Host Michael Pytel discusses tangible use cases that have successfully leveraged the SAP Cloud Platform with ERP and S/4HANA.
For more information, contact email@example.com
Host Michael Pytel discusses tangible use cases that have successfully leveraged the SAP Cloud Platform with ERP and S/4HANA.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In the premiere episode, host Michael Pytel takes listeners through all the best practices and insight gained though successful S/4HANA migrations.
If you would like more information, contact email@example.com.
Don’t miss out on this great webinar ed by Solution Manager Guru Jereme Swoboda. In this informative webinar Jereme will detail the upgrade process from Solution manager 7.1 to 7.2. Click the link below and watch the webinar.
In today’s world of ever changing technology, how does a large organization stay competitive without spending all their time planning and executing upgrades to their enterprise applications? SAP’s answer to that question is to centralize the lifecycle management of an organization’s application landscape. SAP’s Solution Manager 7.2 is the ultimate solution for managing every aspect of an organization’s enterprise application landscape. From designing and mapping out their business processes to monitoring the day-to-day use of those same business processes, SolMan 7.2 also allows for optimization of an organization’s compliance utilizing ITIL certified tools. This leads to the controlling of costs on upgrades and application management, supporting business innovation, and shortening the time it takes to bring real value to an organization’s business.
From there most people say, “I already have Solution Manager 7.1. What will I gain if I put the time and effort into upgrading to Solution Manager 7.2?” SAP has made a significant effort to execute a transformation of Solution Manager that is truly stunning. Solution Manager began as a basic support tool with Solution Manager 7.0. With version 7.2, Solution Manager has been transformed into a digital business platform that will become a central tool for all businesses to utilize. SAP has also made the effort to reach out to the functional side of the ALM wheel by providing tools to the business that are clear and simple for anyone in the organization to use. This eliminates the requirement to engage the technical team for assistance by allowing the utilization of the new user interface enhancements that are integrated into Solution Manager 7.2. Among a variety of tools, a few of them stand out above the rest. SAP has significantly improved Solution Documentation, utilizing a web based portal for creating all of your business process documents as well as a graphical modeling tool for designing and mapping out any business process. This acts to support business process that require multi-level hierarchies. To simplify the process of mapping business processes, SAP has introduced the ability to use a library of reusable objects that can be manually and automatically generated. This greatly reduces the effort required to create and maintain business processes in Solman. This library also eliminates the need to create the same object multiple times across different business processes. To make the process even more valuable, SAP has enabled Solution Manager 7.2 to continuously validate and optimize the processes based on real usage.
The most impressive enhancement comes with the integration of Solution Documentation with the rest of the ITIL certified tools. This allows for tools like Change control management, Requirements Management, Process Management, Custom Code Management and Test Management to fully utilize the business processes mapped out. In turn, it enables any SAP customer the ability to better manage and streamline projects therefore minimizing the cost and time required to any project performed on both SAP and NON-SAP enterprise applications. In the Monitoring space, SAP has also tightly integrated solution documentation and Business process monitoring allowing the basis administrators a critical view of how each area of an enterprise application is utilized by the business. This ensures they have the necessary tools to keep the business running at peak performance and efficiency.
Another answer is to why you should upgrade is the fact that SAP support of Solution Manager 7.1 will expire on December 31st 2017. To retain continued support from SAP, you must upgrade to Solution Manager 7.2. Another clear advantage of upgrading to Solution Manager 7.2 is to reduce your database licensing costs by utilizing the ability to run Solution Manager on SAP HANA. SAP HANA is now included in the standard licensing costs of SAP, allowing you to drop the current database and database licensing costs. This fact alone further increases the cost efficiency of utilizing Solution Manager 7.2.
The User Interface in Solution Manager 7.2 has also been significantly enhanced. SAP Fiori and SAPUI5 have been fully integrated into Solution Manager allowing for the streamlining and simplification of all the standard Solution Manager dashboards. This leads to an increased ease of use for all administrators and end users alike increasing user satisfaction and easer adoption of SAP tools that in the past were rejected due to complexity of use.
Over the years many people have formed an opinion that Solution Manager requires more maintenance than it is worth. Clients have tended to only maintain it for its very basic uses. With Solution Manager 7.1 this has been slowly changing over the past 6 years. As SAP has introduced new features and enhancements, organizations have begun to understand how important Solution Manager is to their enterprise applications. With Solution Manager 7.2, the change will be even more rapid and now the business will begin to fully appreciate what Solution Manager brings to the table. Making it the single source of truth for all SAP customers, Solution Manager 7.2 has now truly become indispensable to any business that runs on SAP.
