I have a pretty good view of the overall SAP S/4HANA market in Europe – what’s going on and what stage implementation or thought processes are at. My thinking evolves all the time, and I am sure that it will have changed in another few months. Currently, however, it is based on seven Ws. While I am not going to provide full details here, I will say that the order in which you approach these Ws is quite important. In summary, the seven Ws are:
- Why – What is the case for moving to SAP S/4HANA? There are many approaches, tools, and benchmarks that can be used to develop a business case, but my biggest learning is not just to look at what SAP is doing at the moment and the long-term, reduced cost of IT associated with an SAP S/4 HANA implementation. It’s worth investing some time up front at the beginning of the process to decide what you could do with SAP S/4HANA if it did more for your business, was a platform, brought in all the data you could dream of to run your business available immediately, and every device employee, partner, etc. were connected to it. It’s not just using SAP, it’s about connecting SAP S/4HANA to new solutions, equipment, and technology and exploring the opportunities of creating an enterprise of the future.
- What – From the “why” you will be able to work out what you need when the SAP S/4HANA transformation is complete (i.e., IoT, the blockchain, data lakes, etc.). This will include things you may not have now. You will also need to consider the intermediate states and what is needed on the journey to the new SAP S/4HANA platform (i.e., orchestration, MDM, and tools such as SLO, etc.).
- HoW – Assuming you know what you have now and, from step two know where you are going, you can work out how to move across in an approach that minimizes risk and cost, and maximizes benefits. The approach to migration is important. It is unlikely that anyone with a complex estate who is transforming can do it one step. Companies such as Capgemini have developed tools to help with this, making sure all interdependencies have been accounted for and quick wins identified. (Please note that there is a W in this but it’s at the end). This will include if you are going brown, or greenfield. You will also choose your hosting platform (preferably cloud).
- When – Once you have the “what” and the “how,” you can work out the “when.” This is really the part of the SAP S/4HANA migration planning that becomes more mechanical. Again, companies such as Capgemini have a strong set of tools to work out how long each element will take and provide accurate estimation for timing.
- Who – From the “when” and the “what” it is fairly easy to work out “who” is needed and by “when” they are needed. For example, you may need to develop skills in the orchestration layer and APIs before you need the core SAP S/4HANA.
- The WoW effect (the last two Ws) – This is a new SAP S/4HANA platform that provides value, innovation, and differentiation for years to come.
Many of you may dispute this approach, and as I said, it will evolve as new technologies and innovation are brought to the table. But I do recommend that you start on the first three Ws before you say you have a clear plan and all the time you need to move to SAP S/4HANA.
Please reach out to me personally if you would like to discuss the opportunity to create the WoW effect in your enterprise.