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5 Things SAP Customers Are Saying About Their SAP S/4HANA Migration Strategy

Mainstream maintenance and support for SAP customers on SAP ERP 6 and Business Suite 7 will end in 2027, a two-year extension from its original end-date of 2025. This doesn’t change the fact that the migration to SAP S/4HANA will be one of the largest projects of the decade for members of most IT departments, or the likelihood that they will need to work with almost every line of business (LoB) to build their business case, migrate operations, and re-engineer processes.

After speaking with dozens of SAP customers, Pierce Owen, Vice President of Research at SAPinsider, would sum up how customers are feeling about the migration in three words: “Obligated, opportunistic, and hopeful.” A survey conducted earlier this year by SAPinsider asked 500 members of our audience several questions about their current SAP S/4HANA migration strategy. Owen will further discuss these sentiments along with SAPinsider’s research on this topic during our live webinar, SAP S/4HANA Migration, occurring live on Tuesday, March 24 at 11:00am, ET.

For now, here are 5 things SAP customers are saying.

  1. The biggest challenge is building the business case. “The business case, which should maximize the value of the new functionality, is such a challenge because it requires IT departments to work with almost every single LoB to understand how it will impact operations and processes. Additionally, they have to put forth a significant amount of effort to re-engineer processes to take advantage of the opportunity that SAP S/4HANA presents to those LoBs. Many customers have told me that they initially felt overwhelmed by the amount of information out there and it took time to organize it into a compelling case. SAP S/4HANA also comes with a relatively wide range of cost elements. Some customers have found the license to be the cheapest part. Installing and running the HANA database, whether on-premise or in the cloud, comes with significant costs,” says Owen.
  2. SAP’s completed product vision in releases 1809 and 1909 has yielded significant business benefits, such as faster financial close, better predictive analytics and financial forecasts, and faster decisions. “These benefits are based on a more comprehensive view of finance and accounting as well as opportunities to lower logistics and inventory costs,” says Owen.
  3. The migration to SAP S/4HANA represents a major opportunity to improve business operations. The migration to SAP S/4HANA is not simply a necessary IT upgrade. Owen says that survey respondents chose end-user and business satisfaction as the most popular metric for a successful SAP S/4HANA migration at a rate of 69%, followed by process efficiency improvement at 64%.
  4. We have already, or plan to, migrate to SAP S/4HANA. In fact, 17% of SAP customers surveyed have reported that they’ve already gone live, up from 8% a year ago. Last year, 34% of SAP customers did not yet have any plans for migrating to SAP S/4HANA. “Now, that number has dropped to 14.5%, and the other 85.5% have at least started evaluating the business case,” says Owen.
  5. Our business case has been started or is complete. This was a response shared by most SAP customers who were surveyed, who reported that, despite the maintenance deadline extension, they would move to SAP S/4HANA before 2025 anyway. “A significant number told me they breathed a sigh of relief because they needed these two years and a very small group told me they still will not have done everything they need to do to prepare for the migration by 2027 and hope it gets pushed back again,” says Owen.

 

During the live webinar, Owen will go into more detail about SAPinsider’s research into SAP customers’ SAP S/4HANA migration strategies. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions in real-time and gain a better understanding of:

  • Where they stack up vs. the market in migration progress
  • How most SAP customers view SAP S/4HANA and the migration
  • What they can do to prepare for the migration
  • The types of tools out there that can help them migrate to SAP S/4HANA to best support business operations and minimize disruption

 

Register now!



Agriculture Commodity Scheduling

Challenges in the Industry and How SAP is Addressing Them with SAP Trader’s and Scheduler’s Workbench and SAP Transportation Management Integration

Agriculture commodities follow a complex supply chain and are influenced by global demand and inventory levels along with local weather, harvest conditions, and freight availability. The commodities are traded, hedged, stored, and speculated in most of the world. The commodity therefore transacts through multiple entities before it is ultimately consumed by processing units for end-customer use. Learn how to integrate SAP Trader's and Scheduler's Workbench and SAP Transportation Management to provide much-needed agility to deal with market dynamics and changing contractual positions.

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MEET THE EXPERTS

Rajat Agrawal Rajat Agrawal, Platinum Consultant, SAP America
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Rajat Agrawal is a platinum consultant at SAP America. He has extensive experience in oil & gas and agriculture industry solution portfolio. Rajat has worked very closely on commodity management & risk analytics leveraging SAP HANA, which is one of SAP’s current strategic investments. Rajat has knowledge of various SAP modules and business processes spanning CPG, chemical and oil field services industry along with SAP IS Oil and Agricultural Contract Management solution. Rajat has 18 years of SAP experience which includes co-innovation with customer, greenfield, upgrade and business transformation projects in US, Europe and India largely on fortune 100 companies.



