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Preparation and Testing - Why They Matter

By Robert Holland, VP and Research Director, SAPinsider

Nearly half of those moving to SAP S/4HANA have indicated that they are planning on performing a system conversion, but is a new implementation a possibility they hadn’t considered? Any transition to SAP S/4HANA involves understanding how and where you are doing to deploy the solution. Choices must be made not only on the type of deployment you are doing, for example, a system conversion or a new implementation, but also where and on what infrastructure. But while organizations are aware of these sorts of decisions, they aren’t necessarily doing all the preparation that is required to build a foundation for success or putting in place some of the key pieces that can help streamline and accelerate the project once it’s underway. To gain a better understanding of what is needed for a successful SAP S/4HANA deployment, SAPinsider sat down with solution experts at Cognizant to discuss what they have been seeing with their customers and where they have been able to help them ensure a successful move to SAP S/4HANA.

Planning and Preparation

The starting point for any SAP S/4HANA transition is in building the business case. But to build the business case, as Cognizant’s Head of SAP Global Markets Jack Miller says, the line of business teams need to understand—regardless of the technology—how that technology is going to impact sales, HR, marketing, and other business teams. “Cognizant has put together our SAP S/4HANA assessment program where we will perform a complete assessment not just of business processes, and what changes from their existing ERP system to SAP S/4HANA, but also what that means from a capability standpoint.” This type of preparation came up multiple times when talking with customers while putting together our Deployment Approaches for SAP S/4HANA benchmark report, with more than one saying that without this level of preparation they would never have been able to make the business transformation that they completed with the move to SAP S/4HANA.

But what Cognizant produces as the output from that assessment can remove some of the complexity in putting together a business case for SAP S/4HANA. “We provide two forms of output,” said Miller. “One is an entire cost of ownership assessment including every fee, licensed maintenance projections, the project costs, plus any cloud fees. The second highlights at the line of business level and includes changes to functionalities and capabilities that they are going to receive.” This level of detail can help organizations address what respondents in the Deployment Approaches report categorized as the second biggest challenge that they faced in the move to SAP S/4HANA—quantifying the business impact of SAP S/4HANA.

Looking at some of the challenges that Cognizant has seen organizations face when preparing for a SAP S/4HANA deployment, one of the biggest roadblocks has been current business process owners. They can be extremely passionate about why the organization performs tasks a particular way, and executives need to be engaged with the deployment so that they can bring engagement across these business teams. “You need to make them partners on the growth strategy of the organization, so it isn’t something that stays at the executive level,” stated Miller. By engaging these business leaders with the growth strategy of the organization they can become advocates for the change. “As good as the technology is, whether it’s SAP S/4HANA or something else, it is only going to be as good as it’s being used,” Miller said. “And once it gets used they are often pretty amazed at what they can do, especially on the predictive side.”

Quality Assurance and Testing

The other major factor that Cognizant says should be emphasized in the move to SAP S/4HANA is that of testing. While architecting and developing the system important, according to Senior Vice President Andreas Golze, the transformation needs to be a quality one. “Without quality SAP S/4HANA is just another project that might potentially be a challenge for everyone,” stated Golze. “What we do, and I think we’re unique with this, is not only build the framework for our clients, we also put a full-fledged complete automated test framework in place.” With many organizations looking to standardize as part of the move to SAP S/4HANA, they are deploying a platform that provides the ability to be updated in a fast and agile manner. But they need to have automated testing and abilities to really leverage the agility that the environment can offer.

Most SAP customers are doing at least some testing with their applications—it’s something that is typical for any implementation. But that testing does not necessarily leverage smart automation that can provide for features like a delta analysis. The testing tools that Cognizant is deploying provide the capabilities for organizations to run a full regression test in a few hours, and this can be done as often as is needed. Golze maintains that having this testing combination is a great asset for any company because you will allow them to improve quality while reducing the effort needed to maintain that quality. Cognizant’s ambition in putting this automated testing in place is to not have to go through multiple development cycles until everyone is happy but to achieve that goal in one step. “This isn’t about achieving quality one time, but in making sure that in the years to come the system stays at the level that we establish in the first week,” said Golze.

