By now, most of us have heard SAP’s bullet points in their S/4HANA Cloud pitch: “It provides best-in-class ERP functionality by harnessing the power of S/4HANA.” Its real attraction, however, lies in two universal questions when it comes to making a business purchase: Will it ultimately allow me to lower my spend AND will it drive innovation to my company? In the case of S/4HANA Cloud, both of these questions are answered by an undeniable, “Yes.”
Let’s begin with overall spend because that’s where most business decisions find their origin. With S/4HANA Cloud, the importance of eliminating the need for software ownership cannot be overstated. S/4HANA Cloud not only reduces your total cost of ownership but also allows you to simplify your overall IT footprint. It’s obvious that once you move to a cloud based ERP you remove all the hardware. However, what might not be immediately clear is that anytime you buy or build software, you’re incurring the technical debt the day it’s released. This technical debt comes in the form of having to update the infrastructure it’s built on, updating the database, and maintaining the application over time as your business changes. Most (if not all) of those costs go away when you move to a cloud based solution. Using a solution such as S/4HANA Cloud also means that you no longer have to run and maintain a data center, deal with disaster recovery, high availability, nightly backups etc. It’s difficult to put a price on that level of peace of mind.
Perhaps more important than the lowered cost of ownership is the driven innovation provided by SAP itself. Whereas, S/4HANA customers will be given updates on an annual basis, those customers on S/4HANA Cloud will receive such innovations on a quarterly basis. These solutions come courtesy of 2000+ SAP developers that are based not only on decades of SAP best practices but also through the utilization of “Co-Innovation.” Technologically staying ahead of the curve cannot be accomplished in a vacuum. It’s an organic process in which dialogue needs to be shared between developer and customer so that the latter’s issues are addressed and the developer is made aware of his/her task at hand.
In discussing Cloud Co-Innovation, VP of SAP S/4HANA Product Management, Bert Schulze noted, “Co-Innovation translates customer and partner demand into product capabilities. We can only deliver functionality in the right way if we engage with customers and partners on a frequent basis and understand their demand and, also more importantly, understand the business acumen behind the demand.”
That being said, SAP is relying on, among other things, an open forum with its customers to essentially produce and drive their quarterly updates. And SAP makes it a priority to keep customers fully abreast of each and every update:
In addition to the comprehensive documentation, all the quarterly updates are available via YouTube videos that cover the highlights with, “The S/4HANA Cloud Update Plan.”
By lowering TCO and providing a cadence of updates based on Co-Innovation and best practices, SAP’s S/4HANA Cloud now offers companies a cost effective option that enables them to not only stay competitive through digital transformation but also to thrive with it.
For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, please contact Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
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.email@example.com.
By Jereme Swoboda,
By Yosh Eisbart, NIMBL
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Michael Pytel, NIMBL
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.
SAP – Complacent Software Provider?
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 can blame ourselves – let’s move forward
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.
Bye-Bye EHP – Hello FPS
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.
Michael Jolton, NIMBL
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.email@example.com
by Jessica Morales, NIMBL
Over the past decade, the use of mobile devices in a person’s everyday life, has increased drastically. Many people own multiple devices such as: cellphones and tablets. As a result, the demand for mobile applications in the work environment has grown.
Companies that do not want to fall behind in technology are being forced to introduce mobile devices to their employees. SAP has recognized that mobile applications are becoming prominent in multiple industries, and they have updated their solution by allowing developers the ability to create Fiori mobile applications.
One of the first ways Fiori developers were able to create mobile applications was using WebIDE’s plugin called the Hybrid Application Toolkit or HAT, however, the newer way to accomplish this is by utilizing Hana Cloud Platform Mobile Service or HCPms. This does not require installation, as HAT did previously. It is no wonder why so many developers are using HCPms. This tutorial will show you step by step on how to enable HCPms for development.
In order to get mobile services working with the Hana Cloud Platform, you will need to enable it. Once it is enabled, WebIDE will know how to use HCPms.
