SAP S/4HANA Movement: Four Steps Breaking the ERP Gridlock

Moving with the tide of change and disruption requires very nuanced decisions about the IT landscape. While the latest technologies are being chosen and deployed, the legacy core of business intelligence – the long-trusted enterprise resource planning (ERP) system – is begging for attention.

Competing in a world of highly digitalized interactions and connected customers also requires companies to run at the speed of the best real-time technology. Although, as warns, businesses that do not embrace this new reality with the right technology will inevitably cease to exist because they cannot keep up with the rest of the world.

The urgency for technological change may sound reasonable; however, according to IDC, 25 percent of most digital transformation budgets is still dedicated toward outdated legacy technologies. Considering their operational ERP systems are often more than 10 years old, businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable to a technical deficit that is a nightmare to rebuild.

Mind the ERP Gap

For SAP customers such as Otto Group, that is not a risk worth accepting. As one of the world’s largest online retailers, the enterprise knew that it needed to go beyond accelerating and boosting business processes. It also required the digital core capabilities of SAP S/4HANA  in order to set up a basis for delivering reliable, sustainable, and responsible consumer experiences with innovative technologies that span across three sectors, 30 countries, and over 123 group companies.

With the continuous collaboration and the right level of support from the SAP S/4HANA Movement program, Otto Group developed a winning transition strategy. By attending the adoption starter engagement, a virtual classroom course for customers led by SAP experts, the company sped up the adoption of SAP S/4HANA and secured its future value by fleshing out its transition strategy. Plus, the course supported the development of a road map and explained the intelligent tools – such as the SAP Transformation Navigator and SAP Readiness Check tools – available to run a comprehensive technical analysis of the company’s current system landscape.

Once the benefits of the intelligent ERP were understood, Otto Group assessed the product portfolio and relevant deployment strategies. Otto Group learned about the availability of data cleansing, conversion, and migration tools; management of custom code; and the latest guidance on change management.

The beautiful part of the company’s story is not just the successful completion of an adoption starter engagement and a finalized transformation plan for moving to SAP S/4HANA. The real value of the SAP S/4HANA Movement program is the creation of a long-term yet flexible foundation across the entire journey. The assets, tools, and services offered from a go-to-market view, and the implementation of future innovations, all play distinct roles in helping to ensure continued business growth.

Clear the Way to a New Era of Intelligence

For over 3,000 SAP customers with live deployments of SAP S/4HANA, and 6,200 others that are in the process of moving, SAP S/4HANA Movement is advancing SAP S/4HANA capabilities without disruption while empowering the workforce with the right tools. However, this is not just a matter of running a traditional implementation process. A standardized, highly prescriptive approach helps ensure SAP S/4HANA delivers expected outcomes today and is ready to reveal its full potential in the long run.

SAP’s desire for an outcome-focused delivery of SAP S/4HANA inspired the shape of the framework for SAP S/4HANA Movement. The program has four fundamental steps, called the standardized customer journey.

1. Define your strategy

This phase of SAP S/4HANA Movement allows customers to understand the reasons for moving to SAP S/4HANA. With formats like “Move in Motion: and the SAP S/4HANA simulation game, SAP makes clear the importance of the digital core and what support and benefits SAP S/4HANA brings to businesses.

This opportunity allows customers to become familiar with critical innovations such as a modern user interface (UI), the conversational UI of a co-pilot offering, and embedded analytics. Plus, they can explore how digitalization is changing the ways of business. For example, SAP discusses how machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) automate and simplify processes as well as enable real-time capabilities that are urgently needed to keep up with the rest of the world. With SAP S/4HANA, businesses can also boost productivity, empower new revenue, accelerate time-to-value, reduce IT costs, and simplify their IT landscapes.

In addition, customers can gain a better understanding of the entire value management cycle and the SAP tools and services that support the management and measurement of key performance indicators over time. Although the second step is the first step of the value journey, all subsequent stages require specific value management activities to help prove the success of the transformation.

