To meet the current challenges in the business world, companies need an IT system landscape that is at the cutting edge of technology. It can be used to achieve ambitious growth targets and strengthen resilience to unexpected changes and global crises. As the central core of the IT architecture, SAP S/4HANA fully meets these requirements. So there are good arguments for companies to switch from their previous ERP system to SAP S/4HANA. For the changeover to succeed, they must be aware of the fact that SAP S/4HANA has an impact on almost every business area. Accordingly, the approach should be holistic. A purely technical perspective falls short and does not lead to the desired results.
Conception as a decisive success factor
The introduction of SAP S/4HANA is not a pure IT project, but a strategic project. This means that management must stand behind the project and proactively drive the digital transformation. At the same time, all stakeholders must be involved right from the start to ensure a high level of acceptance of the project. The conception phase is of crucial importance in the SAP S/4HANA project. If you set the right course at the planning stage, you will later benefit from a harmonized process landscape and an IT environment that helps to massively increase digital value creation.
A careful conception takes into account the effects of SAP S/4HANA on all areas of the company. It is crucial to pick up on the strategic direction – growth targets, new business models, sustainability goals, etc. – and align the SAP S/4HANA roadmap accordingly. A clear target architecture of the future SAP landscape with SAP S/4HANA as the digital core ensures the seamless interaction of all IT applications in the company. If the conception of the future process landscape is given sufficient priority in the SAP S/4HANA project and the corresponding time and personnel resources are made available, the actual implementation along the standard functionalities provided by SAP S/4HANA can then take place comparatively quickly.
More efficient, more productive, faster and cheaper
SAP S/4HANA accelerates the digitization of companies and offers the opportunity to realign their business processes. This makes companies more flexible and better able to respond to rapidly changing conditions and market requirements. More efficient processes mean higher productivity, shorter processing times and lower costs. In the medium to long term, therefore, the greater expense incurred for the realignment of processes and for digital transformation as part of the SAP S/4HANA implementation will pay off.
Mapping end-to-end business processes in SAP S/4HANA optimizes value chains. The existing processes must be put to the test with a view to integration, standardization, and automation, and adapted if necessary. The point is to put the company’s processes on a digital footing. Only then can SAP S/4HANA develop its full potential. Processes that have grown historically and become increasingly complex can now be significantly simplified and streamlined with new functionalities that SAP S/4HANA brings with it.
Intelligent technologies for meaningful analyses
Business processes are supported by intelligent automation. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning increases the efficiency and effectiveness of processes. Even with large data volumes, the in-memory technology of the SAP HANA database ensures high performance, fast access to relevant information, and real-time analysis of business data and key performance indicators. Powerful reporting functionalities give users a precise overview of operational development at any time and reveal potential for improvement. Thanks to the simplified data model, companies reduce their data volume by up to 50%, which means significantly lower storage requirements. Managing the IT landscape becomes easier and more cost-effective.
The user-friendliness of SAP S/4HANA is also higher than with past ERP generations from SAP. Intuitive SAP Fiori apps offer clear user interfaces – even on mobile devices. Users can perform tasks flexibly and benefit from an optimized user experience. With the help of new role concepts, employees only access the applications that are relevant to them.
Deployment in the private cloud or the public cloud
Switching to SAP S/4HANA also offers the opportunity to make the move to the cloud and thus save on maintenance and operating costs. As a cloud version, SAP S/4HANA enables a particularly fast return on investment. Lower total cost of ownership, relief for the company’s own IT department and higher scalability are further advantages. SAP S/4HANA is available in both the private cloud and the public cloud. If companies would like to operate SAP S/4HANA in the cloud, the full-service offering RISE with SAP could be an attractive option for the switch.
Change management: Taking people with you
Experience shows that organizational structures must also be adapted to the new digital realities. Employees must therefore adapt not only to new technologies, but also to changed processes. For this reason, change management is an essential part of any strategically designed SAP S/4HANA project. Employees must be shown the added value of the new software and the optimized processes in order to get them excited about the upcoming innovations. Attention must also be paid to comprehensive, regular communication in order to anchor the digital transformation in the company across the board.
Conclusion: Digital infrastructure with SAP S/4HANA
SAP S/4HANA creates the conditions for successful digitization. With it, companies achieve the required level of flexibility and speed they need for digital business models and achieve higher value creation. In addition, SAP S/4HANA enables the processing of large volumes of data in real time. Meaningful analyses create the necessary transparency for corporate decisions and continuous improvements. This enables companies to manage their business efficiently.
SAP S/4HANA is also attractive in terms of running costs. Depending on the deployment type, fewer expenses are incurred for hardware, operation, and maintenance. This gives companies greater financial flexibility, which they can use specifically for the further development of the company or the establishment of new business models.