Step 1: Browse to the Hana Cloud Platform Cockpit here
Step 2: Click on “Services” in the Content pane on the left
Step 3: Enable Mobile Services
Subscribe Mobile Services
Now that the Mobile Services are enabled, you will need to subscribe the mobile services to your Hana Cloud Platform account.
Step 4: Click on “Subscriptions” in the Content pane
Step 5: Click “New Subscriptions”
Step 6: Select Provider Account “sapmobile” and Application Name “hcpmsadmin”
Step 7: Confirm by clicking “Save”. You should see something similar to below:
Create and Assign Admin Role
Now that mobile services has been subscribed to your Hana Cloud Platform account, an admin role needs to be created. Once the admin role is created, you can assign the role to your SAP user id.
Step 8: Click on the link “hcpmsadmin” and select “Roles” in the Content pane
Step 9: Click “New Role”
Step 10: Type in the role name “HanaMobileAdmin” and confirm the dialog
Step 11: Click on “Assign” in the lower part of the screen and assign your user to the newly created role by providing your S-user ID in the dialog
Note: Make sure the HanaMobileAdmin role is selected in the role list. If all is done correctly it should look like this:
Create a WebIDE Destination
In order to allow communication between the Hana Cloud Platform Cockpit and mobile services, you will need to setup two destinations manually.
Step 12: Select “Destination” in the Content pane
Step 13: Create the two destinations below:
Assign Additional Roles
The last thing that you need to do is assign another administrator role to the mobile service.
Step 14: Click on “Services” in the Content pane
Step 15: In the row of HANA Cloud Platform Mobile Services, click “Configure Mobile Services”
Step 16: Click “Roles” in Content Pane
Step 17: Now select the role “Administrator” row in the list of roles.
Step 18: Click “Assign” in the lower part of the screen. Provide your S-User ID in the dialog and confirm by clicking “Assign”. It should look like this:
Step 19: Launch Mobile Services Cockpit by clicking “Go to Service”.
Note: You will be asked to authenticate using your S-User ID and password. If you are using Chrome it may say: XCSRF token is not available, further create, update and delete will fail. You can get around this by opening the link in incognito. If not try Firefox.
You should get this when done:
Due the increasing demand in incorporating mobile devices in an employee’s workflow, companies are investing in mobile application development. SAP recognizes that technology will only continue to evolve and has created ways for the Fiori developer to create mobile applications.
Originally the Hybrid Application Toolkit plugin was used in WebIDE as a solution, but the complicated installation had made setup frustrating for most developers. SAP has now updated their approach and has introduced HCPms into the mix. After finishing the tutorial, a developer should have the knowledge needed to enable HCPms for development of their own Fiori mobile applications.
By David Morante, NIMBL
There is a shift happening in business today. One that technical firms have been working through for a number of years now…but one which all companies will likely experience. There is no doubt that customers are the lifeline of all companies. However, more and more, the actual employees of the company are beginning to be seen as equally critical to its overall success. In this, companies now need to wow their employees and convince them that their organization is a better choice than the competitor or business down the street. The literature on what it takes to attract, keep, and develop employees is abundant, but the underlying tide, or movement, of focusing on employee engagement with the same fervor and effort as we do with customers, is not so outwardly apparent.
Employee engagement begins with the employee experience. The employee experience starts with the day an applicant reads about a company on Glassdoor, researches the company website, and sends in his or her resume. The experience continues as employees meet and interact with people, learn about values and behaviors and develop the skills necessary to ultimately self-actualize. How an employee interacts with his or her organization is akin to how a customer interacts with a company selling a product or service: a strong emotional connection.
Marketing has been tapping into emotional connections to sell products for a long time. Retailers use image to successfully sell their products. There is again an abundance of information showing how successful marketing campaigns play (and at times prey) on our emotions. Why is this done? The answer, based on this research, is that most of the decisions we make are made outside of our conscious thought. In addition, we often unconsciously search out the data to support the decision we have already made. This happens inside all of our organizations. We chose in an instant, whether we like or dislike our place of employment and then we see all the reasons to support this decision.
