When we launched SAP S/4HANA in February 2015, I was most looking forward to seeing how our customers would be re-energized by a simplified system to reimagine IT and be at the forefront of the digital transformation of their companies. SAP S/4HANA creates unique opportunities for IT to enable new digital business models and processes with a simplified landscape that reduces footprint, increases throughput, and lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO).
More than 1,300 customers have already chosen SAP S/4HANA (Press Release) since the February launch, making it the fastest growing product in SAP’s history, beating the record set before by Suite on HANA. My colleague Markus Schwarz has written about several of these customers and how they are reimagining their business processes. With SAP S/4HANA, the IT organizations at These customers will spend more time leading digital innovation and less time managing their current complexity.
How is this possible? It begins with a simpler, unified data model on top of an in-memory platform, something we have discussed since the launch of SAP S/4HANA. Then, SAP S/4HANA enables users to leverage the system with an award-winning user experience.
For most organizations, today there is no real-time, single source of truth. This means waiting for batch updates and data reconciliation, and at best getting disconnected snapshots of the business, unable to generate any benefit from all the data. This complexity not only costs the business, IT must manage ever-increasing storage, database maintenance, and data movement cost. Various applications and data warehouses sprout up throughout the enterprise in an effort to generate value from the data, but end up adding to the overall complexity.
Imagine what IT can enable for the business, then, with a real-time, unified data source. Let’s look at two example use cases examples in finance and supply chain. You can find more use cases on SCN.
When finance runs from a unified data source, costly FI-CO (Finance-Controlling) reconciliation is eliminated and batch processes like period-end closing can happen in a moment instead of over many days with an army of spreadsheet warriors. What CIO would not want to bring that new capability to the CFO?
Above: Financial close anytime, with no bottleneck or waiting. A “soft close” can be run even in the middle of a period to check for errors.
These are exactly the first benefits realized by Turk Telecom, who consolidated many ERP systems into one unified environment with their new deployment of SAP S/4HANA Finance (watch video). For IT, the benefits of a simpler landscape are reduced costs and support. No more calls to IT for special reports to be run. No more waiting on the next ETL batch to complete. No more extractions to spreadsheets.
The same concept—running from a real-time, unified data source—applies to supply chain planning as well. When Material Requirements Planning (MRP) can be done in minutes across large data sets, the business can react quickly to changes in supply and demand. Users can even perform what-if analysis when faced with a problem, resulting in fewer operational and fulfillment exceptions. Our performance benchmarking Team estimates this will result in an average 17% reduction in inventory carrying costs.
Above: Traditional MRP with multiple data sources and the resulting latency.
Above: Instantly-refreshed, role-based supply chain KPIs with drill down to a unified data source.
A fully-supported journey with resources available now
How does IT best begin the journey to SAP S/4HANA? The main thing to know is you have complete choice of deployment (on-premise, cloud, and hybrid – the later which will be the norm for very Long time) with a fully supported journey that is backed by a vast array of Tools and services to help. I’d like to mention a few of those key resources.
First, customers can get a personalized report showing how SAP S/4HANA will impact their specific lines of business by having their SAP software usage data analyzed through the business scenario recommendation tool.
Customers can sign up for a free trial of SAP S/4HANA. The trials – available for both editions – are a great way to demonstrate the role-based user experience and evaluate first-hand digitized business processes.
SAP Activate simplifies the journey to SAP S/4HANA with ready-to-run methodologies, best practices, and guided configuration tools.
Finally, our SAP S/4HANA Cookbook, with specific, technical guidance on the SAP S/4HANA journey, plus connection to the vital and energetic SCN community.
With these resources, our outstanding partner network, and 1,300 customers already on-board, you can be confident that now is the time to begin your own SAP S/4HANA journey.