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    Simplifying ERP with SAP S/4HANA Cloud

    There is hardly an article today that does not refer to the times we live in and the impact it has on us and our work. The pandemic has compelled communities and organizations to treat COVID-19 as a stress test for the future and made us reconsider, rethink, and renew our relationships with our stakeholders accordingly.

    Today’s new normal requires businesses to pivot and adapt with speed. Customers sense the urgency to digitally transform their businesses to survive and gain an advantage through the pandemic and beyond.

    Digital transformation has to be holistic, meaning it needs to encompass the entire value chain, every business department, and internal and external factors. It is crucial that companies align their digital transformation efforts with their individual strategic business goals. Transformation strategies across organizations can look similar as — by their very nature — the focus is firmly on big-picture items: technologies, capabilities, business goals.

    However, specific plans need to vary widely through the expectations, priorities, needs, and types of interactions that take place among the people who directly impact how a company grows and changes.

    Addressing all these variables, SAP has launched a flagship offering for holistic business transformation as a service with RISE with SAP, where we can help customers to reimagine business models and processes end to end in order to deliver the best business outcomes.

    In doing so, we recognize and acknowledge that every customer has a different context and a different point of departure. This new approach will enable them to keep their eye on the goal of the Intelligent Enterprise.

    With RISE with SAP, the customer’s migration and business change aspects of their journey is completely on their terms and their timeline. A redesign of their business plans and processes demands new thinking and new technologies that unlock new ways of doing business. This business evolution is made simpler by bringing together all the components of our new offering under a single subscription and in alignment with our partners. It is anchored by SAP S/4HANA Cloud and will ultimately help accelerate digital transformation for our customers, taking them from wherever they are today to become an intelligent enterprise.

    When and How Fast? You Choose

    A key tenet of RISE with SAP is that customers can decide when and how they want to migrate their enterprise resource planning (ERP) to the cloud. As a part of the RISE with SAP offering, the customer has primarily two options for deploying SAP S/4HANA Cloud as their digital core.

    SAP S/4HANA Cloud is our default public cloud offering. This is the preferred deployment model for all customers opting for a greenfield, best practice implementation and where functional extensibility and localization requirements can be addressed. With this, customers have access to a complete, modern, native SaaS ERP solution with the full benefits of public cloud. This enables them to reimagine business processes fueled by intelligent technologies. SAP S/4HANA Cloud offers standardized processes based on industry best practices, which provide the innovation companies require as well as the simpler SAP-managed solution life-cycle management customers expect. In addition, it provides customers the flexibility to configure and extend the pre-configured best practice processes to match their unique requirements.

    SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, targets customers that plan to convert to SAP S/4HANA Cloud and carry over enhancements or modifications with the ability to extend and enhance. This deployment option will help rapid conversion to a cloud-based architecture, stitching in the flexibility of a traditional on-premise application as well a subscription-based cloud economics. It is a simple and standardized offering with predefined materials including pre-sized and standardized infrastructure assumptions, clear and consistent services and service-level agreements, and a three-tier standard system landscape. Our continuous focus on customer-centricity and the value of our conversations with and feedback from all stakeholder groups are a deciding factor in what we offer our customers and how we back them up in their business decisions — no matter where and how they are placed.

    Innovation, Optimization, Transformation

    The driving factor for any ERP decision needs to be value and time to value. Let’s start with value.

    With SAP S/4HANA Cloud we enable the subscription economy, allowing companies across all industries to establish subscription and usage-based business models and helping ensure that revenue recognition takes place to optimize the financial outcomes for the company. SAP S/4HANA Cloud is at the heart of Industry 4.0, building out the digital thread from engineering to manufacturing and logistics, all the way to asset maintenance. SAP S/4HANA Cloud also helps to move from documenting risks to self-healing systems that stay in compliance automatically. It actively manages cash and working capital, which is more important now than ever. These are just some of the innovations we deliver and continue to build out with the next generation of ERP in the cloud.

    In rethinking and constantly re-framing SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we enable companies to become more agile by providing intelligence and insights, which helps to improve decision making, speed up innovation, and offer better customer experiences. SAP S/4HANA Cloud provides real-time insights along with real-time planning, forecasting, and simulation, as well as embedded analytics at each step. It opens up new opportunities for companies to gain value from embedding artificial intelligence, running end-to-end business processes, differentiating with dedicated but integrated industry solutions, and, above all, achieving sustainability goals, thereby enabling competitive differentiation for businesses. With SAP S/4HANA Cloud, organizations can also reimagine and redefine processes with greater ease, develop best practices and identify better ways of working.

    Now let’s look at time to value. Whatever deployment option is selected, the customer can choose an approach that helps launch SAP S/4HANA Cloud quickly and efficiently the first time, while continuously delivering advanced technologies to drive sustained innovation. SAP Activate provides a clear process of structured and solution-specific practices for businesses to choose how to adopt and extend new and differentiating capabilities across the organization.

    Following the launch of RISE with SAP, we now have the availability of the new SAP Activate Methodology for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, that complements SAP Activate Methodology for SAP S/4HANA Cloud for our customers adopting SAP’s public cloud offering. This new release builds on the success of the cloud implementation road maps and offers further guidance during the customer’s journey to RISE with SAP.

    Spending time in dialog with our customers and listening carefully to their concerns and challenges has placed us in the unique position of being able to help them grow, develop their business, and adapt proactively. The insights customers have given us are takeaways that provide new techniques for managing customer experiences during and post-pandemic. For example, with the playbook for remote fit-to-standard workshops, a significant part of the business continuity and success that we offer includes the right guidance, and governance, the correct process, tools, and accelerators, and, most importantly, the shift in our mindset to be more collaborative and build a bridge to the cloud. The experience and service we provide is vital in helping them navigate any crisis.

    Transforming a business digitally provides the means for it to survive in a complex new world. When things return to normality, our consumers will remember positively the businesses that were helpful and supportive in their times of need. It is an opportunity to help our customers reduce costs, adopt innovations quickly, and enable business transformation to the Intelligent Enterprise.

    It is indeed the basis for the next phase of growth and innovation — no matter what else the future brings.


    Jan Gilg is president of SAP S/4HANA.
    This piece was originally published on LinkedIn.