast on machine learning and what it means for the SAP customer. Here with me to…...

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An Introduction to SAP Analytics Cloud Predictive Analytics

Sergei Peleshuk provides an overview of SAP BW/4HANA and key considerations to think about when making the decision to migrate.

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MEET THE EXPERTS

Ned Falk
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Ned Falk is a senior education consultant at SAP. In prior positions, he implemented many ERP solutions, including SAP R/3. While at SAP, he initially focused on logistics. Now he focuses on SAP HANA, SAP BW (formerly SAP NetWeaver BW), SAP CRM, and the integration of SAP BW and SAP BusinessObjects tools. You can meet him in person when he teaches SAP HANA, SAP BW, or SAP CRM classes from the Atlanta SAP office, or in a virtual training class over the web. If you need an SAP education plan for SAP HANA, SAP BW, BusinessObjects, or SAP CRM, you may contact Ned via email.

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How to Bolster Your Purchasing Operations with SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Sergei Peleshuk provides an overview of SAP BW/4HANA and key considerations to think about when making the decision to migrate.

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Everything You Wanted to Know About ABAP Coding but Were Afraid to Ask

Q&A with Faisal Altaf, SAP Technical Division Head, Al Yamamah Steel Industries Co.

With all the advances in the SAP space since the advent of SAP HANA, the many cloud-based offerings, and most recently SAP Leonardo, many wonder about the future of the ABAP programming language. During a recent SAPinsider Live Q&A, Faisal Altaf, SAP Technical Division Head at Al Yamamah Steel Industries Co., shared how even with technology like SAP Fiori as a front end, ABAP coding will always be used on the back end. Below is an abridged transcript of the SAPinsider Live Q&A conversation during which Faisal shared tips for designing queries, forms, and dashboards. The full transcript is available on SAPinsider Online at bit.ly/ABAPdevChat.

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Protect Your SAP HANA Environment

Q&A with Jason Delaune, SAP Solution Lead at Hitachi, and José Betancourt, Senior Architect at SUSE

Cybersecurity is a topic that’s at the forefront of every business these days. Companies want to know how to keep their infrastructures secure — especially SAP customers, as they begin to move to new technologies like SAP HANA. During a recent SAPinsider Live Q&A, Jason Delaune, SAP Solution Lead at Hitachi, and José Betancourt, Senior Architect at SUSE, answered questions from attendees regarding encryption, security maintenance, patch updates, and more.

Below is an abridged transcript of the SAPinsider Live Q&A conversation where Jason and José discussed best practices for protecting SAP HANA infrastructures. The full transcript is available on SAPinsider Online at bit.ly/ProtectHANA.

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Empowering Companies to Digitally Transform at Scale

Keynote Address from SAP’s Ivo Bauermann at Financials, GRC, BI/HANA/Admin and CEC 2017 in Amsterdam

Are we on the brink of the fourth technology revolution that will fundamentally change the way we live, work, and relate to one another? Most CEOs see the next three years as more critical for their business than the last 50. Digital companies are achieving significantly higher revenue and profitability, yet only 5% of companies…...

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Community Management in the Cloud? Key Considerations

Build Quickly and Lower Your Overall Costs

There is no doubt that the cloud is here to stay. There are so many advantages, especially for smaller companies with limited IT staffs. For example, moving to the cloud enables companies to pay for what they use, without any ownership responsibilities or a need to maintain servers and connections, while also simplifying integrations.

But the cloud is not always a panacea. I provide you with a summary of key points to consider in your journey to the cloud, especially ones related to community management. These considerations are based on SEEBURGER’s interactions with our customers and prospects over the last 10 years as the cloud has emerged as a key deployment strategy.

One of the key functional challenges that large and small companies face with cloud deployment is community management — onboarding partners quickly and uniformly and with a minimum of effort — keeping the cost down and removing impediments to scale. This is especially true when those companies already have traditional business-to-business (B2B) platforms in place.

Our overall approach is simple: ensure that your legacy B2B platform and your cloud platform can work together so that you can support your current partners with your on-premise platform while supporting your new partners or customers with your cloud platform. Over time and as budget allows, you can migrate your legacy customers to the cloud. In the meantime, you can continue to leverage the investment you’ve already made.