Companies, and specifically HR teams, are more and more aware of this. They understand that every interaction an employee has each day at their organization confirms their employee’s preconceived idea as to the kind of company at which they work. An HR team’s aim, when trying to enhance engagement, is for the vast majority of their employees to be on the lookout for information to support how great they feel about being part of their organization…and not vice versa. There are many factors at play within organizations that enhance engagement, including leadership, hiring, and communications. The employee experience is the culmination of these engagement factors. The Talent Management System (or Human Resource Information System) you chose has the capability to enhance this experience…or sabotage it.
Talent Management Systems today and in the future need to strengthen the emotional connections employees feel with their organizations. Your HRIS – via mobile, daily interaction should be a platform by which your people interact and experience your company. It is not just a system of record, but allows for a vibrant community of team members committed to common goals and emotionally attached to a cause. It needs to be a super charger of your culture and provide for more collaboration, interaction, and the go-to place for employees. So, go slow to go fast before choosing your Talent Management System because the platform you chose can be a critical component to your quest for enhancing your employee experience and thus enhancing your employee engagement. There is little doubt that a highly engaged workforce will wow your customers and make your business better.
By Michael Jolton, NIMBL
As cloud software takes hold, business users no longer have to wait on overtaxed and understaffed IT departments to deliver needed features and functions at the pace of business. Now, however, with cloud software, new releases are being delivered three to four times a year and this dream come true for the business has potential and legitimate drawbacks if not managed correctly. This article addresses a new model of application maintenance – a model no longer focused on enhancements to meet business requirements, but on a proactive, disciplined approach to change enablement that drives business adoption of the rapid innovation of cloud applications, like Success Factors and S/4 Hana Cloud.
Cloud technology has removed development impediments like hardware costs and maintenance and limited development teams. The removal of such impediments has led to a prevailing feeling of informed optimism and the belief that, “With Cloud technology, our IT systems will be able to keep pace with the business at a reasonable cost.” In other words, business has finally gotten what it has been waiting for from IT.
Or has it? While cloud solutions do eliminate IT speed bumps, they also employ certain, necessary approaches that IT managers need to take note of and adapt to, lest they lose user confidence. For example, cloud solutions must have broad appeal to create a large enough user base to make the solution economically viable. To generate that appeal, the cloud applications must be designed for a cross-functional/cross-industry user base. The good news about this extensive user base is that it can generate new ways of looking at how business can be done – challenging industrial or long standing corporate paradigms. On the other hand, not every function point or change will be desired or requested by every company – potentially creating displeasure with the solution or concern that the cloud vendor is not paying attention to the needs of a particular company or industry. Another example is the use of extensive development teams. Such teams provide the benefit of an increased pace of innovation with rapid (e.g. quarterly) releases. The end result is more change in less time – the pace of innovation asked for by the business. Change, however, whether desired or not, is difficult. With discrete change comes discrete change cycles. Each change cycle presents risk of the change not being fully accepted. With proper training and communication as part of change initiatives (e.g., new functional releases), the change cycle can be managed to achieve acceptance and, thus, increased productivity. As change increases at an increasing rate, as is happening with IT innovation through cloud technology, the volume of change can overwhelm the company’s ability to process through the change cycle and, thus, ultimately stifle change (with the business wanting the IT improvements to stop). Furthermore, when combined with cross-functional requirements, not all of which are asked for by a specific company, the business may completely flip its attitude and say IT is moving too fast or not in the right direction. This seemingly unfair emotional state of the business users is the Cloud Paradox – a state where the informed optimism of the business is now at risk of reverting to a feeling of “Be Careful What You Ask For” or worse (a return to pessimism about IT).
Of course, all is not lost. Understanding and accepting this risk will help IT departments manage it, keeping business users engaged and enthused about their new cloud applications. The key to managing the cloud paradox is communication. The business wants IT improvements (i.e., change). To overcome this challenge, the CIO for a company using cloud applications needs to become the “Chief Transformation Officer” – a champion for improving the change process.
