Enabling Transformation in the Public Sector with SAP S/4HANA

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The ‘Oracle’ of Omaha, Warren Buffet, rightly said, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”. SAP is pushing on the latter, with 2025 as the deadline looming large on its installed base for the move to S/4HANA.

Public Sector organisations currently (or planning to) managing their Finance processes with products in the SAP Finance portfolio are facing similar daunting tasks as their counterparts in the private sector. Perhaps even more, given the complexity and responsibility they undertake.

Planning a successful transformation to SAP S/4HANA has several facets to it. While some topics are valid for both public and private organisations, there are specific headings when it comes to a public sector organisation. In this blog, my colleague Wanda Mertens and I, bring a first insight into some of the generic & specific steps of the S/4HANA transformation.

Greenfield, Brownfield or Bluefield transformation approach

Many Public Sector organizations today are working on deeply customized and complex finance, accounting and budget structures. It’s how the architecture developed in the past. While the system continues doing what was necessary functionality some years ago, it prevents innovation and the ability to deliver updated & excellent service to the public. Necessary business and IT changes are often postponed, thus reducing customer experience and satisfaction. The move to S/4HANA with Capgemini is the ideal moment to rethink the current strategy.

In my interactions with various public sector organizations, I’ve heard more often than once, that S/4HANA implementations in the Public sector are approached cautiously because of the inherent high complexity and high risk associated with Public Sector organizations. The approach for the move to S/4 is typically:

  • Greenfield approach — New implementation of a new system with transformations to existing processes. This implies substantial time and effort
  • Brownfield approach — Moving the existing system to S/4HANA. This implies using functionality to new S/4HANA capabilities incremental during transformation
  • Bluefield approach (using multiple SLO services) – You can take a part of your existing processes and implement the new ones in a single, non-disruptive project.

Customers wanting to move to S/4HANA usually ask questions like: What about sizing of my SAP HANA database? Are my add-ons compatible? Is there a FIORI application available for every step in our processes? Can I still run my classic transactions? Is my custom code compatible with S/4HANA? Which is why the Capgemini SAP Centre of Excellence with its Highway to S/4HANA offering offers (beyond all the standard SAP tools) the assessment, the strategy, the tools, methodologies and capabilities that limits the risk and make a full greenfield, brownfield or bluefield conversion possible!

Cloud, On-premise or Hybrid?

With SAP’s “Cloud First” approach, organisations are challenged to choose one of the cloud solutions.

  • SAP S/4 HANA Cloud – multi tenant
  • SAP S/4 HANA Cloud – single tenant
  • ERP in the Cloud – SAP S/4 HANA Private Cloud
  • ERP – On Premise – SAP S/4 HANA

Before making a choice, you should consider (in)dependency of infrastructure, services delivered by SAP or your hosting partner, but most significantly in this case – the public sector roadmap.

SAP S/4 HANA Roadmap for the Public sector

As we await the 2019 roadmap, some key takeaways from the Public Sector roadmap 2018:

SAP has decided to intensify the investment in developing the SAP S/4HANA Public Sector solution. It will be deployed in a public cloud and offered as a pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) option. The first market SAP will address is state and local governments in the United States.

  • Functional parity between the SAP ERP application and SAP S/4HANA (except simplifications, like Classic Budget Maintenance (FBS))
  • Simplification of data model for budget
  • Code optimization using SAP HANA capabilities
  • New user experience for Public Sector specific business processes with SAP Fiori apps
  • New analytical transactions
  • Comprehensive and consumable virtual data model
  • Available for all countries and public sector market segments
  • Can be deployed on-premise, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, and in private cloud

The road ahead

In the next series we dig deeper into the financial roadmaps and our solutions at Capgemini. To learn more about how the Capgemini SAP Center of Excellence develops an innovative approach and the right technology to solve & transform your business problems intelligently in the Public Sector, or how the Belgian Federal Public Instances use our integrated solutions to achieve their digital agenda contact me, or meet me at the SAP Festival Belgium on the 6th of June in Brussels.

Wanda Mertens is Solution Architect SAP S/4 HANA Finance and an expert in Finance and Budget Solutions for the Public Sector. She leads The SAP Finance Community for Capgemini Belgium.

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