By Joerg Mueller & Dominik Fliess.

Tight deadlines often rule the workday of a controller and numerous similar information workers. In particular during month and quarter end closing actvities speed matters – while, for sure, expectations towards precision and reliability of the results remain. Balancing the tension between those two targets, obviously, can be a challenge.

In our role as solution architects for controlling applications, we were onboarded as team members for the SAP internal ERP on HANA adoption project. A project, which lead to an exchange of the existing ERP database by our new HANA platform. An important milestone, and a solid foundation for a closer integration of our CRM and BW systems, which were already upgraded to HANA.

The ERP on HANA adoption was part of the SAP runs SAP initiative, which aims to showcase SAPs solution portfolio. It positions SAP itself as an early adopter of its own solutions. Prior to any customer, solid business process and system setup scenarios can be developed, and products can be guided up the crucial steps on the learning curve. An additional and important proofpoint before the rollout to our customers.

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Graphic: Controlling Profitability Analysis (CO-PA), Acceleration by ERP on HANA / Integrated Platform

In the following list we would like to share in brief some remarkable results, we were able to achieve in the CO-PA area, after the upgrade to ERP on HANA:

  • CO-PA experiences an impressive general acceleration. In particular reporting and mass data based analytical transformation processes gained an immense boost in performance.
  • CO-PA reports can be build on line item basis – no need for summarizations and aggregations anymore.
  • We were able to set up virtual infoproviders for realtime reporting in BW, which enable us to directly access ERP line items as they occur. i.e. time consuming extractions can be substituted – a blessing during closing activities.
  • No index-definitions or adjustments are necessary anymore to set up new  processes. i.e. free development, less impact on competing processes in the modul environment.
  • The use of the new enhanced table selection possibilities allows complex and detailed adhoc content analysis.
  • HANA as a platform provides almost unrestricted opportunities for additional, customer specific process implementations and optimizations.

It’s obvious, that similar to the graphic above, those results emphasize on integration, process design and execution and on the analytical reporting aspects of the ERP on HANA implementation – from a controlling perspective. A homogeneous platform, as drafted in the graphic, is a big advantage for any kind of “end to end” optimization and growth strategy. The technological boundaries actually disapear and you can set your primary focus on process implementation, integration and reporting – as you normally do as an application consultant.

We think, those results show also, that, as a consequence of the HANA platform usage, the company as a whole benefits – business and IT environment. The technology impacts everybody involved in running, analyzing, designing and modelling of the existing system and process landscape. It provides flexibility and accelerates the business transformation process.

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4 Comments

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  1. Benno Eberle

    Great article Jörg and Domink!

    Really impressing to see what effect reaches the endusers or the architects when switching to HANA. Tells much more than any speed benchmark.

    Have you identified as well some new functionalities which are very helpful (propably potential to move the needle) and would not have been possible without HANA? I could imagine that there is the real power of HANA.

    Cheers

    Benno

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    1. Dominik Fliess Post author

      Hi Benno,

      thanks for your comment! I totally agree: experienced, positive results – that is it, if you want to validate processes acceleration.

      In the CO-PA area, we first of all used the performance boost to “move the needle faster” by providing realtime reporting (to report financial documents as they occur) and realtime distributions (to distribute financial documents as they occur). These two measures alone led to a drastic reduction of the time needed for our month end closing activities! Without ERP on HANA that would have been impossible. Remark: These results are purely based on the performance gain, plus slightly adjusted existing functionalities (BW or ERP) which were already in place.

      New functionalities we discovered, reach from new business functions and even modules (legal and/or management accounting) to an extended application of SAP mobility solutions (tablets, smartphones etc.).

      As business functionalities are very dependent on the industry, type and size of your company, a general recommendation where to start can hardly be made. But, starting where you can gain the most, will surely make sense – and so did we.

      It’s very similar with the SAP mobile solutions. Although the general global trend accross almost all industries towards mobility, social networking/production and universal information access makes decisions easier.

      Best Regards

      Dominik

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