Climbing the FP&A Maturity Curve

SAPinsider Expert Shares His Insight

by Pierce Owen, VP, Research, SAPinsider

Unified reporting tools and financial planning and analysis (FP&A) solutions emerged as the two most common technologies used by respondents in the recent SAPinsider research report, “Streamlining Financial Processes in the Cloud” (see Figure 1). The reporting tools align directly with the top requirement of financial professionals — multidimensional reporting — while FP&A solutions support the forecasting and simulation requirements, which were also very important requirements for survey respondents.

Figure 1 Financial Tech in Use

To learn more about how FP&A solutions can make an impact, SAPinsider recently interviewed Brian Kalish, Principal and Founder at Kalish Consulting. This research brief shares Kalish’s thoughts on how FP&A professionals can evolve from financial reporters to financial strategists.

4 Personas of FP&A

When Kalish talks about climbing the FP&A maturity curve, he means scaling up the abilities of an organization’s FP&A professionals.

Kalish shared, “You must understand what you want to accomplish with your FP&A function and what you want it to do.”

FP&A abilities shape four personas along the FP&A maturity curve. Reporters represent the first and most crucial persona. In fact, 76.5% of survey respondents chose multidimensional reporting as a very or extremely important requirement to improving their finance technology strategy (see Figure 2). Multidimensional reporting empowers users to view balances from different perspectives for deeper drill-down analysis and reduces the need for manual manipulation of financial data.

Figure 2 Top Requirements for Finance & Accounting Tech

“Most finance departments have conquered the ‘Reporter’ step on the maturity curve and have an efficient month-end financial close,” said Kalish. “You need an efficient financial close to gain the capacity to move beyond the ‘Reporter’ step.”

The SAPinsider research data backs up Kalish’s claims, as SAP customers complete their monthly financial close relatively quickly — with 53% of respondents indicating they close their books in six days or less, and 29% closing in four days or less.

Kalish said that finance departments need the three Cs (capacity, capability, and collaboration) to step beyond the Reporter stage. “If you don’t have the capacity, nothing else matters,” he said. “If the month-end financial close takes thirty days, you can’t do anything else. If it takes five days or less, you have capacity.”

Capability includes the organization’s people, processes, technologies, and culture. Kalish pointed out that processes are the “Achilles’ heel” of almost all organizations because scaling up the FP&A maturity curve requires documented processes and well-governed data and decisions, and “no one likes to document processes in detail,” according to Kalish. He continued, “If you only want the FP&A function to be a ‘Reporter,’ that is fine, but with the right people, processes, technologies, and culture, you can make FP&A a true business partner.”

With intelligent technologies, organizations can automate repetitive tasks and move people to higher value-added activities. If organizations apply the right technologies to well-documented processes, they can “liberate people from the blocking and tackling of reporting and move them into advanced analytics and simulations,” said Kalish.

The collaboration part of the three Cs means senior management cares about maximizing the value of FP&A and IT supports the FP&A function.

If companies master the three Cs, they can progress their FP&A function into the Commentator persona. In this persona, the FP&A function moves from describing what happened to diagnosing why it happened.

The stage after that, the Advisor persona, involves using predictive analytics with the proper algorithms to determine what might happen next, within certain ranges.

At the top of the FP&A maturity curve, the FP&A function can act as a Strategist. This means using prescriptive analytics and simulations to make better, faster, and smarter decisions. Strategists help determine how organizations can grow revenue and profits. “‘Strategists’ represent half a percent of all organizations’ FP&A functions,” said Kalish. “Everyone in the organization needs to agree and collaborate to get to this stage.”

Beverage Company Example

One of Kalish’s clients, a beverage company, had grown at the rate of inflation for decades — until three years ago when this company began growing over 50% per year. As an organization, it decided that the FP&A function needed to start answering questions before they came up, especially around planning for inventory management. To accomplish this, it needed a more forward-looking process to identify how to ramp up production and distribution, geographically.

Kalish started his work by surveying and interviewing all relevant staff to get their perception of the organization’s analytics. He created a radar graph of its strengths and weaknesses. “It looked like a ninja star,” said Kalish. “They had as many weaknesses as strengths.”

The company’s senior management had a strong desire to build a world-class FP&A function. “That top-down mandate was very helpful,” Kalish said. “Culture comes from the top, and this company had an appetite for analytics.”

