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SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1708 Release Highlights

Feature Article | August 7, 2017 by Christian Pedersen

The latest SAP S/4HANA Cloud release is now available and – as ever – we’re excited to unveil a range of new updates designed to help you achieve better business outcomes.

The third release from 2017 is 1708 and it further enhances user experience and machine learning as part of our commitment to equip customers with the world’s first intelligent cloud ERP. These advances underpin key innovations in finance, procurement, manufacturing, and professional services, all driven by customer and partner feedback.

Finance and Procurement

Replacing the manual aspects of day-to-day finance with automation is a core focus at SAP S/4HANA Cloud. For the latest update, we’ve taken aim at financial transactions and reporting on currency risks by including treasury management. Treasury deals such as fixed term deposits, FX forwards, and interest rate swaps can be managed with ease.

Treasury management lets you always be fully informed about your exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency rates with a combination of a real-time position analysis based on automatic cash flow forecasts and an integrated market data feed. You can also see what hedging you have in place to manage risks, so you always know exactly what your net exposure is.

There are further updates to risk management, contract and lease management, and debt and investment management.

Integration with SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning streamlines the financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting processes. Procurement professionals can improve operation efficiency by flexible procurement workflows, managing legal content related to processes, and improving insights with a single purchasing analytics dashboard.

Centralized hub deployment allows customers to run purchase requisition processes as a shared service center capability. Customers can connect multiple back-end systems to a central SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Workflow settings, catalog content management, or organizational user settings only need to take place once and not in every single back-end system, thus helping reduce TCO tremendously for our customers.

Manufacturing

In manufacturing, we have delivered major innovations in demand driven replenishment and advanced variant configuration, as well as updates in other areas.

In this release, demand driven replenishment helps you plan and manage supply chains efficiently based on customer demand. It helps create the basis for a reliable material flow by defining buffers at strategically important points and adjusting these buffers regularly.

On an operational base, the replenishment of demand-driven-relevant products is ensured by using a new demand-driven MRP procedure based on buffer levels resulting in optimal replenishment order. This helps to avoid the “bull-whip effect,” where the variation demand increases up the supply chain from customer to supplier –  in production by providing decoupling points with strategic stock positions.

With the enablement of advanced variant configuration, we can efficiently model the configurable product with a configurable BOM, so your business process can handle highly individualized products in sales and manufacturing. This means you can extend make-to-stock and make-to -order production with variant configuration.

Elsewhere, updates include enabling the integration of physical warehouses operated by third-party warehouse management solutions (warehouse management systems, or WMS) to SAP S/4HANA Cloud to cover sales and procurement processes.

Professional Services

In professional services, we have delivered major innovations throughout the commercial project life cycle to help our customers focus on adding value for their customers. Updates include advances in resource scheduling (RSH), time and expense management, project profitability and more.

Direct staffing from the RSH application now allows resource managers to create assignments for resource requests (project work package roles) to the best fitting resources. A dashboard of the graphical assignment board gives a clearer view of actual assignments to give the transparency you need on resource assignments – from a monthly, weekly, and even down to the daily view. If a consultant, for instance, is booked to several projects at the same time, the assignment board makes this visible.  A simulation of key figures also shows how assignments would affect utilization and other key measurables.

In the time and expense management, we have added a line manager role, who can work across their whole team. The new team utilization app analyzes the utilization rate of the manager’s team and provides insight to keep them fully utilized.

An overview shows the number of billable, non-billable, approved, unapproved, and total recorded hours to help drive team-wide performance improvements. The line manager can also edit time sheets on behalf of an employee to ensure a fast and efficient billing process without unnecessary delays.

Another exciting update is the project profitability overview page. This dashboard gives real-time information so you can comprehensively monitor your running projects, gain overview on margins and WIP for your area of responsibility, and easily filter and drill down on various reporting dimensions, such as sales organization, profit center, product group, resource, and many others. It allows you to focus on important KPIs for revenue, costs, and profitability for your projects.

Global Focus

To better enable global operations, SAP S/4HANA Cloud now supports core functionality for financial planning, consolidation, and profitability that works across subsidiaries.

  • Upload data and allocate cash to subsidiaries while consolidating reporting at headquarters
  • Use subsidiaries as local sales offices with order-to-cash and inventory management
  • Run plan-to-produce processes to manage subsidiaries as production units that use headquarters as an internal supplier

SAP S/4HANA Cloud includes new regulatory support for Sweden and Ireland, new language support — including Arabic, Chinese, Swedish, Korean, and Italian — and a new data center in Osaka, Japan. This takes the support we offer enterprises to 25 countries and in 15 languages. More updates are planned to be delivered in November to further help deliver fantastic business outcomes supported by our intelligent ERP: SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Please visit the SAP S/4HANA Cloud page for more detailed information.

Christian Pedersen is chief product officer for SAP S/4HANA Cloud

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