Cloud Services

For us at SEEBURGER, we have purpose-built our integration platform to holistically support all of the scenarios: the on-premise, cloud, or “hybrid” model discussed above. This allows your support staff to use the same set of tools for all integration. We discuss this in more detail below.



The Key Issues of Community Management

High-growth companies that have a need to add and manage many suppliers or customers face the following challenges of scaling their communities rapidly while minimizing the costs of doing so:

  • Completing a profile of community members — What does your community look like?
  • Readiness assessment — Are your partners technically prepared to integrate?
  • Partner onboarding — How challenging is it to complete integration?
  • Community support — How do you handle ongoing partner management and self-service? Can your partners do it themselves?
  • Internal IT capability for B2B, electronic data interchange (EDI), and application program interface (API) — Can your staff support both legacy and cloud-based systems?

Let’s look at each of these challenges in detail.

Community Profile

What does your community look like? Are they mostly homogenous, with many of the same characteristics, such as size, use of industry-standard ERP systems, and connectivity? Are they all small mom-and-pop companies with small IT staffs and limited bandwidth? Do your partners and customers have experience with integration?

The answers to these questions will guide many of the decisions that will need to be made regarding deployment of community management in the cloud or on premise. For example, if your suppliers are mostly large and have solid B2B or EDI strategies already in place, you may want to implement an on-premise solution. If your community requires high security, a web-based EDI solution may not be secure enough.

On the other hand, if your suppliers are smaller, they may potentially need more handholding, but could onboard themselves if they are given the right tools.

As a first step, we recommend a thorough analysis of both the current partner base, as well as the profiling of the partners you hope to be onboarding in the near term.

Readiness Assessment

It is critically important that you are able to understand the readiness level of suppliers or customers that you wish to add to your community so that you can exchange data in an orderly automated fashion. We recommend the use of an online survey that is distributed as part of an automated initialization process. This will provide you with feedback from your ecosystem about items like:

  • Current EDI capability, such as EDI formats that they currently support
  • Current systems in place
  • Communications options available to the partner

This will also be your opportunity to let your partners know what to expect from you as a partner, including what EDI or API formats you support.

Partner Onboarding

It is important to provide as many self-service tools as possible to your partners. These can include ready-to-use onboarding processes, as well as preconfigured query templates, configuration tools, communication setup guides, and testing tools.

The more that your partners can do themselves, the lower your overall cost of onboarding will be. In the case of larger, more sophisticated partners, you will want to spend more of your time with them anyway because they represent an opportunity for your business.

Community Support: Ongoing Partner Management and Partner Self-Service

It is also critical that once partners are on board, they have 24 × 7 online availability (i.e., access via a web-based UI, a representational state transfer [REST] API, or a comma-separated value [CSV] file). You will also want to provide automated notification of changes that occur within the configuration of a partner, as well as a “yellow pages” service for Applicability Statement 2 (AS2) and certificates. We also recommend use of a B2B directory to help manage it all.

 

Internal IT Capability for B2B, EDI, and API

These days, the term bimodal IT has become very popular. As you gauge the internal staff you have, consider whether the staff members can support the legacy B2B community environment using traditional EDI structures. Are they capable with API integration? Many times, we find companies that are heavier in one direction or the other, and as the cloud and API world spreads, the talent has started to migrate in that direction toward API. Many of our clients find that deploying B2B or EDI as a managed service is the way to go — then they don’t have to continue to invest in staff and training for technologies that are becoming deprecated over time.

 Community Services App

So What About the Cloud?

At SEEBURGER, we believe that you should be able to implement a community management solution that matches your ecosystem. We have built our core Business Integration Suite (BIS) to be the platform that includes all the functionality discussed above. The same functionality and tools are available whether you implement our community management solution on premise, fully in the cloud, or in a hybrid model.

SEEBURGER has been developing German-engineered integration software for more than 30 years, and we have more than 10,000 customers worldwide. More than 2,500 current SAP customers use SEEBURGER to integrate their businesses.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call. One of my experienced team members or I will be glad to help.


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