SAP S/4 HANA Cloud or How to Embrace Cloud Technology?
As SAP Gold partners, we are very familiar with SAP ECC traditional ERP, with which we have been working for several years. However, we are pleased to have a new SAP tool that allows us to make a fresh offer to a different type of customer.
In the age of smartphones, apps, and TV shows that come out before we even have the time to discover them, SAP S/4 HANA Cloud (S4HC; its given name) is faster. For those who know our good old ECC, they understand how difficult it is to update, or set up a new version (or EhP - Enhancement packages), not to mention all the following tests. Well, imagine that our new cloud friend is running with updates and features that go with every quarter. Thus, a feature that does not exist in the current release may appear in less than three months. As SAP informs us on a regular basis, we then are able to anticipate such a possibility and adapt our year and deployment plans. For example, here is the one for 2018:
Image 1: SAP’s roadmap for SAP S/4 Cloud updates Source : Sap.com
With regard to the 1808 release (read like this: 18 for 2018 and 08 for August: so S4HC’s latest release was in August 2018.) Here are some examples of novelty:
And here is a summary of all 1808’s new features :
Image 3 : Summary of 1808’s new features Source : sap.com
At this point in the article, perhaps you find that there are far too many images and lack of content? In fact, I wanted to show you that for each release, SAP provides us with documentation for several reasons, including:
Allowing us to find information quickly without having to search all over
Holding it in the sale format;
Have a roadmap defined in advance.
The most skeptical will say that it will be necessary to perform tests each time, which is not wrong. But SAP has helped us on this side, because it gives us a series of test scenarios that take place automatically. You just have to go into the test feature and you will find several more, including:
“Manage your test processes”: choose from the suggested test scenarios which ones you want to activate;
“Test your processes”: test previously activated and prepared processes. This option will run the tests in the background and give you the status of the completed ones. If a step fails, SAP will display it for you to fix.
Finally, SAP provides you with a series of documentation that will be accelerators for your project. These documents are models of any type (Excel, PowerPoint, Word) and are distributed in the different phases of the project including its project or configuration plan or organizational structure.
Thanks to technologies contained in Leonardo, SAP brings us new functionalities. We knew SAP as a powerful integrated tool, but now we're going to find out how SAP is smart and can learn as it goes.
When we talk about intelligence, SAP brings these three new notions:
Digital support with SAP Copilot; an assistant giving you the opportunity to chat with your colleagues directly in S4HC and send them attachments easily and efficiently. As a video is worth a thousand words, click here!
Automation via artificial intelligence and machine learning: For example, if you receive invoices from your customers and integrate them directly into SAP via a .pdf, SAP will ask you for help to recognize them the first time, but for the following times, it will have learned and will recognize them directly. Here is a video explaining this point.
And finally, predictive analytics that help you make decisions in real time. Employees can now:
Focus on tasks that influence activities;
Support the project managers to deliver according to customer expectations and profitability of the company;
Assist purchasing managers to anticipate contract renegotiations.
3 –SAP and its ecosystem
SAP has made new friends in its ecosystem, giving users the ability to meet most of their needs. By building an ecosystem with SAP solutions, integration with SAP is now delivered according to best practices. Indeed, on SAP best practices’ site, we can take note of all the possible integration with S4HC and to have access to the necessary steps to integrate the best possible solutions from the SAP ecosystem.
In the diagram below, see the different solutions that are part of this ecosystem:
4 – And finally, let’s not forget the Activate Methodology:
SAP has changed its methodology and now proposes to use the Activate methodology to implement the projects (this is also valid for Cloud or On-Premise solutions). It has a new approach and allows us to guide customers in a different way that better matches the new features of SAP.
This methodology is summarized in five key phases:
Discover: implementation of the strategy and decision that will define the direction to follow during the project.
Prepare: project preparation and explanation of how it will proceed: project schedules, kick-off meetings, etc.
Explore: customer discovery of SAP best practices and identification of gaps between them and its processes.
Realize: validation by the customer of what they wanted us to put in place, meaning where the configuration was made, as well as the tests.
Deploy: SAP’s go live
Administer: operations and monitoring of the proper functioning of the ERP.