June 10, 2020

The Road to S/4HANA and How to Navigate It

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On February 27, 2020, Scalefocus CEO, Plamen Tsekov and SAP on Azure Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft, Jan Třetina welcomed a crowd of over 40 business innovators and thought leaders, introducing the topic of “The Road to S/4HANA and How to Navigate It” at Scalefocus’ office in Sofia. 

Speakers included Zdravko Peshakov, Sales Executive at SAP and Ladislava Poláková, CEE SAP Partner and Development Manager at Microsoft, who shared the benefits of migrating to a SAP S4/HANA environment.  

Pavlin Dyankov, VP of Business Solutions and EAM at Scalefocus gave practical tips on how businesses can accelerate the migration process, along with reasons to choose Scalefocus as a strategic SAP partner. It was an action-packed day with valuable expert insight, so we decided to provide you with the key takeaways of the event.  

It’s Time to Make a Move 

According to Gartner, SAP has a current global market share of 22% in the ERP industry. Compared to other ERP software platforms, the company continues to stand out from competitors with its fully integrated and modular environment, SAP Cloud Platform app builder with simple extension of functionality, and the best-in-class SAP Fiori UX design seamlessly connecting people and data.  

Early this year, SAP CEO Christian Klein, announced that the company has decided to discontinue support for its premise-based Business Suite 7 (ECC) applications by 2027, favouring its cloud-based SAP S/4HANA, and offering optional extended maintenance until 2030. This news has pushed 56% of businesses who rely on SAP in order to run smoothly, to devise a coherent migration strategy. 

Many SAP customers contemplating the move to S/4HANA are feeling stuck. Custom installations seem too complex, and retooling would prove to be costly and ineffective losing precious time. In addition, internal stakeholders are protesting against any changes to essential applications in case they lead to major disruptions in established norms and processes. Customers may seem hesitant to accept new interfaces and layouts. So what is the best approach to take?  

Businesses must recognize and acknowledge the significance of a cloud computing environment on the digital transformation of their enterprise. Keeping in mind the cloud’s flexibility, speed, scalability, and security, a responsible leader’s next step should be to proactively leverage the benefits by accelerating migration to SAP S/4HANA the proper way. Let us guide you in the right direction. 

Convince the Decision-Makers 

It’s important to communicate the benefits of migrating to SAP S/4HANA confidently with C-level executives. A business must have the unanimous support of senior management, as they are usually the decision makers. For that to happen, they need to be convinced of the migration in relation to the company’s strategic effort towards a complete digital transformation. 

In the process of such a transformation, the following positive outcomes can be expected: 

  • Reduced time to market. New features can be deployed in half the time or less. 
  • Better user experience. Make the customer journey valuable and exciting. 
  • Integration of new technologies. Make use of powerful AI and machine learning tools. 
  • Cost-reducing automations. Optimize resources and automate accounts payable cycles with SAP Ariba. 
  • Higher performance rates through the latest coding conventions and automated updates. 
  • Security that is engrained and no last-minute measures. 
  • Smoother business processes through predictive analytics (HANA AFL) and automation. 

Take A Course of Action 

To keep the S/4HANA migration process moving along smoothly, C-level executives have the power to establish a clear path towards a successful digital transformation. Here is how you can help them accelerate the process: 

  1. Make your organization change-resilient. 
  1. Evolve to a hybrid multi-cloud strategy. 
  1. Standardize where you can. Customize where it matters. 
  1. Plan for the long term. Measure in the short term. 
  1. Partner with a SAP expert. 

Step 1: Prepare for Change-Resilience  

To alleviate any disapproval and minimize the stress around the migration to SAP S4HANA, the right tone must be set. First and foremost, it should be communicated why the change is happening, and that this will be the new normal going forward.  

Employees need to understand and be aware of the competitive advantages that the change will bring. They should gradually accept the change and try their best to adapt to shifts in their work processes, including possible routine software updates, and introduction of new technologies.  

