Simple Finance/S4 – First thoughts
Simple is what the finance world needs from their business applications when the business environment they live in is far from it. With the new age of digital commerce new business models appear out of no where and need to be adapted in extremely tight timelines. Traditionally ERP systems like SAP have been very good at running defined business models, however adapting them for something new has typically meant a multi month project.
By simplifying their data models, adding the power of an in memory database, redefining the user experience, and supporting cloud, on prem, and hybrid deployments SAP is hoping S4 will give businesses the speed and flexibility they need to succeed in this new business landscape. This is not something that SAP can do overnight. With such a large install base and so many current software offerings and versions it will be a very tricky road to redesign the traditional SAP ERP for the future while still supporting all the active installs with a path to the future as well as support for their current applications until they can make the journey.
SAP S4 will be offered as an on premises and a cloud deployment. Since both the on prem and the cloud applications are based on the same code base hybrid options are also available where you may run key strategic business processes on prem and non-core processes in the cloud. You could also use the cloud offering as a starting point for new business lines and then transfer them back to on prem later. If you would like to learn more about the S4 vision there is an OPEN SAP course running right now that is free and will give you a good introduction to S4 Hana. SAP S/4HANA – Deep Dive – SAP S/4HANA experts
For years the worlds of FI and CO were always grouped together in skill set but were very separate in terms of the system and the intended audiences. Separate tables, separate enterprise structure, even separate accounts (GL accounts in FI and Cost elements in CO.) In more recent times with the introduction of the New GL these distinctions started to blur, objects that were traditionally thought of as more CO could be used in FI, legal requirements in some countries caused external reporting to became more segment based which was traditionally provided in CO and only for internal use.
The time has come simplify the structure behind FICO and merge it more to a single finance function. With simple finance 2.0 SAP has greatly simplified the data structure by creating a single line item table the will contain all the FI and CO characteristics about a transaction. For the more technical there is a great series of blog posts on what this means. https://blogs.saphana.com/2014/09/30/how-simple-finance-removes-redundancy-2/
Along with the database changes they have set out to simplify the interaction of the user as well.
I have had a chance over the last week or so to configure a system that has the latest version of the Simple Finance Add-in. In a series of posts I will touch on some things I thought were of note.
The next post will look at the convergence of the GL Account and Cost Element into a single object.