Digital economy has arrived in a big way and only a few people will disagree that it is here to stay. Digital transformation, which is fueling the digital economy, is rapidly disrupting the entire value chain in many industries. You need a digital core for your business to survive and thrive in such a fast paced digital economy. A digital core platform allows you to get connected with your customers, supply chain partners, social networks, devices and things, all at the same time. In other words, it enables you to digitalize and internet-ize your business. SAP S/4 HANA is a digital core platform designed and developed by SAP.

SAP S/4 HANA enables you to connect to the internet economy in the ways which could not be imagined just some time back. It helps you digitalize your value chain with all the value chain partners around 4 key digital transformation themes –

  • Omni channel customer experience
  • Supplier collaboration business networks
  • Workforce engagement, and
  • Internet of things.

There are 5 important innovations which underlie SAP S/4 HANA digital core platform –

  1. Simple Data Model: With a simplified data model, SAP S/4 HANA is able to achieve upto 10x smaller data footprint. This also helps achieve a faster deployment time and overall a reduced total cost of ownership.
  2. Modern User Experience: With SAP Fiori UX, the user experience is getting transformed from a cluttered, boring desktop user interface to a modern, inspirational user experience which is responsive and device agnostic
  3. Innovative Business Solutions: With simplified and innovative solutions such as SAP Simple Finance, Simple Logistics, SAP Predictive Analytics – the businesses are able to leverage continuous waves of innovation without disrupting their existing environment
  4. Choice of Deployment: SAP S/4 HANA can be deployed either On-Premise or on the cloud. This gives significant flexibility to the businesses depending upon their current landscape and future goals
  5. Non-Disruptive Journey: SAP customers can start their journey to SAP S/4 HANA from wherever they are, which means there is a deployment path available even if you are a new SAP customer or an existing customer.

The last point mentioned in the above list needs further investigation as how existing or new SAP customers can adopt SAP S/4 HANA in a non-disruptive way to make it a digital core for their business. Let’s look at the 3 situations possible and discuss 3 deployment options which suit these situations.

There are 3 starting points as the customer journey to SAP S/4 HANA which are a) New SAP customer, b) Existing customer with SAP Business Suite on any DB and c) Existing customer with SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA. The On-premise deployment options vary according to each of these situations.

  1. Starting Point A
    New SAP Customers

    This is a new implementation of SAP HANA on-premise edition. The customer journey includes 4 key steps (main steps, not the complete technical list) as mentioned below –

           Plan the scope and identify key business scenarios
           Install HANA and S/4 HANA: This would require installation of SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP 7.5 based on SAP HANA,                followed by installation of SAP S/4 HANA on-premise edition. After this, SAP Fiori for SAP S/4 HANA on premise edition needs to be installed
           Import data from legacy application as needed

           Install exchange innovation such as SAP Simple Finance.

      In summary, in this scenario, first SAP S/4 HANA implementation is done and then master and transactional data are migrated from the legacy system.

     2. Starting Point B
        Customers with SAP ERP on any database

        In this scenario, the customer wants to migrate from on-premise SAP ERP to SAP S/4 HANA, on-premise edition. The customer journey involves           6  key steps as mentioned below –

           Plan the scope and identify key business scenarios
           Update SAP ERP ECC6 to EhP7 and Unicode data types. This also includes updating to SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP 7.5
           Migrate the database to SAP HANA
           Install SAP S/4 HANA on-premise edition and install SAP Fiori for SAP S/4 HANA, on-premise edition
           Migrate the data from old data structures to the new simplified data structures
           Install exchange innovation such as SAP Simple Finance.

     3. Starting Point C
     Customers with SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA

    

     In this scenario, the customer wants to migrate from on-premise SAP ERP powered by SAP HANA to SAP S/4 HANA. The customer journey involves           3  key steps as mentioned below –

Plan the scope and identify key business scenarios
            Install exchange innovation such as SAP Simple Finance.

In case the customers want to start with SAP S/4 HANA cloud edition, the journey is going to comprise the following steps –

Try SAP S/4 HANA cloud edition and buy the subscription
Migrate the data to SAP S/4 HANA cloud edition from the legacy system
Integrate the applications with SAP S/4 HANA cloud edition as necessary
Test and use SAP S/4 HANA cloud edition.

Depending upon their starting point, the SAP customers can walk an appropriate journey path and deploy and run SAP S/4 as their digital core which can help them survive and thrive in the digital economy.

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