Tomorrow SAP’s CEO will make an announcement around its new product S4HANA. You can find the link and further information in the post below:


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SAP S/4HANA launch next tuesday broadcasted live

Please join SAP executives CEO, Bill McDermott, Co-Founder and Chairman, Hasso Plattner and Executive Board Member for Products and Innovation, Bernd Leukert for details on the next step in SAP’s innovation journey.

Please join online here: Feb 3rd SAP S/4HANA Launchevents.sap.com

Feb 3rd SAP S/4HANA Launch http://events.sap.com/s4hana/en/home

Based on what is already known (many posts out there…), S4HANA is:

  • ERP on HANA;
  • With simplified data model (à la SimpleFinancials, but across all modules);
  • With Fiori based UI;
  • With Guided configuration;
  • To run on premise or in the cloud;
  • Releases targeted by industry based on Best Practices;

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Touted as the successor (or the evolution of) SAP ERP, this is not a minor/unimportant piece of software.

I believe it has the potential of being the most important and relevant announcement in a long time. My reasons being:



HANA delivers

Lots have been talked about HANA. Big BUZZ, lots of marketing dollars. Sure an incredible solution. A revolution in fact. It sets the foundation to completely transform all we work with and the way we design and use applications in the future.

However, until now, customers have been having a hard time justifying the Jump onto HANA. “Fast is great but what is the value of speed? What is the real return to me?” (asks a customer).

ERP Running on HANA is the most compelling HANA business case. Not all see it yet, but that is what it is.

ERP Simplification and Guided Configuration

One of the 2 most clear complaints from customers (see the other below) is that SAP is so feature rich, so deep that it gets complex. That it is heavy to run and costly. Even if that is majorly a misconception (cause it depends who implements it. It simply makes all the difference in the world between having an army of juniors or a small team of Seniors….), it is still one of the strongest arguments today against SAP. SAP loses deals in the SMB space due to this perception.

ERP simplification will make the application simpler and with Guided Configuration, simpler to use/deploy. This is direct increase in ROI. This makes the SAP ERP business case a lot more compelling.

UI renovation

The second strongest argument against SAP today is that it doesn’t look as good as others. SAP always had a challenge in delivering UI renovation as it is not a small undertake. It means a lot of transaction redesign. But one day, that would need to be done. That is being done now! Fiori experience for S4HANA (to be confirmed the scope) will help a lot in changing the perception of this. The beauty of this initiative is that, under the hood, you have the most powerful engine that exists, that is the depth of functionality of SAP ERP. The UI is HTML5, fiori like, user-centric, good looking.

In short, you deliver a much better piece of software that potentially will address the 2 most important pain points of SAP ERP? OF COURSE I AM LISTENING!!!

What I am looking forward to hearing more about tomorrow:

  • Cost – I know it is not realistic that we will hear specifics about this, but some guidance on licensing would be great;
  • Path forward for existing customers. While this is clear for new accounts (jump on it directly), what happens for existing ERP customers? And what about their licenses?
  • IS Roadmap – Professional services is supposed to be one of the first Industry packages. I really would like to see dates and which Industries will come next.

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14 Comments

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  1. Andreas Profitlich

    #s4hana seems the logical next step.

    What’s more interesting:

    Which technologies are used? Is it a new full featured ERP or will we see the failed Business by Design in a new costume with Fiori screens instead of the silverlight GUI?

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      No, this part I can answer to you right now. It is confirmed, it is the full SAP ERP that is having its data model revisited (simplified, as it was done for financials) and with its UI made available by Fiori Apps. That is why the realease of this S4HANA is phased (more details today I hope) and by Industry/functionality.

      Nothing to do with ByDesign, even if a lot of the great features of BYD are now being “replicated” in S4HANA like Guided Configuration. While ERP is by far more feature rich, BYD still has functionality that ERP doesn’t have, incluiding implementation project, better help support, multi tenancy, better Mobility support, etc etc..