To help them achieve these quality goals, Cognizant has established a large testing organization with specialists who do nothing other than software testing. This group works in close collaboration with their SAP practice. This allows them to develop fully automated testing in a short period of time—a significant benefit to organizations that are looking to both streamline and accelerate their SAP S/4HANA deployment, as well as have the infrastructure in place for the future. And while those who have already deployed SAP S/4HANA are using automated testing solutions at nearly twice the rate of those who have yet to complete deployment, most aren’t yet at the point where they can leverage the capabilities of these solutions in the way Cognizant envisages will provide a long-term benefit. “In the future, with Industry 4.0, SAP S/4HANA won’t just be connected to laptops. It will be connected to templates and to mobile devices in the broader sense. It will be even more important to think from a quality perspective as well as from a maintainability perspective,” Golze emphasized.

What Does This Mean for SAPinsiders?

Moving to SAP S/4HANA is a big project for any organization, but organizations need to think beyond the standard deployment and infrastructure questions if they are to make that transition a successful one. But what steps should you be taking to make sure you are prepared?

  • Evaluate your existing systems and processes before beginning your planning for SAP S/4HANA. Multiple SAPinsiders have spoken to the importance of this step when doing their deployment. Having a complete understanding of what business processes are used, the expected inputs and outputs, and how those processes can map into the new environment is key to project success. Whether you leverage a service like the one Cognizant provides, or you follow another approach, spending the time to perform this evaluation as part of building your business case will pay off during and after the deployment.
  • Engage business process owners from the beginning. The people that have the best understanding of how your business runs and are most passionate about making that successful are the business process owners. Without their engagement, your newly deployed system is much less likely to be accepted. Ensure that they have the bandwidth to dedicate time to the project, and the support from their own line of business leaders, and this will help ensure that you can execute a more successful project.
  • Prioritize quality assurance and testing for both deployment and maintaining system quality over time. Automated testing can not only accelerate your initial deployment by reducing the manual testing effort, but it will also improve the overall quality of your SAP S/4HANA deployment and provide a platform for maintaining that quality through future upgrades and integrations. Those who are using these tools are seeing the benefits that they bring, but all SAPinsiders should focus on quality assurance and testing—and the tools and technologies that can accelerate this—as part of their planning for SAP S/4HANA deployment.

 

About Cognizant

With locations around the world, Cognizant provides business consulting, information technology, and outsourcing services. Cognizant is a global SAP services provider, and their SAP practice consists of over 11,000 consultants focused on supporting organizations to make targeted operational and technology decisions as they support digital transformation initiatives to drive lasting change.

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In This Report:

SAP Integration Landscape benchmark report

The enterprise landscape for SAP customers continues to become more complex. Accelerated adoption of cloud-based solutions since the start of the global pandemic has only added to this complexity.

In SAPinsider’s research we found that a majority of respondents were integrating an average of seven business solutions with their ERP system, and were using an average of four integration tools to perform these integrations. In this research, the average number of solutions being integrated increased from seven to eleven, with 13% of respondents stating they were integrating at least twenty solutions. And while in the past most of these solutions were likely to have been from one vendor, 9 out of 10 respondents in this report said that they needed to support non-SAP to SAP integration scenarios.

To provide us with the insight necessary to perform this research, SAPinsider surveyed 152 members of our community in July and August of 2021. As indicated above, 90% of those respondents said that they were supporting non-SAP to SAP integration scenarios within their organization, while only 78% said that they were performing SAP to SAP integration.

Read the report to:

  • Discover the challenges that your peers are facing and the results they are experiencing
  • Learn the strategies they are using to successfully integrate data across the SAP landscape
  • Understand what is driving the adoption of integration solutions
  • Find out how you can build your own successful integration strategy



 

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Memo to IT: Bank Connectivity & SAP S/4HANA Migrations

Webinar - On-Demand

Today, 27% of respondents to SAPinsider’s research report that they are using bank connectivity solutions for their ERP systems. This lack of specialized bank integration tools is reflected by the average amount of time it takes organizations to perform bank integrations being 3 to 6 months—and less than 5% of respondents were able to complete these integrations in less than a month. Moving to SAP S/4HANA means that IT & SAP technology teams have to perform these integrations all over again, potentially delaying or extending deployment timelines as they attempt to maintain or re-establish bank connections for their treasury, accounting, and greater finance teams.

