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“An ideal IT function is any IT organization with a perfect business function” (Based on the quote “An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband” by Booth Tarkington).

With S/4 HANA the relationship between business and IT changes dramatically. While IT has helped improving productivity for decades, it has at the same time often been perceived as slowing down innovation.

This had mainly been due to:

  • Complex catch-all user interfaces
  • Performance limitations of Relational Database Management Systems
  • Complex internal and external system integrations

In previous blogs I explained how a coherent enterprise architecture based on a given corporate mission and vision could help aligning business and IT along the enterprise architecture pyramid.

S/4 HANA however enables reimagining an enterprise architecture from the strategy, because IT is not limited by the above constraints anymore because of:

  • Role and task specific extendable Fiori user interfaces
  • In-memory compressed column store Database Management System
  • Homogenous on premise and cloud integration platform

Imagine a global world class consumer products company. Their mission has been to deliver the world with the freshest sustainably produced products they specialise in.

The vision had been to establish the best supply chain by collaborating with their distributors so that retailers can offer their customers the freshest products with an optimized carbon footprint.

However this vision has evolved into refining the existing supply chain with their distributors so that end consumers will receive the freshest products they want directly which would increase customer satisfaction and bonding while further reducing the carbon footprint by eliminating an unnecessary intermediate step.

Traditionally, this vision might face these challenges:

  • We don’t know who our end customers are
  • We don’t know what our end customers want on a certain day
  • Even if we knew, we could not adjust our production plans quick enough
  • If we had to send our product to our customers via a currier that would not only be expensive but also not anymore carbon neutral

With S/4 HANA and especially its cloud versions or cloud extensions you could address these challenges:

  • Set-up a consumer facing HANA Cloud Platform portal with additional product information and support or open-up your this information with API Management for third party consumer support web-sites to deliver your content
  • Implement Predictive Analytics to understand the habits and patterns of your customers purchasing your products
  • Implement Operational Process Intelligence to understand by instance where a product is in its production live cycle and whether it still could be adopted to varied requirements
  • Use HANA Geospatial functionality to cluster and optimize deliveries by directly interacting with you distributers IT systems via either Process Integration or HANA Cloud Integration.

This might seem challenging, and it is, but similar to Enterprise Service Architecture roadmaps that helped opening-up back-end systems to enable productivity increasing cross-applications, it is now time for S/4 HANA roadmaps to help embracing the digital transformation.

Finally it should even save costs to start on an S/4 HANA roadmap now by avoiding double efforts rather than plainly:

  • Refresh your hardware
  • Migrating to a longer term supported Operating System / Database combination
  • Upgrading to a longer term supported SAP release
  • Handing over from one outsourcing partner to another

S/4 HANA is reality now. Ask SAP for a Business scenario recommendations for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA service and your innovation partner for a sandbox S/4 HANA system or alternative try this SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud Trial.

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