If you have any questions or would like to set up a free demo of Solution Manager 7.2, please contact Jereme at Jereme.firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of our most popular webinars this year! Join HANA expert Michael Pytel in this enlightening 40 minute webinar about the lessons learned from implementing S/4HANA. Many comparisons and hands on case studies will be explored and explained. Don’t miss out on this one!
I was recently speaking with a prospect exploring outsourcing their SAP production support. The customer – based in a remote part of the Mountain West – was exploring with how much internal resources they should train and/or hire to support their recent SAP S/4HANA implementation. After much healthy, passionate, and productive discussion – I asked their IT leadership: “What is your strategic vision for your IT organization?” The CIO tilted his head thinking deeply about the question. I continued: “Are you looking to be a tactical SAP Production Support mechanism or focus on driving strategic business value?”
Part of acting as a trusted IT partner is challenging customers’ thinking. Obviously, businesses leveraging SAP as a critical business application must maintain some internal SAP application expertise. However in my opinion – building out robust internal SAP knowledge and in turn – large in-house SAP production support teams is a page from the past. Forward-thinking businesses and their IT leadership now think and position themselves as extensions of the business… value-add components focused not on T-codes and ABAP but how SAP can act as a business innovation tool driving efficiency, top-line revenue growth, expenses reduction, etc.
One of the many benefits of being a National sponsor of ASUG’s Executive Exchange is being privy to forward-thinking C-level discussion. One common theme (and a favorite drum-beat by thought-leader Dr. Jeff Hutchinson) is what the CIO’s future within an organization is. Dr. Hutchinson and many others strongly believe that the CIO role will become eliminated, transformed, and absorbed into the business. CIO’s who believe this near-future reality are already beginning to position their IT organizations into innovation-centers as opposed to production lines. NIMBL sees this trend as well… not one of preservation (yet) but one of strategic vision.
“We don’t want to outsource our special sauce” the Mountain West CIO stated with confidence. “Our deep domain expertise, strong trusted relationship with the business, and business-liaison model drives business-innovation. However… we will happily partner within a proven SAP vendor for tactical SAP support. NIMBL you interested?”
If you would like to further discuss your SAP production support needs, please contact Leea at email@example.com.
You know the phrase. “We’re performing a technical upgrade only – no new functionality will be enabled.” It’s hard to believe – but SAP’s Enhancement Package (EHP) strategy is over ten years old now. In 2006, SAP unveiled its EHP approach with a simple value proposition – enable IT to install enhancements which are dormant and then selectively enable them when your business is ready. CIOs could keep current on software maintenance, install the latest baseline code from SAP and offer his/her CxO colleagues the promise of no disruption to the business. Looking back – was this a good thing? We could happily plod along with our 10+ year-old ERP code baseline, enable no enhancements, but feel good about installing the latest release of SAP ERP without actually using any of the enhancements. This is often the dark secret of IT – we’re paying Enterprise Maintenance (almost always north of 20%) per annum ) and not enabling any new functionality within the software we own. Would any CFO or CEO think this is a good investment? Paying new car prices every year but still driving that 2006 Honda Accord. Is this why shadow IT departments within Finance and Engineering departments are popping up? We (IT) didn’t take the risk of including new innovations with our Enhancement Package projects – so the business is now buying and implementing their own software. With S/4HANA there is a sea-wave of change. Can we selectively activate like we did in the past? Or will we be forced to adopt new version of software when we perform software maintenance upgrades? Read on.
Taking an additional moment to look back – did SAP enable its customers to underutilize the software they already own? In short, no. We did it to ourselves. If we look at the data and tools SAP made available to us – it’s hard to point the finger to SAP at the lack of adoption of enhancements. SAP provided detailed listings of all the enhancements they made. Standing up dedicated sites like the one below where we can navigate each EHP release and see the detail behind each enhancement. (http://service.sap.com/erp-ehp)
Fast forward to 2009 – SAP releases EHP4 for SAP ERP and a new capability within Solution Manager to understand the impact of those enhancements before actually turning them on. Up until this point – enhancements (aka Business Functions) could be turned on – but not turned off. This created a lot of fear. Was it unnecessary? Yes – by all accounts. There are exceptions – but most SAP customers already had (or could have) a sandbox system which they could safely enable these enhancements without impacting production support. Using Solution Manager’s Business Process Change Analyzer – available in Solution Manager 7.01 SP18 – we could analyze the impact of individual enhancements against the usage data from our production system. Yes – Solution Manager (SAP’s version of kale) could tell you in detail how an enhancement would impact your production system by giving us the SAP transactions and programs that require testing – amazing!
