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5 strategies to generate a quick ROI through a faster S/4HANA implementation

Published on 8 November 2021
Quick ROI Through Faster SAP S/4HANA Implementation
Richard Pascoe
Richard Pascoe
VP- Consulting Services

Richard Pascoe is the VP- Consulting Services and part of the leadership team at Applexus Technologies, UK. An experienced leader & business development manager, Richard has deep domain expertise with 35+ years of experience in the retail and fashion sector and has architected and managed numerous SAP project implementations in the 30 years associated with SAP software.

SAP S/4HANA, SAP's latest ERP solution has been instrumental in powering digital transformation across industries with the potential to catapult firms into the digital future. However, switching to a new ERP system is not a simple undertaking. A powerful business case, careful planning, and meticulous execution are required for a successful implementation that reduces risk, drives user engagement, and generates early wins.

One of the primary concerns an organization has while undertaking an S/4 implementation is the ability to generate a quick return on their investment. Companies wish to incorporate enterprise-wide innovation through S/4HANA at a fast pace and start realizing the benefits of the same as early as possible. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative for companies to work hand in hand with their S/4HANA implementation partners to achieve these benefits.

In this blog let's look at some of the key aspects that ensure a fast and successful S/4HANA implementation and how Applexus helps its clients realize a quick ROI in their S/4 transformation journey.

Pathway to faster implementation of SAP S/4HANA

1. Fit-to-standard/Fit-to-business approach

SAP S/4HANA and S/4 HANA Cloud, with frequently added significant functionality and features, allow for a more fit-to-standard approach and agile delivery model compared to previous ERP solutions. SAP Activate and in turn Applexus RunningStart were built with these concepts in mind. Staying as close to the standard solution (fit-to-standard) with minimal customizations ensures a fast implementation, better ROI, and a reduced cost of ownership going forward by adopting the SAP best practice business processes.

Quick ROI Through Faster SAP S/4HANA Implementation

Fit-to Standard approach with SAP S/4Hana - A better option?

However, in most cases, customers want certain customizations and changes in the core solution as they find it difficult to follow the standard best practice business processes. At Applexus, we solve this issue by following what we call a fit-to-business approach, wherein changes are rooted in business value. These changes are prioritized based on criticality to the brand and likely business value and are isolated in the user experience layer of the solution while keeping the core S/4 solution untouched. This still ensures that the implementation is fast and the cost of ownership low, since minimal changes are made to the core solution. It also provides a key benefit in the form of agility as it makes future additions of newly released SAP processes and enhancements much faster as SAP has already done the bulk of the work for you; ensuring the integrated process already works, unlike the case if custom developments were involved.

2. Leveraging pre-configured solutions

In addition to adopting SAP standard functionalities, leveraging pre-configured solutions and prebuilt collateral already developed by the implementation partner goes a long way in ensuring a faster implementation. Rather than starting from scratch, having a pre-built working solution helps the project experience a running start which in turn results in a faster rollout. The configured solution would include the business processes, supporting documentation, and tools relevant to the planned scope, saving a lot of time.

At Applexus, with our deep domain expertise in SAP implementations and industries, we have developed pre-built Industry-focused S/4 solutions (IFS) for the retail, fashion, and consumer goods industries. We showcase a working demonstration of the solution to our clients with pre-built demos. Prebuilt user stories and workshop material are then leveraged to identify the areas in which the customer may still require change. This cuts down on custom development and testing, saving time in the process.

3. A proven agile methodology

While the techniques in 1 and 2 above create an agile foundation for the program, a proven agile methodology for the Realize phase of the S/4 project is also critical to achieving a quick implementation. An agile methodology implements functionality in short sprints or iterative cycles with strong cross-team collaboration and increased business user hands-on involvement to generate faster results while still monitoring the progress closely. Delivering smaller increments in functionality frequently also allows organizations to understand and adapt to the changing business needs faster and creates positive momentum for the program.

Applexus’ unique RunningStart methodology leverages agile principles to deliver a faster and more cost-effective S/4 implementation. The RunningStart methodology includes additional speed factors and risk mitigations above those provided by SAP Activate including our pre-configured industry-focused solutions and accelerators for data migration, testing, training, and documentation to deliver rapid time to value.

4. Engaging Change Management and Quality Engineering early in the process

Even with the best methodology, preconfigured solutions, and the right tool kits, S/4 implementation projects can fail if change management issues are not addressed proactively. A focused change management engagement early in the project can improve user engagement and participation in the design and development of the solution leading to increased excitement and adoption as well as a faster and increased ROI.

At Applexus, we have a strong Organizational Change Management practice that addresses the varying needs of a range of stakeholders while undertaking an S/4 implementation. We clearly understand the impact of an S/4 implementation on business capabilities, people, and roles. Our OCM approach improves the customer’s ability to consume change and helps minimize any disruption.

Similarly, engaging the Quality Engineering or testing team right from the Prepare phase helps build quality throughout the project, requiring less back-end testing and accelerating the project implementation. Applexus has a robust Quality Engineering practice that builds customer confidence in the solution throughout the project lifecycle. This ensures our customers derive real business and operational benefits throughout their S/4 transformation journey. Both practices achieve these goals while facilitating speed during every project.

5. The right Customer mindset

While a proprietary methodology and pre-configured tools aid in quick deployment, an organization needs to prioritize the transformation as business-critical with business ownership. The importance of the project to the organization's future and ability to compete in an increasingly digital world needs to be understood from executive sponsors to everyday participants on the project. An organization’s dedication, and willingness to stick to standard as closely and whenever possible is just as significant to ensure a fast implementation. The customer must be willing to let go of processes that may no longer have relevance given the robust solution provided by SAP S/4. Finally, this mindset needs to resonate throughout the entire organization with all the stakeholders aligned on the approach to avoid unnecessary deliberation over processes that had justification based on outdated technology.

If you'd like to learn more about how RunningStart and Industry Focused Solutions along with our additional services in Organizational Change Management and Quality Engineering, can help you accelerate your ROI through a faster SAP S/4HANA implementation, contact our experts here.

Talk to our experts

If you'd like to learn more about how RunningStart and Industry Focused Solutions along with our additional services in Organizational Change Management and Quality Engineering, can help you accelerate your ROI through a faster SAP S/4HANA implementation, contact our experts here.

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