Change Enablement has become a staple within IT development projects, leading to improvements in communication planning, user involvement and training. With Cloud functional releases, there is no project for IT to manage – just change, creating the potential gap of not associating change enablement with new cloud releases. The business still needs communication to relevant stakeholders of what will be changing. And, while users can provide input through user groups and vendor feedback loops, they are not directly involved in changes – so they need surrogate communications to at least feel informed of what is changing and why. And lastly, training will still be required as cloud applications add and adjust new features.
Successful cloud software companies, like SAP, understand this need for communication and training, and provide change release documentation, release plans and dates, user portals for feedback and more. Maintaining change enablement as a discipline employed for cloud releases, and employing vendor provided communication and training tools, will help companies manage through the cloud paradox, keeping business users productive and engaged.
If you would more information on your Cloud solutions, please contact Michael at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Anthony Plute, NIMBL SAP Senior Architect
After some recent learnings on SAP’s newest SAP SaaS product – S/4HANA Public Cloud – I came away with a solid vision and insight into SAP’s new ERP Cloud/SaaS offering. SAP is making a big bet and has high expectations for their new SaaS Cloud offering called S/4 HANA Public Cloud (or S4HC). The intention is to allow customers to make a digital transformation or enable their customers to become competitive and successful in the digital economy. The much anticipated S4HC 1608 was released on August 29. SAP has made the S/4 HANA version very easy to recognize… 16 equates to year (2016) and 08 equals month (August). FYI… S/4HANA on premise uses the same nomenclature.
The SaaS versions are available as follows: Enterprise Management Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Professional Services Cloud. Each of these Cloud solutions are designed for companies with unique business models. These solutions are specifically designed for a company to run simple; maintain a low TCO due to less IT and Hardware investment along with an enhanced UX via Beautiful Fiori apps; and to leverage their SAP investment by taking advantage of SAP quarterly innovations. These innovations are not typical upgrades or patches but they will contain new capability to run a business in a digitally connected world.
S/4 HANA on premise customers will get yearly innovations while S/4HANA cloud customers will get quarterly innovations. This is important if a company believes that their innovation strategy needs to be rapid and agile. The main idea is that S4HC will set the digital benchmark and on premise will catch up soon thereafter. In order to allow insight into SAP’s digital innovations, each quarter SAP is releasing a four-quarter forward looking roadmap that lists innovations for all S4HC offerings. For example, key digital applications such as SuccessFactors, Fieldglass, Ariba, Concur, and Hybris will become more connected with the SAP ECC digital core thru these quarterly innovations. SAP wants customers to easily identify upcoming innovations and quickly assess how it can help them expand and upgrade their digital footprint.
S4HC solutions have a standard methodology that will allow for a much quicker implementation than a typical on premise implementation. The typical implementation will be measured in WEEKS rather than months or even years. Each Cloud Solution comes with Best Practice Tools and Accelerators to help a customer adopt Best Practices as the rule and not the exception… and with as little customizing as possible. This is a key to allow for the testing and adoption of quarterly innovations as well as to maintain a cheaper and more manageable IT footprint.
One recent S4HC success story relates to a services firm who recently implemented the S4HC Professional Services solution. This company was focused on innovation and as an early adopter of S4HC. They recognize that their customers are diverse and that an agile and prescriptive solution is important to drive business outcomes, enable scalability, and provide world class service. For example, this company is on a rapid growth path and real time visibility to resource scheduling will help them respond and supply the proper services to their customers quicker. Additionally, they cite that a single source of truth for Project Profitability Tracking with live data (and not offline) that tracks project costs will enable them to ascertain what markets they should and should not be in to maximize value.
In summary, SAP believes that S4HC will be a main driver for digital transformation since the world will continue to be more digitally connected. Digitization is an enemy of the status quo and the catalyst for exponential growth. The S/4 HANA Public Cloud will enable business processing to be connected through a modern digital core. Also, a Beautiful Fiori UX will enable an enhanced user experience that will lead to enhanced processing and increased productivity and quality. I believe that this solution has the true potential to be a game changer… one enabling customers to leverage the power of S/4HANA at a fraction of the cost. For those customers that fit this scenario – it can be a whole new world.
If you would like more information on S/4HANA Cloud, please contact Anthony at Anthony.email@example.com.