The beverage company had the capacity and the collaboration. Within its capabilities, it had people with analytics, problem solving, and communication skills who wanted to evolve into true business partners. What it lacked was the process documentation and the technology to implement what it wanted.

“We are currently in the middle of the project. We will document their processes, put in a new data architecture with a data hub, and implement a new budgeting tool in 2020 to save time and resources,” concluded Kalish. Once we have accomplished all that, the company will try to scale the FP&A maturity curve.

What Does This Mean for SAPinsiders?

Based on our research and the interview with Brian Kalish, the following considerations can help SAP customers climb the FP&A maturity curve:

  • Determine what the FP&A function should do at the leadership level. Kalish believes senior management creates company culture. Without a mandate from the top, any organization will struggle to evolve through the four FP&A personas. If the FP&A team only needs and wants to act as a Reporter, it should stay at that level.
  • Assess the people. Does the FP&A team have the necessary analytics skills to move beyond reporting? If not, find the right people, and get them on the bus.
  • Focus on the financial close to gain the capacity. FP&A professionals cannot scale the maturity curve if they spend all their time on the financial close. Most SAP customers have shortened their financial close to fewer than six days so now have available capacity.
  • Document processes and select technologies that accelerate them. Technologies only provide value if they are applied to the appropriate processes. If organizations apply the right technologies to well-documented processes within the FP&A function, they can elevate FP&A professionals to strategic business partners who can help accelerate revenue and profit growth.

Following this strategic guidance should help SAP customers get the most out of their FP&A function.

Pierce Owen, VP, Research, SAPinsider, can be reached at Pierce.Owen@wispubs.com.



How to Simplify Access to Analytics for Everyone

Reuse Your Existing Assets in the Cloud with a Hybrid Approach That Combines SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BusinessObjects BI

by Ingo Hilgefort, Global Product Evangelist, SAP Analytics Cloud

Most SAP customers likely have heard about SAP Analytics Cloud already or have seen actual demos from SAP on the new analytics front end available as a cloud solution. This article will review how SAP customers that are using SAP Analytics Cloud in combination with the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) suite can leverage existing assets and how SAP Analytics Cloud can fit into customers’ overall BI landscapes.

SAP Analytics Cloud Leads SAP’s Portfolio of Analytics Solutions

SAP Analytics Cloud is a very unique solution in the way that it combines BI, planning, predictive, and application design services into a single platform, giving SAP customers the ability to provide users with a consistent experience using one cloud solution (see Figure 1). In addition, SAP Analytics Cloud provides customers the ability to integrate an existing SAP BusinessObjects BI platform with SAP Analytics Cloud, something often referred to as a hybrid approach. As part of this hybrid approach, SAP Analytics Hub and SAP Analytics Catalog play an important role. (We will come back to this later in the article.)

SAP Analytics Cloud

Figure 1—SAP Analytics Cloud provides a unified experience for planning, BI, and predictive services

Figure 2 shows the overall SAP analytics portfolio — with SAP Analytics Cloud as the leading analytics tool in the cloud. However, as you can see for topics such as classic reporting or Microsoft Office integration, SAP also positions its on-premise solutions for these types of requirements. It’s very important to understand that this recommendation is based on requirements and scenarios. For example, if your current requirement is to provide your users with layout and format-driven reporting, then your first choice should be the Web Intelligence or classic Crystal reports as part of the onpremise SAP BusinessObjects BI platform. If you are looking for strong data visualizations and data exploration capabilities, you should investigate the option to integrate SAP Analytics Cloud into your BI landscape.

SAP Analytics Portfolio

Figure 2—SAP Analytics Cloud is the leading analytics tool in the cloud of SAP’s portfolio of analytics solutions

A Hybrid Approach: SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BusinessObjects BI

For existing SAP BusinessObjects BI customers, it is critical to consider a hybrid approach as part of the journey toward SAP Analytics Cloud. Not only does the hybrid approach provide customers with the ability to leverage existing assets from the on-premise BI solution, it also helps customers move to the cloud at their own speed without the mandatory step to migrate all their assets to the cloud, which could potentially result in needing to re-create a lot of analytics assets.

Benefits for customers using a hybrid approach include the following:

  • SAP Analytics Cloud has the ability to connect directly to your SAP BusinessObjects Universes as part of your on-premise BI landscape. Not only does this allow you to reuse your existing Universes and simply leverage those dimensions and measures in combination with SAP Analytics Cloud, it also means that you can leverage your Universes to connect to a huge variety of data sources. You can also reuse your existing Universes to provide SAP Analytics Cloud information from a large set of data sources using a live connection.
  • Using SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office and as part of the hybrid approach, you can connect to your on-premise data sources, such as SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) or SAP HANA. SAP customers also now have the ability to connect to the information in SAP Analytics Cloud. In this scenario, you can leverage the information in and data connections provided via SAP Analytics Cloud. For example, you could connect to your on-premise SAP BW system directly from SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office and also bring in information that was uploaded into SAP Analytics Cloud (such as information from SAP SuccessFactors solutions). You can also use connections provided by SAP Analytics Cloud (such as a connection to SAP S/4HANA).