Join the SAP S/4HANA certified/bank connectivity leader Kyriba to learn how your bank connectivity process can be simplified and learn how Bank Connectivity-as-a-Service can significantly reduce the costs and timeline associated with your deployment. Those who attend the session will also learn:

·  How to implement faster and less costly bank integrations
·  Why bank timelines can make cloud migrations a nightmare
·  How to enhance fraud and cyber security during migrations

(Survey data from SAPinsider’s Integration Tools and Strategies for SAP S/4HANA Benchmark Report, August 2020)



MEET THE EXPERTS

Steven Otwell Kyriba
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Steven Otwell has been with Kyriba for 5 years and is the acting Director of Payments and Connectivity.  He works with clients and prospects to model enterprise-wide payment solutions incorporating bank connectivity, fraud and payment factories to provide efficiencies, reduce risk and lower cost.  Prior to Kyriba Steven spent 10 years at Bottomline Technologies assisting clients with payment hubs and SWIFT Service Bureau deployments.

Robert Holland
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Robert is SAPinsider's Vice President and Research Director and leads the research and content development for the ERP, Platform, Technology, and Security topics. Robert has been working in the SAP ecosystem for more than fourteen years, and has written more than a dozen research reports since joining SAPinsider. In that time he has engaged with customers and vendors through event sessions and webinars to understand their technology and challenges, and helped tell stories that are important to the SAPinsider community. Follow Robert on LinkedIn and Twitter for more ERP, Technology, and Security insights.

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Reduce Costs and Simplify Architecture using Persistent Memory

September 9, 2021 @ 11AM EST

The mandate to migrate all SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) instances to SAP S/4HANA by the end of 2027 means the action is unavoidable, and one of the biggest architectural and technological challenges comes with how best to handle the large SAP database.  SAP HANA provides an in-memory database management system, however, if retained in main memory there is still the potential of data loss during server reboot, scheduled downtime or power outage.  Reloading all SAP HANA data after loss can be time consuming and costly in terms of performance.

The solution is to use persistent memory (PMem), which is a higher density, non-volatile memory technology that retains its contents like storage but provides speeds that are similar to that of main memory. It provides a unique combination of affordable larger capacity and support for data persistence.

Persistent memory when combined with a cloud solution enables numerous benefits including:

  • At least a 15% reduction in SAP Cloud server cost compared to other non-PMem servers
  • Shorter maintenance windows and increased uptime with up to 12.5x reduction in time needed to restart a HANA database
  • Allows larger or multiple small SAP HANA databases in one scale-up server due to higher memory density and lower cost, simplifying your architecture with less servers.

Join the webinar to learn how IBM Cloud and Intel persistent memory can unlock the best of SAP HANA.



MEET THE EXPERTS

John Pawlikowski World Wide Cloud Go to Market(GTM) Senior SAP Product Offering Manager, IBM
Sridhar Kayathi Solutions Architect, Intel
Gene Quaglia Global Account Director, Intel

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Moving Your SAP Applications to a Cloud Operating Model

Webinar - October 12th at 11 AM EST

Are you wondering how to make your IT team more responsive and efficient? Better tie IT costs to business use? Get the simplicity of the cloud while maintaining control of your data?

Lenovo and VMware have teamed to provide innovative solutions for SAP customers looking to move to a cloud operating model. Krombacher Brauerei implemented a hyperconverged infrastructure to streamline and modernize its IT with the scalability to support future SAP S/4HANA workloads. Konecta Peru chose Lenovo TruScale IaaS (infrastructure as a service) for a flexible, low-maintenance platform for its VDI environment. Could a cloud operating model help your business? Learn more in this session.



MEET THE EXPERTS

Dominic Uliano Director, SAP Global Alliance at VMware, Inc.
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Recognized and highly regarded expert within the SAP Ecosystem for my broad and deep virtualized SAP HANA, and S/4 HANA expertise.  Specifically focusing virtualization and IaaS of SAP Classic Applications, HANA, and S/4 HANA as well as SAP's next generation applications running on SAP Gardener with VMware Cloud Foundation.  Over 25 years of very deep SAP, virtualization, IaaS, and Private Cloud experience.  Designed and implemented many virtualized and IAAS infrastructures for large SAP Public Sector and Global 500 customers.

