in my earlier blog SAP S/4HANA, cloud edition 1506: what is the scope? i mentioned that i’ll follow up with more details regarding cloud qualities and SAP’s effort in that matter. For this I spoke to Stefan Batzdorf, from SAP SE, and we’d like to share this a couple of information with you.
YP: Stefan can you please first introduce yourself and your role in the SAP S/4HANA organisation?
Stefan Batzdorf: I am the responsible Global Program Lead of S/4HANA – SAPs next generation business suite fully designed and built to run on SAPs advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA. Together with my team I globally coordinate and drive development execution for all products – S/4HANA Cloud
editions and S/4HANA on-Premise – across the organization.
YP: Stefan, first question, what is meant by cloud qualities?
SB: Under the umbrella term “Cloud Qualities” we summarize all investments that we take in order to standardize the product experience for a public cloud offering and to reduce the TCO for both customers and SAP for all our cloud products. This integrates such investments as:
- Consumer grade UI for faster roll-out and higher end-user adoption
- Reduced TCO and TCOps for economies of scale – Higher standardization and best practice business processes leading to less need for customization & individualization (allowing for example a company template approach in the cloud)
- Simple configuration for faster adoption of change – Less upgrade testing as extensive regression tests are with the solution provider
- Development in short cycles to frequently release new innovations – Decoupled lifecycle of solutions and customer/partner extension
YP: In which area did SAP invest for the 1506 release?
SB: We mainly invested into consumer grade UI (delivery of Web-access only for all UI transactions) and into lifecycle management automation in order to automate our cloud operations processes. In addition to this we enhanced the available business processes in the Cloud by offering customers the S/4HANA Cloud Enterprise Edition. Let’s have a look into the three spots:
- The product is Fiori-enabled because technically it needs Fiori for being a web-enabled cloud product that is state-of-the-art and enables UI modifications in future releases if UI designs and strategy might change or adapt. The product is role-based; it focuses on the primary user of a certain business process, puts the necessary information into business context and by this enables a ‘System of Me’. The merge of OLTP and OLAP enables embedded analytics and is the start of every transaction – decision and facts driven – and the system allows the user to focus on problem and decision solving tasks.
- In addition I give you a concrete example for LM automation: system provisioning is standardized and automated leading to the fact that
customers can order a cloud trial system which is provisioned within hours and the move from a starter edition to a Quality/Test/Productive system is done within a day. Customer specific configuration and system setup can then start subsequently.
- The “Starter Edition” can be seen as a standard pre-configured system giving new customers the option to start right away in the Cloud with their system implementation: uploading master data, migrating on-premise business data, adopting the standard configuration and the standard user templates and roles. This reduces the implementation efforts to only weeks.
YP: What are the benefits for the end users in the 1506 release?
SB: End users have the benefit that they access the system via web only, anywhere and anytime from any device. Beside this, end users have the power, freedom and tools to configure, modify and monitor the software — without the need of a local IT department. Four you as an end-user, all tasks like modifying the UI screen, monitoring your batch jobs and output processes, your integration processes, enhancing the output forms, fine tune system configuration can be done by key and end users. No access to system administration or system transactions in the backend are required anymore.
YP: What is next regarding “cloud qualities” for S/4HANA cloud customers?
SB: In the Cloud we release quarterly new innovations to customers. Our focus for the next releases are — increasing the Fiori coverage to 100% along a roadmap — covering more industry solutions on the cloud (besides the Professional Services industry) — enhancing the language and country scope to allow for more regional implementations. This is done based on feedback from first customers. — enhancing the functional scope in the S/4HANA Enterprise Edition based on first customer feedback .
YP: What are the technical benefits for customers now as the operations are owned by SAP?
SB: Let me give you a concrete example of customer benefits in the area of configuration & customization — a process that normally involved hundreds of consulting days. You will see that our cloud paradigms also benefit on-Premise customers. It is a prerequisite for a cloud product to be easily configurable via the web – for on-Premise this is a major step to simplify how systems can be adapted. Therefore in S/4HANA the guided configuration approach is introduced. It provides a fully configured system with sample data and ready-to-run standardized business processes (e.g. Quote2Cash) as a starting point for an implementation project. Based on this starting point, a key user can use self-service configuration applications to adopt the processes to customer requirements. Thus a key user is capable to activate a new business process where foremost a technical consultant was needed to perform this task.
For example activating a new organization leads to an automatic (under the hood) activation of multiple checks and writing of 300–400 data fields to allow the system to perform correctly. These SAP Best Practices enable customers a fast start, enable them to learn iteratively and – especially for the public
cloud – provide highly standardized and optimized business processes for the cloud to efficiently automate system provisioning and provide the system with
the best services. The guided configuration approach also addresses the simplification of system updates and upgrades, e.g. via allowing to provision additional business process pre-configuration automatically after initial go-live.
YP: in what sense can “cloud qualities” be beneficial to on-Premise customers?
SB: SAP S/4HANA is build and designed for public cloud qualities. Qualities for the cloud also drive the value for customers in on-premise as well and ensure fast innovation through a shared code line, libraries and qualities for all deployment options under S/4HANA. Enhancements in simplified access and configuration, web-only access for all actions, sub-second E2E performance, permanent innovation with quarterly deliveries and fast system provisioning times with low cost and efforts are key value propositions. Let us have a look at some examples where on-Premise customers concretely benefit from our cloud qualities:
- A simplified and guided configuration (end user enabled) also reduces configuration and implementation efforts on-Premise.
- Our new end-user enabled extension concept (for field extensions and analytics extensibility) can be leveraged on-Premise as well asa guideline for low TCO if manual custom code can be omitted
- Our lifecycle management automation (system setup and software update) such as near-zero downtime management also reduces efforts for on-Premise system operations if the cloud guidelines are kept (such as to work only against released APIs)
- Our ‘Principle of One’ paradigm: Customer problems are resolved with one solution only – therefore an S/4HANA system has no redundancies or duplicate processes; neither in features, processes, nor data. With the quarantine process we remove redundant functionality or components and we modularize the software thus delivering new efficient end2end business processes. This gives investment protection to our customers.
- And last but not least our approach for “Cloud first delivery” (quarterly delivery of innovations in the cloud) delivers well-proven innovations to our on-Premise customers (on a yearly basis).
Thanks a lot to Stefan for sharing his insights with us. Happy to get your feedback on this post and your view on cloud qualities.
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