In the nine months since I joined SAP, I have had the opportunity to get deeper on our products, meet smart, passionate people, and talk to customers. Plus, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) cloud opportunity has become clear to me: customers want SAP’s proven ERP capabilities to run their business and they want to take advantage of cloud.
That is what SAP S/4HANA Cloud is all about.
We deliver innovation on a regular basis, and we do not just deliver ERP capabilities that support new business processes and models, but also modern experiences that simplify the way people and businesses work. It is humbling to be able to do this, as many customers — such as PwC and Topcon — trust SAP S/4HANA Cloud to run their businesses. (Find more examples of customers and how they are using SAP S/4HANA Cloud here.)
I want to share some of the innovation highlights from the most recent August (2208) release.
Modern, Fast, Intuitive User Experience
The user experience (UX) of SAP S/4HANA Cloud lets users easily access business processes and data. We deliver tailored experiences across a wide range of devices, including laptops, tablets, and phones.
Our customers want an easy way for their user base to collaborate and make better decisions based on business data and processes. For example, there may be blocked sales orders or supply chain issues; you may need your sales team to review metrics or your marketing team to be aware of product delays. We make it easy for any user to collaborate using their preferred productivity tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Office, and Google Workspace.
Some of the new UX highlights in the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2208 release include:
- New Horizon theme that delivers a clean, beautiful user experience across devices in a light and dark mode.
- Building on the functionality of SAP Fiori launchpad, My Home orchestrates information, tasks, and applications so that you can do your job with speed and agility.
- Microsoft Teams integration offers easy sharing, plus a new export to Google Workspace capability, and an Excel add-in for analytics.
Best-in-Class Product and Service-Centric Functionality
We are committed to enabling all organizations to operate globally. Whether you are an organization that sells services or products, we deliver out-of-the-box pre-configured business processes built on industry best practices. We focus on time to value so you can be up and running quickly. We have even been recognized as cloud ERP leaders, both service-centric and product-centric, by analysts including IDC and Gartner.
Other 2208 highlights include:
Support for 47 local versions, meeting business and legal requirements, including Bulgaria, Colombia, Chile, and Qatar.
For service-centric industries, we are releasing functionality to improve project planning and project resource management. You can now simulate your planned revenue based on your defined activity types and service materials. It is also possible to improve resource matching in projects through consideration of historical assignments and maintain workforce data, including work agreements, directly in SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
For product-centric industries — alongside innovations to enhance the end-to-end process visibility and efficiency such as the advanced inter-company sales and stock transfer — we are introducing capabilities such as change impact analysis that reduce risk and costs of changes. To accelerate the pace and quality of decisions with an integrated information flow from planning to execution of an outbound transportation process, we are introducing the integration of transportation management and warehousing management for order-based planning.
Designed for Extensibility and Lifecycle Management
While SAP S/4HANA Cloud delivers a wide range of ready-to-use core capabilities, we know that customers and partners want flexibility to extend based on their business needs. With that in mind, extensibility is a key attribute of every scenario — not an afterthought. We deliver an extensive range of cloud APIs and tools to support these scenarios without compromising innovation updates. If you are curious about the different extensibility capabilities, check out the sample scenarios on the SAP Extensibility Explorer for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. The ABAP steampunk capability allows the building of extensions directly in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and makes extension options even more powerful.
Extensibility and lifecycle management highlights include:
SAP S/4HANA Cloud already offers extension capabilities for business users with a low-code/no-code tooling and the possibility to add functionality by developing apps on SAP Business Technology Platform. We will also provide an offering to implement new functionality directly on the SAP S/4HANA Cloud stack to realize development projects that need a tight coupling of business processes — in-app developer extensibility available via a three-system landscape (3SL).
We expect to make 3SL generally available in the near future. In addition to quality and production systems, we are adding a dedicated development system to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud system landscape, giving you a more powerful, granular, and transparent distribution of developments and configuration changes. You can continuously implement, test, and deploy, even during a software update period.
Immersive Analytics and Intelligence
Whether it is quick actions and insights on the home page, embedded analytics in different places, or recommended actions and automation based on your data and goals, we strive to make our users more productive.
Highlights of this release include:
The payment advice engine supports accountants by automating payment advice processing. This artificial intelligence-supported capability enables automatic matching and clearing of invoice and payment items while creating more transparency and reducing otherwise time-consuming tasks.
With carbon footprint analytics for purchasing documents, purchasers can gain more transparency on the carbon footprints of their products with material movements. The data can be analyzed across various dimensions, such as by product category or plant. A trend view analyzes the carbon footprint across a timeline.
And Much More
At SAP, we stand on the shoulders of giants: 50 years of leadership in industries, 50 years of business applications innovation, 110,000 employees, 23,500 partners, and more than 100 development locations worldwide. The numbers are impressive, but what matters most is how we can help our customers run their businesses efficiently and securely.
Arpan Shah is senior vice president of SAP S/4HANA Cloud at SAP.