      S4HANA is the evolution of ERP. Think of it as R/4 if you want… 😉

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  2. Atul Mehrotra

    What is the plan for SAP to release Simple Logistics and simplified versions of other SAP modules? Are we at point where we can use Fiori to run end-to-end bsiness process and stop using SAPGui?

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      What we know (cause not much was detailed on this regard) is:

      – As ERP is getting “simplified” (not completely done yet), we will get packaged releases.

      This means FINANCIALS is done; Functionality around Professional Services package will be made available first(Q12015). Pharmaceuticals will be next (towards end of year). and then so on…

      The idea is to eventualy phase out the SAP GUI. Replaced by end to end Fiori.

      As you can imagine, this will take time. SAP will support parallel usage FIORI and GUI for a while (mentioned by Hasso today)

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  3. Nathan Genez

    1. I’m all for redesigning the UI and while I understand the risk in doing so (millions of users are interacting with SAP via SAPGUI), there is too much benefit to ignore it.  I could see it opening up doors to make enhancements and further customer specific requirements easier…  sometimes these can’t be done all because of the GUI.

    2. But… I’m not sure I see much of a practical improvement much less a real simplification of an ERP system by putting it on HANA.  Reporting speed?  Yes, that’s great and will yield immediate significant improvements.  But how does dropping some aggregate tables make the configuration, execution, and support of a single process (such as GR/IR for an international company) any simpler?  These processes are complex for many reasons that have nothing to do with COSP et al. 

    3. And… how does this open the door to the SMB?  Is SAP giving up on ByD now for good?  I just don’t think ERP scales down nicely. 

    …lots to learn and pay attention to.

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      Hi Nathan,

      I will BLOG soon about what is known, what is not. Just to clarify a bit.

      Agreed about the rigidity of the current GUI. This has been one of the challenges for partners and customers.

      Putting ERP on HANA will bring immense innovations. Sure that if we look at just ERP on HANA, the value is arguable. Sure we would get better reporting with HANA Live but possibly not much performance improvement (at least on regular transactions).

      The value comes from the transformation around now being on HANA.

      Imagine the day ERP SCM and CRM will  be all together without interfaces, using the same data set. This will be a HUGE simplification.

      Also, the new data model of SIMPLE FINANCIALS really mean simpler programs. No Locking = HUGE.

      Another point to not minize is the importance of GUIDED CONFIGURATION. A lot of functionality is not used by customers today cause “it is too complicated” or simply “I don’t know how to set it up”.

      I believe we are starting to point to a , rather far and distance, future where customization will reduce. Even if immediately it seems all to get more complicated.

      Leo

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      1. Nathan Genez

        SAP tried years ago to come up with configuration wizards and I’m curious how it differs from guided configuration.  The problem is that each step has a question which represents many alternative paths for different customers/countries/industries.  We’ve all been there.  At best, I would imagine that it finished with a basic setup that then requires further setup which could be quite extensive.  Global GR/IR processes are inherently difficult.  I’m skeptical but not cynical about this… I am genuinely looking forward to S4HANA and hope it revitalizes an already strong market.

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        1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

          You’ve asked, and I gotta say…   😉

          BYD has cracked that a long time ago.

          The answer is actually about the scope. You cannot replace all the configuration by answers. The only way is to rely on Best practices and predefined scenarions.

          it goes with what I mentioned as the “eventual return to standard”… it is inevitable but far down the road

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  4. Martin English

    Maybe I’ve missed the point of what (or who) the S in S4HANA stood for, but if it’s about making the customer’s life simple, why do they still need the used car salesmen of the IT world ?

    According to SAP Nation by Vinnie Mirchandani, there’s a consultant industry worth over 200 Billion Dollars built around the implementation and support of SAP. if S4HANA is anything, it should be about reducing the complexity that drives that industry, returning the money to the customer.

    hth

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      HI Martin,

      As mentioned in my previous reply, I believe there is the immediate complexity for this change, but we cannot oversee the simplification down the road.

      While it takes 5 ERP guys and 3 SCM to run a ERP/SCM shop, it will inevitable take less in the future (no interfaces, guided configuration and the innevitable push towards standardization).

      Still a bit far, but it is coming

      Leo

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