2. Make your case

With a deep appreciation for the uniqueness of every customer, this step is dedicated to personalized guidance. Customers can discover the tangible value of SAP S/4HANA for their businesses and dive into their goals and challenges when considering its adoption. Whether they take advantage of a self-guided planning approach, SAP S/4HANA Adoption Starter Engagement, or SAP S/4HANA Value Discovery Engagement, customers can create their transformation plans in an expert-guided environment and gain the clarity they need to move forward with deployment.

By utilizing the expertise within the individual engagement types, SAP customers can reflect and answer critical questions that level-set their deployment expectations. These questions include:

  • Which tools are available to support my planning needs, and how do I use them?
  • What are the innovative drivers for my business, and how do I leverage them?
  • What roles do the different teams play during the planning phase?
  • How much involvement is needed from SAP?

3. Consider your options

To optimize the path to SAP S/4HANA, SAP experts help customers match business objectives to possible deployment options – on premise, private cloud, public cloud, or hybrid environments. Intelligent tools, including SAP Transformation Navigator, SAP Readiness Check, and our maintenance planner, enable customers to make fact-driven decisions and choose the products and deployment options that meet their requirements.

Based on the outcome, SAP services help determine the expected transformation effort and deployment strategy as well as the accelerators needed to execute a project. For example, SAP Integrated Delivery Framework – a collaboration model with premium SAP partners for the effective delivery of projects – and the SAP Advanced Deployment service help customers prepare for engagement.

4. Build your future

SAP supports the realization of its customers’ visions well beyond the implementation of SAP S/4HANA.

By considering the multiple dimensions of deployment, the SAP S/4HANA Movement program continues to build and improve solutions to help SAP customers push forward the future success of their businesses with confidence:

  • Choice of deployment lead: To help ensure that the implementation of SAP S/4HANA is safeguarded, value-assuring, and fully adopted at pace with and using the level of guidance that is most comfortable for customers, SAP has developed different methodologies and frameworks for both SAP and partner-led deployment projects. For example, the SAP Integrated Delivery Framework and SAP Advanced Deployment programs follow the same approaches while leveraging individual strengths.
  • Support for all customer segments: Smaller business partners experience the same level of confidence with SAP. Several engagement models have been collaboratively developed within the SAP ecosystem that accelerate SAP S4/HANA implementation. Two strong examples of our innovation are conversion factories, a technical upgrade with a fixed price, as well as solution packages enhanced with intelligence built-in by partners.
  • Intelligent tools and services: Reducing the cost of implementation is an area of continuous improvement. SAP invests in tools that automate essential cost-driving activities such as code adjustments, pre-configurations, and data transitions.
  • Best-practice approach: Customers want to deploy SAP S/4HANA quickly with ready-to-run, pre-configured solutions based on years of SAP expert industry and line-of-business know-how. SAP Model Company provides those services and combines them with tailorable service packages of long-term, highly accountable, and flexible safeguarding solutions that are offered by SAP Value Assurance services and other premium engagement models.

Make the Move to SAP S/4HANA

ERP systems have seen their share of change in recent years. While everything else looks shiny and new, these systems remain an untouched core of business intelligence – as long as they work well within the rest of the ecosystem. There lies the problem. New technologies will soon demand higher workloads, greater speeds, and broader extensions. These capabilities are best enabled by intelligent ERP like SAP S/4HANA.

The SAP S/4HANA Movement program is designed to clear the right path to lasting digital transformation. By offering a series of deliberate, structured steps, SAP is helping customers simplify their IT landscapes and increase agility in smooth, hassle-free ways. Most importantly, business needs are clarified, unnecessary complexities are weeded out, and operations are connected within a fully-functioning, reliable network of real-time insight and action.

Bjoern Braemer is head of SAP S/4HANA Movement at SAP.