Soccer team in a huddle

Three Ways SAP S/4HANA Finance Helps Businesses Run Live

Feature Article | April 20, 2016 by Derek Klobucher

Two of the U.S. Federal Reserve Banks aren’t playing well as a team. The New York Fed on Friday started delivering its own report on American gross-domestic-product growth, which is information that traders rely on — and insight that the Atlanta Fed has provided since 2014.

SAP S/4HANA Finance can help organizations invert their effort pyramid, streamlining themselves into seamless enterprises that spend most of their time and energy on strategy and growth.

SAP S/4HANA Finance can help organizations invert their effort pyramid, streamlining themselves into seamless enterprises that spend most of their time and energy on strategy and growth. Image via SAP

“The tussle underscores the rising investor demand for real-time snapshots on GDP,” The Wall Street Journal stated last week. “While U.S. economic data are widely viewed by many investors as the most reliable in the world, the reports typically are released with a lag, reducing their value to investors who are eager to get an edge on rivals in making and hedging directional bets.”

What’s more, the New York and Atlanta Feds’ numbers are different, which confuses investors — and highlights why it’s so important to get the same information to everyone on the team as quickly and seamlessly as possible: So they can instantly analyze, react and predict live and in real time.

Inverting the Effort Pyramid

New finance technologies are streamlining how organizations across industries work — and inverting the effort pyramid, a diagram in a recent SAP white paper about digital transformation in finance that illustrates how organizations spend their time and energy. The effort pyramid consists of three parts:

  1. Strategy and Growth: Open, adaptable platforms, deep analysis and rapid implementations have rescued this category from inflexible and complex business models.
  2. Business Performance: Self-service, real-time, deep-dive analytics with prediction and simulation capabilities replace information delays and manual processes.
  3. Compliance and Efficiency: What once took up most of an organization’s time is now automated, with end-to-end processes, business networks and real-time capabilities.

“We see a future in which finance organizations focus their efforts on developing and executing the organization’s strategy,” Thack Brown, general manager and global head for SAP’s Line of Business Finance (@SAPFinance), stated in the white paper. “A future in which all members of the organization — from the boardroom to the front lines — have the information they need to make decisions at the speed of thought.”

That means getting everyone across your seamless enterprise working from a single version of the truth via one platform. SAP calls this Run Live, and it will be the key message at SAPPHIRE NOW next month.

Casual Finance Users, Unite — and Run Live!

Now casual finance users can use relevant finance data to solve problems on their own, freeing up finance professionals for more critical tasks.

Now casual finance users can use relevant finance data to solve problems on their own, freeing up finance professionals for more critical tasks.

Organizations can Run Live by empowering everyone, even the casual finance user, with the right real-time data to execute with unprecedented agility and continuous control — from any location and via any device. For example, a salesperson in a seamless Live Business would have the power to see that an account is overdue — and take care of it right away, freeing up Finance to scale up in other ways.

SAP S/4HANA Finance (formerly SAP Simple Finance) enables this sort of live system strategy, as Innovabee Group learned, having gained real-time financial insights, increased financial efficiencies and improved business management. One if the first SAP S/4HANA customers, the German IT consultancy has also been able to:

  • Reduce by three days its average cycle time for clarifying open items
  • Shrink its days of sales outstanding by 12 percent
  • Improve transparency via real-time data and new reporting capabilities
  • Increase productivity through an enhanced UX and mobile access

“When using [SAP S/4HANA Finance] apps, you discover something new every day — a new reporting capability, a new view or new information,” Innovabee CEO Hansfrieder Weber said in a case study. “This not only creates extremely high efficiency, but it also opens the door to completely new opportunities.”

Opportunities Across Industries

Becoming a Live Business is about using real-time seamless digital technology to sense, respond, learn, adapt and predict. Reacting to events is no longer enough; a competitive live system can both create and meet customer demand — in the moment of opportunity.

Predictive analytics offers tremendous opportunities to help increase efficiency across industries.

Predictive analytics offers tremendous opportunities to help increase efficiency across industries.

“Across industries, predictive analytics has a great deal of potential to help increase efficiency,” SAP’s Henner Schliebs, vice president and head of Finance Audience Marketing, stated in Financial Executives International Daily last week. “For finance professionals who are taking on more responsibility than ever before, it can serve as a valuable tool to aid in planning, forecasting and decision-making.”

The American Automobile Association (AAA) uses next-generation predictive analytics for better understanding customer needs in real-time, enhancing marketing campaigns and reducing customer attrition, Schliebs noted; VELUX Group accurately predicts warranty cases for high-end products; and Live Oak Bank uses real-time analytics for faster and improved decision making.

Reimagine Your Business

During a 40-minute Strategic Topic Theater at SAPPHIRE NOW next month (Session ID LB37101), Brown will explain how SAP S/4HANA Finance can also help you optimize processes, run on-the-fly analysis and drive massive simplification. But don’t just take his word for it; you’ll also hear from New York Life, Siemens and CFO.com.

In addition to Brown’s presentation and seven demo stations, Finance sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW will also include four 20-minute theater presentations, 34 20-minute demo theater sessions and 12 40-minute interactive sessions. Topics will include digital core, digital customer experiences, digital supply networks and more …

… along with plenty of information on how to get everyone in your seamless digital organization to Run Live and play as a team.

Click here to register for SAPPHIRE NOW (#SAPPHIRENOW) and the ASUG Annual Conference (#ASUG2016), which will run concurrently from May 17 to May 19 in Orlando. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will speak on May 17, two days before Coldplay plays Concert Night.

Follow @SAPFinance on Twitter for real-time updates leading up to and during the conference. And follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.
Images via Shutterstock

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