With the upcoming release of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 (planned for the second quarter of 2020), SAP is adding even more capabilities for the hybrid approach, such as the following:

  • Not only will you be able to leverage your existing Universes as a data source for your live connections in SAP Analytics Cloud, but with the 4.3 release you will be able to connect from SAP Analytics Cloud to your existing Web Intelligence documents. In addition to the data connection, this gives you the capability to reuse any calculations and formulas that are specific to your reporting requirements. Also, by reusing the Web Intelligence documents, you can reuse the additional logic in combination with SAP Analytics Cloud.
  • Another important aspect of the 4.3 release is the hybrid user management aspect. Starting with the 4.3 release, you will have an option to onboard your existing SAP BusinessObjects BI platform users into SAP Analytics Cloud. As well as bringing in users, you can leverage your existing user groups. This capability is a huge help, especially for your BI platform administrators — as now they can reuse your existing users and user groups and import them into SAP Analytics Cloud, which will save a lot of time.
  • In addition to having the ability to create an initial upload of users and user groups from your SAP BusinessObjects BI platform for SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP is also providing a System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM) application programming interface (API), which allows you to go beyond the initial upload of users and user groups and create a custom scenario where you keep your SAP BusinessObjects BI platform and SAP Analytics Cloud synchronized in regards to users and user groups.

These capabilities are key parts of your hybrid approach and will help you to get started in SAP Analytics Cloud, but there is one additional critical element to consider — SAP Analytics Hub and SAP Analytics Catalog (see Figure 3).

SAP Analytics Hub and SAP Analytics Catalog

Figure 3—SAP Analytics Hub and SAP Analytics Catalog offer users a single point of entry to all their analytics content

SAP Analytics Hub and SAP Analytics Catalog is SAP’s solution to bridge your SAP BusinessObjects BI deployment and your SAP Analytics Cloud solution and provide your users with a single point of entry to all their analytics content. You can also help your users more quickly identify relevant analytics by providing detailed information on the analytics content and use elements such as categories to organize content. Your users will benefit from capabilities such as a search that goes across your on-premise and cloud analytical content, and concepts such as favorites and ratings from other users.

In addition to all the product capabilities that can help you begin your venture to the cloud, SAP is offering a cloud extension policy where you have the ability to convert savings from your maintenance into licenses to start your SAP Analytics Cloud journey. I would recommend reaching out to your account team for further details.

Consider an Integrated Hybrid Approach

For those of you evaluating using SAP Analytics Cloud as your first foray into cloud analytics with an existing SAP BusinessObjects BI deployment, you should consider a hybrid approach — reusing your existing assets, such as Universes and Web Intelligence reports, and integrating your SAP Analytics Cloud system with your SAP BusinessObjects BI system.

An integrated hybrid approach can help you and your users get started quickly in the cloud, and it provides the option to then move your assets to the cloud at your own pace. In addition, with SAP Analytics Hub and SAP Analytics Catalog, you can establish a single point of entry for all your users’ content, helping them to quickly find their critical analytics assets — regardless of if that is cloud or on-premise analytical content.

 

Hear Ingo present “SAP Analytics Cloud for Beginners” during SAPinsider’s 2020 EMEA event happening November 17-19.

SAPinsider-EMEA-2020

MEET THE EXPERTS

Ingo Hilgefort
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Ingo Hilgefort started his career in 1999 with Seagate Software/Crystal Decisions as a trainer and consultant. He moved to Walldorf for Crystal Decisions at the end of 2000, and worked with the SAP NetWeaver BW development team integrating Crystal Reports with SAP NetWeaver BW. He then relocated to Vancouver in 2004, and worked as a product manager/program manager (in engineering) on the integration of BusinessObjects products with SAP products. Ingo's focus is now on the integration of the SAP BusinessObjects BI suite with  SAP landscapes, such as SAP BW and SAP BW on SAP HANA, focusing on end-to-end integration scenarios. In addition to his experience as a product manager and in his engineering roles, Ingo has been involved in architecting and delivering deployments of SAP BusinessObjects software in combination with SAP software for a number of global customers, and has been recognized by the SAP Community as an SAP Mentor for SAP BusinessObjects- and SAP integration-related topics. Currently, Ingo is the Vice President of Product Management and Product Strategy at Visual BI Solutions, working on extensions to SAP’s product offering such as SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and SAP Lumira. You may follow him on Twitter at @ihilgefort.



