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Orchestrating a Road Map for Successful SAP S/4HANA Digital Transformation

Published on 16 June 2021
SAP Digital Transformation with S/4HANA
Norb Brumbergs
Norb Brumbergs
Sr. Vice President SAP Delivery

Norb is an innovative and effective Senior Information Technology and Program Management Executive.  A driven and passionate leader focused on speed and quality that has delivered large transformational programs  enabling growth and business value.  Experience includes establishing digital foundations through developing and integrating complex solutions in a variety of industries as both a client and consultant. 

Digital transformation is a broad-reaching change that includes people, technology, and processes from across a company to improve the customer and employee experiences and make the company more robust and productive.

Since many systems can be affected while making this change, dependencies must be efficiently handled. Organizational agility has therefore become essential for a successful transformation. The potential transition scenarios for orchestrating change through SAP S/4HANA are explored in this article, along with a systematic approach to doing so in a way that enables seamless digital transformation.

SAP S/4HANA for Digital Transformation

SAP S/4HANA, the successor to SAP ECC, provides the "digital core" for business activities using SAP HANA, SAP’s in-memory database. But a shift to S/4HANA alone may not provide the kind of value required to justify a significant infrastructure investment, nor will it guarantee a successful digital transformation. In order to acquire funding and staffing and manage the delivery risk inherent in a transformation project, it's vital to evaluate and design a migration approach that will produce immediate benefits.

Below is a chart illustration some of the more widely used approaches for migration to SAP S/4HANA.

SAP Digital Transformation with S/4HANA
Source: SAP

S/4HANA Digital Transformation Roadmap

While SAP S/4HANA is a game-changing technology, it requires more than just a successful implementation to provide true digital transformation. An organization should have a well-defined roadmap that considers the potential risks involved with change and provides a mitigation plan for those risks.

  1. Prepare for the transformation

    S/4HANA digital transformation might be overwhelming if an organization is unprepared, as SAP S/4HANA has the potential to drastically alter a company's procedures, work culture, and IT infrastructure. As a result, it's critical to devise a strategy in advance for dealing with those shifts.

  2. Chart your business processes

    Mapping existing business processes early on helps to ensure a successful S/4HANA implementation and avoid running into problems later.  To customize SAP S/4HANA to meet a company’s business process requirements, the capabilities of the software should be matched to defined process requirements. Early business process mapping can assist in identifying process requirements that align with SAP S/4HANA's features or that need to be customized.

  3. Devise a strong change management strategy

    Since SAP S/4HANA has the potential to change the way an organization functions, it is important to identify the scope of changes to technology, business processes, and work culture, and develop a robust change management strategy to help ensure a smooth transition. A company's readiness to change, communication, training, and transition plan should be evaluated as part of the strategy.

  4. Prepare for a cultural shift

    Transformative technologies such as SAP S/4HANA can cause a cultural shift, which is sometimes overlooked during the planning stage. For organizations at the beginning of their digital maturity curve, adopting a real-time, data-driven work style by determining the scope of a cultural shift can help to ease the transition.

  5. Form a Center of Excellence

    Creating a Center of Excellence (CoE) is a good way to enable continuous improvement and to develop new capabilities for the future. An SAP S/4HANA CoE with cross-functional participation can help a company maximize the technology's potential by identifying new requirements and possibilities.

The above approach can be a starting point to provide structure to a business transformation and help to determine when and how to shift to S/4HANA and how to adjust the level of detail for each activity based on business and infrastructure context.

Drive value through change

Your SAP S/4HANA strategy & roadmap is critical for building a solid foundation for future process and S/4HANA application landscapes. This tool can deliver value by supporting improved decision-making, providing a clear vision and defining the steps required to make digital transformation a reality.

Applexus Technologies, an SAP Gold Partner, provides implementation and support services for SAP S/4HANA, other SAP solutions and proprietary SAP add-on solutions to help businesses successfully transition to a digital business faster and with more agility. Our product and domain experts have been assisting clients in making the transition to SAP S/4HANA to reap the benefits of AI, RPA, and real-time analytics by leveraging both rapid deployment and Applexus “RunningStart” methodologies, with greater accuracy and speed.

Learn more about our SAP implementation services and make your move to SAP S/4HANA today.

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