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SAP S/4HANA: you cannot hide from the future; interview with Per Högberg

I had the pleasure to meet with Per Högberg, Managing Partner at Skye AB, at the recent SUGEN Meeting that took place a couple days back in Sankt Leon-Rot, Germany.

Per agreed to publish this interview about SAP S/4HANA and the business opportunities that the new business suite and its technology is bringing. Here is the essence of our conversation.

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Yannick: Per, thanks a lot for spending a few minutes for this SCN Interview, Per. It is a pleasure to finally meet in person. Can you please introduce yourself in a few words?

Per: I am Managing Partner at Skye AB, doing SAP consulting. I am mainly working for big global customers, and I am active there also in the IT-Strategy part. I actually started my career in the area of strategy and development for companies. Beside all my customer engagements, I am active in different organizations: I am a SUGEN founder. With SUGEN, with my main focus right now is on License and Strategy. I’m as well board member for the SAPSA, the SAP User Group for Sweden.

Yannick: Where does your customer stand today, can you describe their SAP landscape?

Per: my main customer is using SAP ERP and the SAP Business Suite and actually facing currently big challenges, like around consolidation of systems. There are a lot of strategic discussions and questions about their future roadmap. One very important question regarding SAP S/4HANA is about the timing. When should we do something? When should we all really start to educate ourselves, because SAP S/4HANA is developing so fast? Is it too early or not? All in all there a lot of question marks and uncertainties and we need to talk openly about them.

Yannick: does your customer have plans with SAP S/4HANA?

Per: First of all, SAP HANA has been added to our roadmap a while ago already. We have had many discussions with the strategy group. Now with SAP S/4HANA, we think that it could be the basis for a system consolidation, as well as for business innovations. These are the two big things: SAP S/4HANA is the best way forward to consolidate the SAP system landscapes, and most importantly SAP S/4HANA has opened a lot of new business opportunities for us.

Yannick: What are your next steps toward HANA?

Per: we had one of the first MRP on HANA presentations from Hasso Plattner at SUGEN and this triggered a lot of discussions. We said that we would like to run MRP calculations on SAP HANA without any batchjob, which would give us much more than better analytics. This is where we are right now at my customer. SAP S/4HANA is a new way of thinking for them; it is a new way of doing business, and much more than a database
that will help skip another one…

Yannick: What are the new business opportunities for you?

Per: just think about the MRP run: when is it done? Everyone is working with outdated data. With the S/4HANA capabilities and the ability to make real time analysis, this old process is completely redefined, which is a totally new way of thinking for customers. On the one hand they can renovate old business processes based on this, on the other hand they get better and cheaper systems and overall a total change of their IT landscape. I have a Logistics background, and in this area SAP S/4 HANA enables to think in a totally new way. Let me just give one more example: predictive analysis of machines. This is crucial for the industry, and SAP S/4HANA is a paradigm shift, that opens completely new business opportunities with its predictive capabilities. Simply said, how often can you ask management about total renovation of your business cases? This opportunity is now – but the pay off time, due to the time for making such project is challenging.

Yannick: what are the new IT opportunities?

Per: I think that IT is just a consequence in that case, it is a facilitator for new business opportunities, or an enabler. In the end, it´s really the business opportunities that counts for companies. That is why they are willing to make this big investment.

Yannick: What is your recommendation for the reader of this interview?

Per: It is too hard and complicated to go through this transformation alone. Talk, discuss with each other in networks like SAP User Group, it’s a real paradigm shift; therefore start to think in another ways. Convince different people and kick of the first studies. SAP S/4HANA is much more than IT infrastructure and new SAP software. You need to start to think very soon, you cannot hide from the future,because then you could lose your business!

Yannick: thanks a lot for your time Per, no doubt that our SCN readers will appreciate a lot those insights.

Follow Per on Twitter @per_hogberg

Follow Yannick on Twitter @ypeterschmitt

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