How Small and Midsize Businesses Get in the Fast Lane with SAP S/4HANA

Digitizing all aspects of a business can have a profound impact on speed and efficiency across the board – especially for a small or midsize company. How a company gets there is just as important as the technology and tools chosen.

Fundamentally, most digital technologies provide possibilities for efficiency gains and customer intimacy. However, when organizations lack the right mindset to change, choose the wrong applications, or miss critical steps, they introduce and amplify the impact of significant flaws throughout their digital strategy.

Two tools offered by SAP are eliminating this experience for many small and midsize businesses as they convert their existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to SAP S/4HANA. Now, companies are acknowledging and embracing key digital trends as they define their paths toward the same rewards that their largest competitors achieve.

SAP Transformation Navigator

The SAP Transformation Navigator  tool provides real-world guidance, visualizes the entire transformation journey, and details relevant business cases – all based on a company’s business and IT needs, current technology use, and strategic goals. Plus, for SAP customers engaged in an active maintenance contract, it is a free opportunity to access essential advice as well as product options.

This self-service tool generates detailed recommendations, opening the door to significant advantages such as:

  • Understanding a company’s capabilities and value drivers to accelerate and ease the transformation of its IT landscape
  • Summarizing a product road map with a reference map to identify SAP solutions that support business evolution in ways that are relevant to a company’s industry and organizational values
  • Outlining a digital journey and next steps in order to develop, deliver, and continuously improve a new digital platform that runs the right applications

SAP Readiness Check for SAP S/4HANA

The SAP Readiness Check tool performs a holistic system analysis to set the foundation for a smooth, fast, and successful conversion from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA. A dashboard experience, offers access to the customized insights necessary to plan an efficient, cost-effective move to SAP S/4HANA – from a high-level overview to a detailed view.

This self-service tool gives a company personalized, functional, and technical guidance by tapping into data on the usage and configuration of its deployment of SAP ERP Central Component.

Months before implementation begins, this information is used to:

  • Explore relevant simplification items
  • Plan project activities related to simplification items
  • Reference functional implications for new solution deployment
  • Simulate sizing
  • Manage data volume
  • Address integration requirements
  • Adapt custom code
  • Discover business processes
  • Evaluate add-on compatibility
  • Apply recommended SAP Fiori apps

The beauty of these foundational analysis tools is the ability to dissect the capabilities of digital advancements. The tools can quickly find new ways to help users interact with existing technologies and guide the future direction of the business.

Learning the Real Truth Behind a Transformative Future

The outcomes from SAP Transformation Navigator and SAP Readiness Check are also delivering an edge that goes even deeper. In fact, small and midsize companies are learning critical lessons about a future of substantial improvement, transformation, and long-term, sustainable growth.

Lesson #1: Every user is different
When working on experiences that satisfy customers, businesses often forget that every user – customer and employee alike – engages with them at different starting points, through various systems, and with unique needs. The key is to go beyond customer experience to assess individual business situations and revenue management.

Lesson #2: The realized outcomes of one solution is different for every department
When considering technology such as SAP S/4HANA, it can be challenging to imagine how individual organizations will be impacted. For example, finance leaders may want to know the benefits of combining finance and cost-controlling functionalities to enable periodic soft closes. Meanwhile, logistics areas will likely relate better to the possibilities of deploying comprehensive scheduling capabilities.

Lesson #3: A company’s own innovations and strategic ideas still matter
One of the most exciting prospects of SAP S/4HANA is process automation supported by iterative support. Yet, integrating existing technology with ERP without additional complexity and cultural resistance can be equally impressive. This method allows for the design and delivery of new capabilities, processes, business models, and user experiences that meet customer expectations today and empower employees to exceed them tomorrow.

Lesson #4: Successful conversions happen with a “fundamentals first” approach
The key to a successful conversion to SAP S/4HANA is addressing essential capabilities during the project and leaving room in the strategy to focus on innovative topics afterward.

One prime example is designing a new user experience (UX), in which a live deployment of SAP S/4HANA is a prerequisite. This tactic allows you to integrate new technologies, such as the SAP Fiori UX, across the entire IT landscape to deliver the most engaging platform for all users.

In this case, the lesson is clear: Delivering capabilities that serve as foundations for future change and innovation allows businesses to benefit the most from digitalization.

Lesson #5: Your employees are the real reason for business transformation
The excitement around today’s latest crop of digital technology is not lost on small and midsize businesses. However, the guidance and advice that are available to help them choose the right applications and implement them successfully is often limited. Businesses should remember to focus on the people that are enabling the change: employees.

Navigating the Best Path to Digital Readiness and Transformation

In many ways, running a software implementation, conversion, or migration is like taking a road trip. There is a starting point and a destination with a series of turns, construction zones, traffic jams, and bridges in between. Sometimes drivers will even visit a rest stop or two to refuel their cars, reassess their directions, and recharge.

Unfortunately, this experience rarely ever runs smoothly without a map or GPS. Wrong turns are made. Additional gallons of gas are purchased unexpectedly. And, eventually, the arrival to the final destination is delayed, which may mean missing the reason for the road trip.

Such mistakes can make any business change-hesitant – especially small and midsize companies. SAP is supporting that change with SAP Transformation Navigator and SAP Readiness Check. Small and midsize business can now gain precise “maps” that detail strategy, technology adoption sequence, and pace of change for the conversion to SAP S/4HANA.

Next in the “Enterprise Architecture and Landscape Strategy” series, learn why monolithic systems may not fit the future of IT architecture.

Stay in the conversation by following SAP Digital Business Services on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Christina Grewe is an enterprise IT architect and integration specialist at SAP.

This article first appeared on the SAP News Center.