Ajay Dholakia CTO, SAP Alliance at Lenovo
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Dr. Ajay Dholakia is a Principal Engineer, Chief Technologist for Software and Solutions Development and CTO, SAP Alliance in Lenovo Data Center Group. In this role, he is leading the development of customer solutions in the areas of AI, big data & analytics,  cloud computing as well as emerging technologies including Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain. In his career spanning over 25 years, he has led diverse projects in research, technology, product and solution development and business/technical strategy. Ajay holds more than 50 patents and has authored over 50 technical publications including a book.

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SAP S/4HANA Migration Tips

Interview with SAP Expert, Tammy Powlas

Companies are migrating to SAP S/4HANA because of SAP’s 2027 deadline for ending SAP ECC support and because they want easier reporting, workforce mobility, and digital transformation, observes Tammy Powlas, Senior Business Analyst, Fairfax Water.

Powlas says that having the time and expertise to pull off the SAP S/4HANA migration can be challenging. You need to decide whether you do everything in-house or get help from outside consultants.

She recommends that companies considering a migration attend SAP enterprise support workshops for guided implementations, which discuss the readiness check report, the custom code migration, and how to migrate to SAP S/4HANA Finance.

Powlas stresses that testing is an integral part of the SAP S/4HANA migration. This includes unit testing, integration testing, regression testing, and authorization testing.

“The biggest lesson I learned is to get in there and just do it,” she concludes.

What This Means for SAPinsiders

  • Clean up your data before you move your vendors and customers to SAP S/4HANA’s business partner model. SAP provides a checklist to ensure that you take the proper steps for this process. In addition, authorization testing is important because authorization objects change due to the customer and vendor classification changes, Powlas notes.
  • Make sure your third-party tools are SAP S/4HANA compliant. “They always say prior planning prevents poor performance. One of the things you want to plan for is your third-party tools and see if they’re SAP S/4HANA compliant early in the process,” advises Powlas.
  • Do at least two sandbox migrations of SAP S/4HANA. SAP recommends this, and Fairfax Water found it helpful to work out problems before go-live.

To learn more, watch SAPinsiders’ brief video interview with Powlas:

MEET THE EXPERTS

Tammy Powlas Senior Business Analyst, SAP Mentor
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Tammy is a volunteer for the Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG) and an SAP Mentor, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), with SAP certifications in BW, FI, CO, SEM. Top contributor to SAP Community from 2011 to 2016. Served on the SAP Mentors advisory board. SAP Community Moderator. ASUG SAP TechEd Design Team. Member of the SAP Community Reputation Advisory Board.

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Sustainability Solutions in the Digital Supply Chain

An interview with Daniel Metz, Head of Software Development at FORCAM

By Shashi Jina, Research Director, Supply Chain Management, SAPinsider

SAPinsider recently had the opportunity to sit down and discuss best practices and challenges for sustainability with Mr. Daniel Metz, Head of Software Development at FORCAM. With over 20 years of experience developing technologies, FORCAM has been at the forefront in helping companies achieve their sustainability objectives.

In an evolving and dynamic environment, with many global challenges, stakeholders are focusing on supply chain risk. Additionally, there’s a demand to be more resourceful and conscientious of environmental and social needs. This collective awareness has led to the emergence of sustainability as a critical component of the supply chain process. Sustainability is a broad term focused on optimizing natural resources, reusing them, and often repurposing materials, while maintaining environmental balance. The goal is to address the needs of today without impacting future generations.

Regarding supply chain, most organizations consume materials and resources and generate waste — in the form of raw material used in production, energy consumption to operate facilities, and environmental waste from plants. “Companies are looking to provide transparency to their customer and partner,” according to Metz. He pointed out that while companies generally look to drive costs down, they are searching for more innovative ways to gain insights into energy and material use. “An ability to view and drill down the data from an asset to determine how energy was consumed for a particular order or a part is becoming a critical requirement from our customers.” All these areas present significant opportunities for sustainability optimization for organizations while promoting greater social responsibility.

