Why moving to S/4 HANA makes sense

North West, South Africa Jul 11, 2023

Kathy Gibson reports from SAPHILA 2023 – The 2027 deadline for users to migrate their legacy SAP systems to SAP S/4 HANA is drawing close – and those customers that haven’t begun the journey may be cutting it fine.

But apart from the stress of having to migrate for the deadline, there are huge benefits to making the move to S/4 HANA, says Dr Uwe Grigoleit, senior vice-president: SAP customer evolution.

Customers today face major challenges and imperatives. The world is changing faster than ever, so companies need the agility to adopt new business models, gain efficiencies and transform their mission-critical systems to drive sustainable growth.

Digital transformation is important, but enterprises also need to consider technological transformation, environmental transformation, and economic transformation, Dr Grigoleit says.

SAP’s 2023 product strategy places cloud ERP at the centre, on the business technology platform as a single, unique platform that drives the master data strategy.

Surrounding the cloud ERP system, are industry-specific and sustainable systems, supported by human capital management, spend management, and the business network and customer relationship management. On the next layer are ecosystems solutions, all supported on the business technology platform.

The SAP S/4 HANA Modular Application Portfolio (PAP) includes modules for buy, design, supply, maintain, make, service, sell, people, finance, and cross topics.

Dr Grigoleit explains that the new business processes in S/4 HANA help to drive business transformation by supporting the requirements of the digital economy.

These features include capabilities for service-based businesses and the combination of tangible and non-tangible goods. They also support new industry trends such as contribution-based formulations and others. Modern business processes allow for increased organisation flexibility with an easy-to-manage framework, while new algorithms support complex scenarios.

“We are also making sure the system is easier to use,”

Dr. Uwe Grigoleit – Senior Vice President, SAP Customer Evolution

S/4 HANA can be accessed from any device, including a mobile, where users can gain instant access to the Intelligent Enterprise Suite.

The SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), as the base of the S/4 HANA system, is where enterprises can differentiate themselves, Dr Grigoleit says.

With S/4 HANA, SAP extends the digital core and backbone with intelligent tools embedded in the system. “And you can continue to build with extensions via custom code development and integration with BTP services.”

Using the AI-powered SAP portfolio offers numerous benefits. Dr Grigoleit points out that SAP started embedding AI long before it became topical in 2023.
These AI-powered applications include SAP Cash Application, SuccessFactors Learning Recommendations, Concur Invoice Management, and Customer Data Cloud Intrusion Detection.

The company is also adding selected new AI capabilities to its systems. “We are framing these elements into business AI,” says Dr Grigoleit.

This will allow enterprises to retain their data privacy while training AI for their own business requirements. Using AI and generative AI, SAP has introduced a host of new capabilities that help enterprises to do things in new and more efficient ways.

“The AI can not only answer your questions; it can answer them in the context of your business,” he explains.

The last piece of the end-to-end process story is SAP Signavio Process Transformation Suite (PTS), a cloud-based process management platform that gives companies the ability to understand, improve and transform their business process – fast and at scale.

Dr Grigoleit emphasises that migrating to S/4 HANA enables companies to move their operations from a legacy on-premise landscape to an intelligent sustainable enterprise.

“Creating business value starts with business process optimisation and transformation,” he says.

SAP offers end-to-end transformation support for customers making the transition. SAP Application Lifecycle Manager creates a framework for design, build, test, deploy and maintain, with defined methodology, operation automation, collaboration and integration.

RISE with SAP brings together the components need to help customers deliver on their digital transformations, bringing together Cloud ERP, Business Process Transformation, Business Platform and Analytics, and Outcome-driven Services.

To help customers make a start on their S/4 HANA migration, SAP has developed a customer evolution kit which details the steps they need to take.