Step 2: Evolve to a Multi-Cloud Strategy 

Recent research by Frost & Sullivan reports that 65% of businesses worldwide prefer to use a “cloud-first” strategy, leaving everything else on-premise due to fears of compliance, network latency and migration. In such cases, confusion about the true definition of “the cloud” still remains 

Instead of serving as a software delivery model, the cloud is falsely being defined as simply a place. It should be noted, that SAP S/4HANA offers several deployment options. You can run cloud applications from your own data centre or a public, private, or hybrid cloud configuration. The choice is yours.  

We suggest adopting a holistic multi-cloud strategy that . You may be required to invest in retooling the software and migrating databases, but the benefits will be worth it. A Frost & Sullivan survey demonstrated a 79% satisfaction with a hybrid cloud solution, with 77% reporting the ease of migration across public cloud and premises environments. 

Step 3: Standardize to Bring Great Results 

By using the same properties, tools, actions we establish a conformity which brings along consistency and regularity with it. In that sense, standardizing gives us the confidence to feel secure and confident in the quality of work produced. 

Customization of a series of tiresome business processes is increasingly being replaced by the implementation of standardized execution through software like SAP S4/HANA. Businesses are quickly realizing its advantages in the form of streamlined processes and faster service delivery, and are leaving customization only where it matters most. 

By limiting customization of software to only the unique features that differentiate you from competitors and that align with your strategic business goals, your company will be able to focus on maximizing functionality and flexibility at a fraction of the cost. 

When transitioning from SAP Business Suite to SAP S/4HANA, you should be aware that you will no longer waste time in customizing installations that bring along errors and difficulty leveraging functionality. Instead, you’ll be freeing up greater time towards developing innovative new solutions that will put you ahead in the market. 

Step 4: Keep Accountability in Check 

It’s critical to keep your team focused and in sync with the migration timeline. SAP S/4HANA should not simply be dismissed and postponed for a later time. Rather than pushing it as a cumbersome initiative, the migration can viewed as an exciting journey towards a complete digital transformation. 

To ensure a smooth journey, businesses should allocate a sufficient budget and form a dedicated staff that understands the entire scope of the project. All business leaders should be held accountable for meeting deadlines, as well as assigning and closely monitoring resources such as adherence to governance policies and usability testing.  

Step 5: Partner with a SAP Expert 

By choosing the right SAP partner, you will be able to deliver services to employees quicker, use predictive analytics to minimize IT costs, and optimize the overall performance of the SAP platform. Make sure you consider the following aspects when choosing a SAP partner to work with: 

  • A long-established working relationship with a portfolio of features to prove it. 
  • The right cloud for your unique workload. 
  • Flexible deployments that support a hybrid cloud strategy. 
  • A team of SAP experts that have knowledge in all running versions of SAP.  
  • An impressive track record managing SAP S/4 HANA for similar firms like yours. 
  • Retooling and optimization of SAP workloads according to your business strategy. 
  • A grasp of modern technologies that will help accelerate growth and profit. 

Scalefocus has a long worldwide experience with large-scale SAP projects and has focused industry knowledge in various domains including banking, retail, eCommerce, Telco, FMCG, IT, manufacturing, oil and gas. We deliver on our promise to provide guidance through the entire digital transformation of a business. In addition, we offer flexible delivery models, fully supporting a hybrid multi-cloud strategy, allowing essential components to remain on-premise if needed.  

Get in touch with our SAP experts to discover how we can help you migrate to SAP S4/HANA swiftly and achieve your long-term business goals. 

Six Tips to Ensure Success 

In addition to the five-step plan outlined above, here are six tips we believe will ensure success during your migration to SAP S/4HANA. 

  1. Get the executive team onboard.  
  2. Align budget and staff resources. 
  3. Choose an expert partner to work with. 
  4. Set timelines for key milestones. 
  5. Require readouts of progress. 
  6. Communicate regularly with all employees.
     

We’ve Got More Events Coming 

We hope this event recap gave you greater insight on the benefits and process of migrating to a SAP S4/HANA environment. Make sure you follow us on social media to receive updates on upcoming online events, live webinars and featured podcasts.