For many businesses, remaining competitive in a digital world is contingent on eventually migrating to SAP S/4HANA. But, with this inevitable challenge on the horizon, how can businesses prepare themselves for the move and ensure a smoother transition to S/4HANA?
Whether purchasing goods, accessing services or trying to remember who that one guy from that film about aliens was, consumers now expect hyper-connected digital experiences – wherever they are, whenever they want and whatever device they’re using.
For businesses to remain relevant, let alone competitive, their operations need to be “digital-first” and, while market-leaders have already adapted, many companies are still struggling to understand how they can re-imagine their processes to fit into this new digital world.
Enter SAP, who have spent the last decade developing a solution to this problem, researching some of the most advanced digital technologies and bringing them together to form S/4HANA. Acting as the “digital core” of a business, it empowers users to reinvent the way they work to operate more effectively in a digital space.
SAP are so confident in S/4HANA’s ability to help businesses digitise their operations that they’re cutting off support for older iterations of their ERP solutions by 2025. With over 76% of the world’s transactions running on SAP technology and solutions, it’s clear that S/4HANA will have a huge part to play in the future of connecting businesses and their customers.
Here are 3 ways you can better prepare your organisation for the future transition.
1. Use your code or lose it!
Migrating to S/4HANA isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. It’s time-consuming, costly and transformative – it’s also well worth the effort because of the benefits provided by S/4HANA.
A huge chunk of your migration will be taken up by transferring your codebase to your new SAP HANA system, and, like with any big move, it can be made more manageable by ensuring that you aren’t bringing anything you don’t need.
One sure-fire way of catching unnecessary code is by turning on the Usage Procedure Logging feature in your active environment. This will highlight how frequently each code object is used by your systems, identifying superfluous code that is only slowing down your systems and holding up your big move.
2. Prepare your people
Although S/4HANA has been developed to give your staff exactly what they need to operate better in a digital world, you’ll always experience some resistance from employees who don’t appreciate being pushed into new ways of working.
Rather than waiting until go-live to encounter this attitude, and then struggling in the aftermath, both you and your workforce can benefit from addressing any issues well in advance of your migration. In fact, simply involving them in communications throughout your migration can be key to securing “buy-in”.
It’s almost certain that your staff will have opinions on how their jobs can be done more effectively and one way to avoid clashing is asking for their input – after all, they’re the experts on their job right? Treating your employees as the experts and using the insight gathered from end-users inside your organisation can help you understand the functional requirements of your new S/4HANA solution.
This is especially vital because rather than simply plastering a new UI onto existing processes, S/4HANA includes SAP Fiori. Fiori provides a personalised, responsive, and simple UX across all tasks and devices, with each role inside the company getting a workplace solution that’s moulded to their specific needs. So, end-user input is invaluable during the planning process.
3. Let your business strategy lead your migration
It doesn’t matter whether this is in a B2B or B2C context, a business lives or dies by accurately predicting and serving the needs of consumers. An IT transformation project is the same, it succeeds or fails based on whether it enables a company to better delight customers.
While S/4HANA is undoubtedly the centre of an SAP business transformation project, it would be foolish to assume your migration will be driven solely by the adoption of new technology . It cannot be overstated that no program of transformation can deliver success if approached as an IT led project alone.
Instead, all activity needs to be built around what customers want and how your business will deliver this. When you understand these key points, you can begin to build an IT transformation roadmap that empowers your business to better serve customer needs – and in turn, predict their needs in the future.
Any S/4HANA migration is likely to be of a much larger scope than your average IT transformation. As we’ve attempted to make clear, these projects are an opportunity to rework business processes and will therefore provide a huge challenge.
The road to S/4HANA isn’t always simple and it can be difficult to navigate alone, especially when attempting to optimise your migration to be as cost-effective and cause as little disruption as possible.
At AgilityWorks we specialise in helping businesses discover an SAP S/4HANA solution that sets them up for success in the digital world, as well as making sure, as well as ensuring their move is as painless as possible. If you want to learn more about getting started with S/4HANA,