Guest blog by Simon Carpenter, Centre of Expertise Lead, SAP UK & Ireland
I’m not surprised many businesses find it tough committing to an SAP S/4HANA upgrade.
I’ve seen plenty of enterprises who have spent the last ten years or more fine-tuning their ERP and business processes until the whole thing is humming like a top.
Disrupting that is a daunting prospect, and while you can’t get around the fact that your existing platform needs to change, that alone doesn’t make a compelling business case.
Yet migration to a digital-ready ERP designed for tomorrow’s economy can deliver transformational benefits across the enterprise, from productivity to employee engagement, from customer experience to innovation.
Understanding this wide-ranging and fundamental potential for your business turns the business case into a compelling one with real, measurable business benefits – way beyond a mere technology upgrade.
This two-part blog explores the transformational benefits and touches on ways to mitigate the transition challenge.
How can SAP S/4HANA make a transformational difference?
SAP S/4HANA is much more than just a new software version. Making the case for upgrade means understanding the key business challenges it addresses in ways a legacy ERP cannot.
I see five key business challenges where SAP S/4HANA can deliver a transformational difference; productivity, employee engagement, customer experience, innovation, and sustainability.
Productivity – maximizing ROI on all your assets
Productivity is about maximizing the return on investment in every asset, not just employees but machinery, trucks, IT servers, and the rest.
Traditional ERP platforms follow a recording and reporting pattern, recording events and reporting them to people who act on the information to trigger other events.
Today’s fast-moving business environments demand much higher levels of automation.
SAP S/4HANA enables businesses to leverage capabilities like machine learning, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT), to engineer automated feedback loops.
McKinsey identified intelligent process automation as the engine for next-generation operating models.
Adapting to change becomes automated and instant, with recording and reporting a by-product of the system rather than its raison d’être.
Productivity from all assets increases, freeing up employees for higher-value tasks.
Employee engagement – reaching the 87%
In a 2019 Gartner Survey, only 13% of employees said they were largely satisfied with their work experience. This must be a concern for business leaders.
Quality of digital engagement is a large part of the day-to-day working environment which is key to employee satisfaction.
While automation is often seen as a threat to employees, moving to a platform like SAP S/4HANA can increase engagement, removing the kind of repetitive transactions a legacy ERP demands.
SAP S/4HANA’s role-based, mobile-enabled Fiori interface increases employee engagement, reducing the number of process steps where employees need to be involved while facilitating and encouraging their key interactions.
With slick business processes, SAP S/4HANA helps take away the often-expressed employee frustration in dealing with clunky, bureaucratic IT.
Customer – getting what your customers want, quickly
SAP S/4HANA consolidates business system elements in a single platform, enabling insights through step improvements in the speed and range of data analysis and feedback into the business process.
None of those inputs may mean anything to me as a customer, but the outputs – rapid, consistent delivery, increased value, and agile response to my changing needs and demands – mean a great deal.
Innovation – the agility of moving as one
Just as innovation in film photography was always slowed and hampered by the number of non-integrated processes, fragmented business systems and processes place a drag on innovation in enterprises today.
SAP S/4HANA transforms businesses in much the same way as mobile phones transformed photography, it facilitates the kind of integration, automation, and data-fuelled insight-driven action which supports robust and effective innovation at pace.
This enables businesses to innovate constantly, adapting business models rapidly to meet the demands of the digital market.
Sustainability – shrinking your IT footprint
Whether it’s in the cloud or on-premise, bringing core business system components together as an integrated platform delivers substantial productivity gains, reducing IT total cost of ownership.
Just as important, it creates a smaller environmental footprint than an estate of legacy ERP and other, fragmented business systems, delivering the kind of sustainability we urgently need.
Real business value in a disrupted world
In this COVID-19 disrupted world, it is more vital than ever that companies enhance their insight, agility, control, and the ability to execute so they can contend with very dynamic conditions. SAP S/4HANA delivers benefits such as:
- 50% reduction in billing process time – better managing precious cash flows
- 90% planning efficiency improvement – improving responsiveness to change
- 100% visibility of inventory across all locations – conserving working capital and improving supply chain resilience
In the second part of this blog, we’ll look at how to make the move to SAP S/4HANA.
Preparing to make a move to SAP S/4HANA? Watch the OpenText™ on-demand webinar to learn how to reduce migration costs and be successful. Click here to register.
Simon Carpenter is the Centre of Expertise Lead for SAP UK & Ireland. In his role, he harnesses the diverse talent, expertise, and experience of SAP experts to help customers innovate, disrupt, and run better. Simon has 25+ years of experience supporting both private and public sector organizations of all sizes and across sectors with their digital transformations. Simon is deeply committed to creating a better future for all through the intelligent use of digital technologies.