Key Takeaways

  • Sustainability is a broad term focused on optimizing natural resources, reusing them, and often repurposing materials while maintaining environmental balance. The goal is to address the needs of today without impacting future generations. Renewable clean energy is the most notable example of sustainability. The foundational pillars of sustainability are economic, environmental, and social. However, in a supply-chain context, it’s profitability, compliance, and people.
  • With greater consumer awareness of the impact of sustainability, demands for more eco-friendly products and solutions have increased. Subsequently, there is a push for organizations to prove their contribution to these new age requirements. As a result, these organizations are making firm commitments to sustainability, in large part through transparency and addressing material issues.
  • Connectivity technology solutions that ensure effective transfer of asset performance data are critical. It provides an essential foundation for analysis.
  • Tools and technologies that enable transparency are essential to provide insight into how products were repurposed, demonstrating the visibility and integrity of the material across the supply chain.
  • Tracking volumes and costs allow for greater insight and visibility on how effectively to use material and products, driving waste and costs down optimally.
  • Drill-down capabilities on the data collected and aggregated. For example, which product consumed the most energy on a specific asset. Toto analyzes performance as foundational to determine where sustainability opportunities exist.

What Does This Mean for SAPinsiders

Based on SAPinsider community insights and trends on the current Sustainability landscape, organizations should develop a strong sustainability strategy as part of their overall Supply Chain plans. Beyond costs, they should consider Sustainability as a critical supply chain driver and utilize it as a competitive weapon. Build your supply chain with the following considerations:

  • Launch organization-wide sustainability strategic initiatives
  • Align regulatory risk and compliance plans
  • Integrate environmental, social, and governance risk considerations into Supply Chain analysis and decisions
  • Select and implement robust IoT, connectivity, and data management technologies that support these strategic initiatives
  • Implement measurable Sustainability metrics which align environmental and social outcomes with your existing SCM KPIs
  • Instill Sustainability into the organization’s supply chain culture and value system
  • Drive innovation by channeling Supply Chain investments towards new technologies that reinforce positive behavior by rewarding good practices and impact the economic value chain.

About Forcam:

  • Established in 2001
  • Headquarters in Ravensburg, Germany, as well as at our offices in Cincinnati (USA), Rugby (United Kingdom), and Shanghai (China).
  • Revenues of $15m and a workforce of over 100 employees
  • Evolved into a comprehensive IIoT solution partner with a high-performance manufacturing 4.0 platform and a vital ecosystem.
  • Key strategic partnership with SAP on driving Sustainability initiatives
  • Customers include Airbus, Lockheed Martin Audi, BMW, BorgWarner, Daimler, KUKA, Pratt & Whitney, Schaeffler, and Swarovski
  • More than 100,000 manufacturing assets and machines are monitored with FORCAM technology worldwide

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Video Interview with Probodh Chiplunkar, CEO of Ithena

Shashi Jina, Supply Chain Management Research Director, SAPInsider

In an age of digital supply chain transformation, organizations are looking to integrate emerging technologies such as blockchain, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), artificial intelligence/ machine learning (AI/ML), robot process automation (RPA), drones, and IoT devices with their existing SAP system and platforms. Most are challenged with understanding where and how to apply these technologies. Transforming your supply chain involves more than the introduction of new technologies. You also must review and often redesign the processes that support the operations.

SAPinsider sat down with Probodh Chiplunkar, CEO of Ithena, a service provider specializing in helping SAP customers navigate their supply chain and digital transformation journey. In this video interview, Probodh describes his experience working with clients on their supply chain initiatives, some of the technologies in use, and some of the challenges faced by the end-user community. He also shared some of the critical SCM concepts you need to consider through your transformation journey.

Key Takeaways

  • A Critical component for supply chain is effective collaboration. The exchange of critical information and data across the extended supply chain will significantly move the “needle”.
  • Right size the technologies: implement appropriate technologies that enable strategic objectives in a timely manner.
  • A flexible, agile, and nimble supply chain will be the new norm for a successful supply chain.

 

MEET THE EXPERTS

Probodh Chiplunkar Chairman of the Board, Ithena Technologies
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Leading from the front, an Entrepreneur passionate about bringing opportunities for change to businesses through technology. Probodh excels at providing modern approaches using transformative technologies to the ecosystem of customers and partners. Utilizing the advent of IoT and digital disruption, ITHENA's persona-based AI platform enable customers to achieve new business models, improvement in operational efficiencies and profitability.

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