Tracking Outcomes: Assessing the True Value of Human Capital Management Technology

The decision to purchase and implement new human capital management (HCM) technology can take a significant amount of time and require buy-in from the highest levels of your organization. Justifying these projects requires the ability to carefully measure results and to ensure that the results align with the strategic goals of human resources (HR). Identifying the right measures for your organization from a myriad of efficiency, productivity, compliance, project performance, and financial performance metrics requires research, strategic alignment, and collaboration with stakeholders. This article will examine which metrics are most meaningful for human capital management and what leaders are measuring.

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How to Get the Benefits of New Implementation with a System Conversion Approach When Migrating to SAP S/4HANA

When migrating your existing SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) system to SAP S/4HANA, system conversation is one approach you can take. The other option, new implementation, is not exactly new for customers. They have implemented their ERP in the past using a new implementation approach. It is a difficult choice to make between system conversion and new implementation and there is no one answer that will fit every customer, however it's worth noting that the data from SAP and some recent surveys by analyst organizations show that about 50% of customers will choose a system conversion approach over new implementation. This is a sizeable number of customers who will adopt SAP S/4HANA via system conversion. However, benefits of new implementation cannot be ignored.  This article aims to help customers adopt a system conversion approach that will allow them to experience some of the benefits that a new implementation approach can offer such as possibility of re-thinking process, fit-to-standard, clean core to name a few.

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AGL Energy Tracks and Traces Tens of Thousands of Serialized Rotable Parts

Rotable Planners Schedule Repairs to Minimize Waste

Most (70%) SAP customers have integrated product or asset requirements to product models to support traceability of parts, according to SAPinsider's "Intelligent PLM Benchmark Report." One of those customers, AGL Energy, uses this integrated data to trace rotable parts through an SAP Fiori app implemented at the same time as SAP S/4HANA. SAPinsider recently interviewed Ruksana Azim, SAP S/4HANA Supply Chain Specialist at AGL, an Australian energy business accounting for approximately 20% of the total generation capacity within Australia. AGL has around 3.7 million customers including residential, business, and wholesale customers. This research brief shares the story of how AGL uses its SAP Fiori app integrated with SAP S/4HANA to track rotable and repairable parts for its assets.

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Make-to-Order Manufacturing Planning Strategy with Planned Cost

How to Manage Planned Changes with Accurate Inventory Value On Books

Organizations often experience challenges in a make-to-order (MTO) environment when managing “planned customer changes” mapping to standard product structure. This article will teach you how to separate “planned” vs. “un-planned” changes integrating planning, shop floor execution, inventory management and finance/controlling with accurate value on the books. It will explain inventory valuation with a step by step process for creating new custom MTO planning strategy configurations, implementing methodology, and interpreting the results. Learn how business can effectively manage MTO processes and avoid workarounds on month-end closing.

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MEET THE EXPERTS

Venkata Ramana Nethi, CSCP, CPIM Manager IT Build-Run Operations & Quality, Schlumberger
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Venkata Ramana Nethi, Manager IT Build-Run Operations & Quality at Schlumberger, has 20 years of experience including SAP and domain expertise in manufacturing and planning. He joined Cameron in 2010, which was acquired by Schlumberger in 2016, and is responsible for SAP production planning, advanced planning and optimization (APO), and Quality modules including process study, design, implementation, and support in manufacturing and supply chain business transformation solutions. Before joining Schlumberger, Venkata was an SAP production planning consultant at Wipro Technologies, where he led SAP PP implementation and support projects for a global client base. Prior to that, he was manager at VOLTAS manufacturing unit based in India where he was responsible of production planning and shop floor manufacturing processes of refrigerator and commercial cooler products for CPG customers. Venkata has CSCP and CPIM certifications and his expertise ranges from business case analysis to implementation and production support engagements in manufacturing and supply chain planning transformation initiatives. He is also involved in sales and operations planning supported by SAP Integrated Business Planning and the solution’s integration with various systems to support demand and supply planning.



Six Questions to Help You Better Understand SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud

The following Q&A is from SAPinsider’s webinar, SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud, presented by Robert Holland, SAPinsider’s Analyst in the Cloud, Security, and SAP S/4HANA space, on Thursday, January 30, 2020. Click here to listen to the on-demand version.

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