As SAPPHIRE starts in Orlando Tomorrow, we, customers and partners, will be bombarded with information about S4/HANA. It is clear it is dead center in the SAP strategy for the next years.
The value of a renewed Business Suite will become clearer and cleared the more we hear about Simple Finance and now Simple Logistics. The roadmap looks very exciting with Fiori apps covering great scope and with the upcoming of Business Suite merge (Different components of the business suite, like CRM and SCM will now merge back with ERP to form a single system).
This transformation is still in its early stages. Financials are far ahead while logistics is coming soon. The roadmap for the “repatriation” of external business suite functions back to the ERP Core is just starting. I foresee a roadmap of 3-5 yrs until we see a complete fusion.
But what is clear is that SAP has addressed 2 of its most important issues: Simplification of SAP footprint AND User-Interface. We will soon see customers running ERP on HANA (S4/HANA) with complete business suite functions like Global ATP and eWM back in the core ERP. No more parallel SCM and/or CRM landscapes. No data replication. Shorter implementation, lower TCO.
So, all this is great, but there is a catch: Current SAP customers looking at jumping into S4/HANA need to revise their current SAP solution and consider return (as much as possible) back to standard functionality.
Customer have been running SAP for many years (some for decades) so they built on the Business Suite for 2 reasons: Either implement something that was not available at the time (early customers) or to implement customer specific requirements.
What we see more clearly now than before, is that the price to implement and maintain these customer “customizations” is much higher than just the implementation development hours. It may hinder adoption of future functionality. This is exactly what is happening now. Here are 2 major examples:
- Custom code – Customers often support thousands of custom built programs. Migrating to ERP on HANA requires a revision of this code so it can run properly (not talking about performance here, some DB practices differ and bad ABAP code of today will NOT run correctly on HANA. They NEED fixing)
- The more custom code and advanced configuration, the farther apart a customer will be from adopting 2 of the most important values of the S4HANA proposition. Guided Configuration and Standard Fiori apps.
So, now that it is more evident than ever that it pays to adopt standard practices and reduce customization to the max, isn’t it time to adopt SAP pace of innovation and stop trying to build IT solutions ourselves? Wasn’t THAT the original proposition of buying an ERP software in the first place?