A MOVE party – The SAP S/4HANA way

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Oppenheimer often quoted the Latin phrase “docendo discimus” (For those of you, whose Latin isn’t as fluent as mine: “the best way to learn is to teach”). My excellent virtual breakfast meeting with SAP earlier this week, exchanging views on the Move to SAP S/4HANA, made me recollect this adage.

We’ve all sat at typical meetings, where SAP would show partners how to accelerate to SAP S/4HANA, then the partners would present their approach, then SAP in-turn would present their new approach, and everyone would end the meeting with some degree of nodding and mutual agreement. This one was different. The presenting SAP global VP hit homerun with the first pitch – “A 12-month how to move party” (The program for a transition from the old ERP to the new SAP S/4HANA is called “MOVE” and the sentence is here is just that don’t look at this program as a 12-month how-to-move party that will result in nothing but some fun & time being spent to validate you have a job) describing, how clients, partners, and others get drawn into extended analysis and planning around the move to SAP S/4HANA, sometime before they have identified why they want to move SAP S/4HANA. I remembered my post from January 2019.

Consequently, over the last year and a half, I really have been recognizing this as a real issue in the marketplace. There are a lot of teams looking at the how in a great detail and spending a lot less time on the why. I don’t believe looking at SAP S/4HANA from a lens of doing a transaction by transaction, Z code by Z code review, of what they have and what they might use is the right way to go about it. Our approach for a while now is that SAP S/4HANA is more than a product or just an ERP. Look at SAP S/4HANA as the platform and digital core – otherwise you’ll end up spending two months building a lot of clever tools and SAP will build a lot of clever tools. Then you’ll come together with a list of 100 possible accounts and 100 possible tools and then spend the next 10 months having a party with tools and account lists.

I’ve observed time and again that several ecosystem players have entered into an analysis paralysis, where they continually look at what they have currently and what that current landscape would look at on SAP S/4HANA, only to prove that it will work on SAP S/4HANA and it will be better! But without uncovering the business need, transformation impact, and underlying need for a new way of work, it won’t catch the urgency and long term benefit you can start capturing. The analysis paralysis will continue undermining SAP S/4HANA as a “major ERP upgrade project.” Frankly, beyond being not true, it’s also the last thing a customer wants right now.

My advice is to begin conversations with senior stakeholders in the business, starting with the why. Next, it’s imperative you work out what the big issues are, that your client will encounter in the next years, and get some outside-in ideas on the table to consider. Thirdly, work out how S4 and the intelligent enterprise will address them. In my experience, I’ve seen that you’re quickly able to identify and quantify factors that will lead to top-line growth, bottom-line savings, and prioritize corporate objectives. Questions such as a move to cloud before SAP S/4HANA vs migration to SAP S/4HANA and an IaaS deployment aren’t technical alone.

The Capgemini Digital Core with SAP S/4HANA, the Highway to SAP S/4HANA, and Intelligent Enterprise offerings specifically address the above conversations with SAP and the associated partner/competitor ecosystem. The assessments, the tools, the frameworks, etc., help you work out what you need to do on SAP S/4HANA and work out how and when to move. We do this because every deliverable is tied to the outcome of business, and with clearer prioritized objectives the roadmap is easier drawn.

The detailed analysis of the as-is scenario with the amount of bespoke, and the granular benefits are important because they give you a broad idea of what is the right approach, but they only need to be summarized with any show stoppers identified and this can be done fairly quickly. The move to SAP S/4HANA is much more than an ERP replacement; it is a genuine business transformation opportunity. We see a rising set of opportunities and business cases to build responsive and resilient supply chains for businesses that run SAP S/4HANA at their core.

The MOVE to the SAP S/4HANA program is useful, as I experienced this week. But it is essential this is led with the right intent, otherwise these how-to parties cost a lot of money and take up valuable time. If business stakeholders don’t see why, what, and how, SAP S/4HANA is a great idea with a clear roadmap, quite frankly, the hangover from a 12 month how-to-move party can be worse than you think!

Capgemini’s Renewable Enterprise allows you to align your SAP S/4HANA transformation with your real business priorities. Let’s talk. Contact me directly to learn more. And if you think getting back to the basics, now is perhaps the best long-term bet you can place!

Move to SAP S/4HANA® with Selective Data Transition. Know more here.

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