By Chris Swift, NIMBL
The SAP market is extremely active planning and prioritizing innovation. Over the past six months alone, there has been a sharp upswing in SAP S/4HANA planning and migration projects. This increased pace has pressured many IT Leaders to make bold decisions carrying huge upside with commensurate risk. Learning from peer experience is crucial when planning your S/4HANA journey. What follows is one of NIMBL’s client’s story and how by embracing the trend to S/4HANA – they are positioning themselves to remain leaders in their industry.
The story began when a Global Logistics/Warehousing company with over one billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees clearly recognized how rapidly their industry had transformed in the past decade. By realizing the wealth of information that their consumers now have in comparing solutions, and ultimately driving down cost, they needed to find a way to increase revenue in new channels and greater upsell opportunities. Enter S/4HANA.
The company understood SAP S/4HANA’s ability to identify new market insights and operational improvements thereby increasing their competitive advantage. Furthermore, through predictive analytics, S/4 HANA could not only distinguish customer buying patterns, but could also retain them through guided selling. The end game… the driving down of costs coupled with an increase in automation through greater operating transparency.
Their vision was clear: To first migrate legacy versions of SAP BW, BPC, and ERP to HANA then utilize the SAP recommended HANA to S/4HANA migration strategy in two phases 1) blueprint new business process and changes and 2) migration/business transformation/change enablement.
In addition, by involving SAP, hardware and services partners from the start, they ensured that all parties were on the same page and collaborated as one team. Once the plan was formed, SAP hosted the business and technology leadership to a half-day “digital boardroom” workshop. This demonstrated the future-state capabilities and brought expected business outcomes to life. Additionally, the S/4HANA journey was presented in detail establishing a common timeline, resourcing, and budget expectations. Aligning expectations across business, IT, and solutions providers was paramount in on-going communication and relationship.
The results to date have not only aligned with but have exceeded their expectations as BW + BPC on HANA were delivered in 11-weeks and under budget. Their Suite on HANA implementation is also on schedule for 12-weeks tracking on-time and under budget as well. Moving forward, they are planning a Phase 1 S/4HANA migration in Q4 of 2016 (with the project plan complete) and a Phase 2 S/4HANA migration in Q1 and Q2 of 2017.
The preceding story is not one of an isolated incident, but more of just another example of a company being proactive and embracing inevitability. As you plan your journey to S/4HANA, it will serve you well to keep the following recommendations in mind. Be sure to involve your SAP Account Executive and leverage the available S/4HANA planning workshops and content. This will lead to an achievable S/4HANA roadmap. Also, make certain to identify strategic partners early and prioritize open communication amongst all parties. To ensure alignment on business transformation, it is always prudent to present the S/4HANA vision and delivery expectations to all stakeholders. Finally, effectively manage change by executing through strong project management internally and provided via partners.
The path to S/4HANA can only be successfully navigated through vision, precision, adaptability, and communication. When the journey reaches its completion and the possibilities of S/4HANA are fully realized, your company’s competitive advantage will be crystal clear.