Two important things happened with the release of EHP6 for SAP ERP in 2012. SAP’s new enhancements could be reversed – so we no longer needed to activate in isolation. And we see the first enhancements for SAP ERP on HANA. Yes – in 2012 – customers could run SAP ERP on HANA and have access to ERP specific enhancements for HANA only. This was the first occurrence of HANA specific innovations and the trend would continue with SAP ERP EHP7 and EHP8 released in 2014 and 2016 respectively. With SAP ERP EHP7 – SAP released the Fiori UI for SAP ERP which delivered a handful of ERP-on-any-database Fiori apps included with Enterprise or Standard maintenance agreements. Supporting this new focus on the User Experience – SAP included Screen Personas as part of every customers’ maintenance agreements. With no additional licenses – IT now had the capability to improve the end user experience within SAP ERP (using Fiori or Screen Personas).
Fiori or Personas – does it really matter? Anything looks better than traditional SAP GUI (Hint: The above example is Screen Personas with the Fiori template for look and feel)
We’ve established a good argument that SAP did its job to document enhancements, provide tools for us to understand the impact of those enhancements, and deliver enhancements across all modules of SAP ERP. So why didn’t we adopt? Because it’s easier not to. Completing a technical upgrade was like winning a medal at the local 5K race – everyone got one when they finished. Some customers were better than others – completing technical upgrades in eight weeks while others took eight months. There’s very little risk, in terms of core SAP functionality, with the technical upgrade approach which meant there was very little reward. When the business users came in on Monday after the upgrade weekend – did their job get easier? Did they have new transactions or functionality which streamlined their job functions? All too often the answer was no. All the effort to document test cases, build test scripts, setup test data, etc. was not wasted – but did we maximize the value of the collective test effort?
Incremental innovation is the new norm within the SAP community. We see SAP incrementally innovating with its cloud solutions – delivering smaller innovations on a more frequent basis. Can we do this with our on premise SAP ERP landscapes – absolutely. Check out the analysis below we created with a large SAP customer. Using SAP provided materials (documents, SAP Help, SAP Notes, etc.) we were able to identify numerous enhancements and answer the questions; Can I run this enhancement in parallel with core ERP functionality? Is this enhancement a performance improvement or a process improvement? What will be the effort to implement that enhancement?
The above example is an excerpt of a complete analysis that took about three weeks to complete with an experienced SAP ERP Architect. The SAP customer was a large Federal agency (yes, you read that correct – the US Government is adopting ERP EHP7 innovations.) How did this SAP customer understand what to test when enabling these enhancements? Solution Manager Business Process Change Analyzer. We don’t need third party products to understand the impact of enabling enhancements within our landscape. Worried about custom code? Solution Manager will highlight the impact of enhancements on both SAP delivered and customer created programs and transactions. If your custom program utilizes as SAP delivered function module – your program will be flagged by Solution Manager as test case required. It’s simple, you own it, we just need to utilize it.
With the S/4HANA – we now have forced innovation. We no longer have the option of adopting enhancements selectively. SAP will deliver Feature Package Stacks (FPS) with Support Package Stacks throughout the year much like they do today. However – based on information known today – FPS’ will be installed and enhancements activated immediately (read: Forced Innovation.) Having lived through ten years of “technical upgrades” I think IT will welcome this change and even though it sounds painful – the business users will eventually appreciate that we can more frequently deliver innovation to them. S/4HANA 1610 is now the go to release for S/4HANA – and FPS01 is set to be delivered this month (February 2017.) We haven’t lived thru an FPS project yet (no one really has) so we will update the community once we’ve gotten our hands on it.
Moving to S/4HANA requires real effort. And its forced innovation is a good thing. We think this will reinvigorate the business analysts and functional SAP configuration team members who have sat (somewhat) idle for the past 5+ years working on master data changes and minor configuration requests. This new world requires heads down analysis, prototyping and testing -and the payoffs can be big. On a recent project working with S/4HANA and embedded Business Planning & Consolidation (BPC) – the move to S/4HANA was the impetus for major change related to yearly budgeting and the interaction between the FP&A team and the business. With SAP ERP (and no BPC) before – yearly budgeting involved 40+ MS Excel templates that were distributed to business unit leaders, manually updated, and then manually consolidated by the FP&A team. The process took weeks to complete and countless hours of chasing down inputs, manually tracking MS Excel file versions, and consolidation. Queue S/4HANA with embedded BPC. Budgets are built based on last year’s actuals with some variable applied – then distributed and tracked within SAP BPC so each business unit leader is able to edit online with the same version of the document created by the FP&A team. Now exceptions and changes can be explained in document and then consolidated into the larger company wide budget in days – instead of weeks. That’s running simple.
