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Harness real-time data with the power of SAP S/4HANA

Mike Latkovic

Most companies lack the ability to run reports quickly enough for them to stay relevant. For example, in some companies, running a Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) report can take up to 12 hours. You can only run it once a day or even a couple of times a week.

That means the ability to run an MRP report in 20 minutes is a true competitive advantage, because it is close to real-time information. And if you need to, you can run another one to check your numbers or analysis. Standing in the way of doing this are complex and customized legacy ERP systems.

In the old ERP days, you had to develop solutions and then support and maintain them. An upgrade would affect the customization, and then you had to re-do the whole thing. SAP S/4HANA solves this data challenge. Its in-memory processing power delivers near real-time data. Companies can harness their information from data in the cloud and actually run reports that make a difference to the business. Moving to the cloud means you use the latest technologies all the time.

Do not approach SAP S/4HANA as a technical upgrade. This is not like upgrading SAP ECC. This platform gives companies the flexibility and agility to find new ways of working and new business models. Every industry is facing disruption and being nimble is the key to success. SAP S/4HANA drives innovation.

The in-memory processing means companies can access data in milliseconds. Now you can run multiple MRP reports in one day. The power of the cloud means SAP S/4HANA can crunch data at the speed of business. And, as you get more intelligence about your business you can make more informed decisions. This is one of the most important techniques for business operations in a disruptive environment  – focusing on exception management and “what-if” scenarios. SAP S/4HANA architecture, allowing in-memory processing of MRP, allows for more powerful event analysis and alerting; and embedded analytics and FIORI allows users to readily access data and seamlessly build what-if scenarios on the fly. This enables business self-service and helping change the mindset from an operational task-oriented system to true business decisioning.

If you want to explore artificial intelligence and machine learning, you need a trusted data pipeline. SAP S/4HANA can provide the data to power those technologies. It has embedded analytics to make reporting faster and easier. No more spreadsheets and tables. Employees will need to change how they work, but they will get to focus more on value-added activities rather than clerical duties. It is a new mindset.

Early adopters of SAP S/4HANA will have a competitive advantage. Do not approach this as a lift and shift, because then you will not realize the true benefits of the platform. It delivers more opportunities for growth, for innovation, and for exploring new technologies. It is time to seize the data advantage.

Mike Latkovic is passionate about helping clients achieve positive outcomes, capture big opportunities, and solve tough challenges. He is the North American Automotive Supplier Leader and works with clients to evolve and adjust in this very dynamic market. He can be reached at