Is it too late? Can we still enable enhancements with SAP ERP? Yes. The effort to enable and investigate some of these enhancements is very low. And it provides your IT staff time to adapt to the new continuous innovation cycle. Small enhancements delivered more frequently. If your roadmap involves moving to Suite on HANA before S/4HANA – then you absolutely have the opportunity to enable enhancements with tangible value. Enhancements exist across the board – Finance, Sales, Logistics, & HCM. As you begin to look forward and plan for S/4HANA – keep in mind that process change is coming. Familiarizing your team with S/4HANA 1610 using SAP Cloud Appliance Library (pay-as-you-go) is a great option to get people access to a working environment with demonstration data just to get a feel for the new environment. We believe this is especially beneficial for those who are still building their business case. And for those customers that are running Industry Solutions and want to validate S4HANA will work for them. It’s a great time to be an SAP customer – loads of innovation available and not enough time to implement it all.
SAP’s new S/4 HANA Public Cloud, although currently a relative unknown, possesses an amazing strength that enterprises already running SAP (as well as those who aren’t) should pay attention to. Here are three of the main reasons to keep S/4 HANA Public Cloud top of mind:
S/4 HANA Public Cloud presents a new model and opportunity. Because S/4 HANA Public Cloud utilizes the same code base as S/4 HANA, holding companies can now have the power of an SAP solution without the overhead required for a full scale ERP. At the same time, the Public Cloud solution provides a Finance Only edition which contains scope to only what the holding company requires. Plus, due to its Software as a Service nature, no IT department is required to maintain S/4 HANA Public Cloud, allowing the holding company to focus on what is important: the operations of its subsidiaries.
For a variety of reasons, multi-business unit enterprises set up holding company structures. Typically the holding company does not have the complex operating requirements that led the subsidiary companies to SAP for ERP support. Still, the holding company must be able to manage finances across the organization and as a stand-alone business. As a result, many holding companies end up running on an expensive, but stripped down version of SAP (or another large scale ERP), complete with expensive IT departments and infrastructures (in-house or sourced) when it would otherwise not be required.
As S/4 HANA Public Cloud comes preloaded with SAP best practices, processes that have been found to maximize efficiency in operations across a variety of company types and industries, subsidiaries can readily adopt these best practices, allowing for the rapid standardization of ERP solutions to the S/4 HANA Public Cloud platform – reducing IT infrastructure costs and intercompany operating inefficiencies and costs while providing the additional benefit of improving individual company operations with a world class ERP solution.
The second scenario provides a related set of problems that have just been pushed off to delay dealing with the cost and complexity of merging systems. These issues only get exacerbated as more companies are acquired. Ultimately, the enterprise is left in a viscous state where nothing can change because of the “chicken or egg” issue of how to standardize processes to be able to move to a single ERP platform before the ERP capabilities are known. The result is multiple IT departments, significant expenditure in hardware and software maintenance, and a painstaking and costly consolidation and close process (often requiring additional hardware, software and support).
In the case of the first scenario, critical to the conversion will be that the companies have similar operations. If not, the IT department could be left managing an increasingly complex ERP with significant customizations to address each business’ unique processes. By implementing S/4 HANA Public Cloud, an enterprise must adopt common best practices for standard operations. A company running on S/4 HANA Public Cloud, utilizing SAP best practices, possesses a strong baseline for operations that merging companies should be readily available to adopt. In addition, since the application is in the cloud, no additional IT resources or hardware are required once the migration is complete, helping the acquiring company meet the financial and synergistic targets envisioned in the merger.
Growth by acquisition usually implies one of two scenarios: (1) that the company being absorbed converts to the acquiring company’s ERP or vice-versa, or, (2) the company being purchased is left to operate independently on their pre-existing ERP. Both scenarios generate great opportunity for improvement and great risk if not managed carefully; and both present an excellent rationale for considering S/4 HANA Public Cloud.
Whether in the parent holding company, in subsidiaries, or just in the news, keeping track of the S/4 HANA Public Cloud will be extremely valuable for all enterprises currently employing SAP, as well as those who aren’t but are looking to improve.
The last reason to pay attention to S/4 HANA Public Cloud is that, with quarterly releases and SAP’s significant investment, it will soon contain ALL S/4 HANA functionality. From that point forward, the public cloud version will become the leader in functionality with continued quarterly releases, while the on premise/private cloud version will adopt the new functionality with annual updates. Even if larger organizations prefer the annual updates, paying attention to S/4 HANA Public Cloud will provide the looking glass to the future to be able to best prepare to take advantage of new functionality.
If you have any questions or would like to further discuss your company’s S/4 HANA Public Cloud needs, please feel free to contact Michael at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org