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Disclaimer: this blog represents a partner’s perspective and not SAP’s official opinion or commitment. Subject to change.

Several key partners and customers were recently invited to Walldorf for a Central Finance Collaboration Workshop in order to test, provide feedback and brainstorm over the upcoming features of SAP Central Finance. If you missed the roadmap announced last December, here is the key picture:

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Roadmap: S/4 HANA Finance, Central Finance Foundation. Source: SAP

One of the key topics that we spent a lot of time on was: give existing and soon-to-be-released features, which Scenarios would provide Value to Central Finance customers? Here is the list of the top Value Scenarios that were identified.

These are the notes I took related to the Value Scenarios of S/4HANA Central Finance. Feel free to correct, comment, or extend.


Reporting with SAP Fiori


For most customers, this will be the first step in the Central Finance journey: connect one or more existing ERP system(s) to an S/4HANA instance, replicate key data, activate the Fiori content.


The potential benefits are:

  • Non-disruptive
  • Side-car (the S/4HANA instance can be restarted or discarded)
  • Access to latest UX for non-upgradable systems

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SAP Central Finance: Reporting with Fiori


Reporting: Rationalization of Data Warehousing


Once the data from the source systems have been collected into a central instance, there is an opportunity to rethink the data warehouse strategy. Instead of connecting the BW and / or BOBJ Universe to each source system, there could be a direct integration with the Central Instance. In addition, the data could now be accessed directly instead of being copied over (replacing BW DSOs with Virtual Infoproviders).


The potential benefits are:

  • Reduction of the landscape complexity and data footprint leading to lower TCO
  • Reuse of existing reports
  • Enablement of Real-Time analytics for finance-related reports

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SAP Central Finance: Rationalization of Data Warehousing


Unified Platform for Planning


Centralizing the financial data also represents a better platform for Planning with applications like SAP BPC.


The potential benefits are:

  • Better integration of planning and reporting
  • Better performance of the Planning application
  • Reduction of TCO through fewer interfaces and potential reduction of data footprint

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SAP Central Finance: Rationalization of Planning


Shared Services with Cloud Applications


Coordinating and connecting services through cloud applications like Human Capital Management (SuccessFactors), Commerce, Marketing and Billing (Hybris), Vendor Management (Fieldglass), indirect procurement (Ariba), or Travel Expenses (Concur),  can be challenging. Instead of multiple connections to each ERP instance, a central communication could be setup.


The potential benefits are:

  • Central Master Data for the Cloud Applications
  • Central processing of business processes like commerce, procurement or expenses
  • Reduced TCO through fewer interfaces

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SAP Central Finance: Cloud Applications


Shared Service Operations


Many companies have implemented Share Service Centers in order improve the efficiency of the back-office. In particular, Accounts Payables (AP), Accounts Receivables (AR), Payroll, or Document Management (openText). However, the agents performing such tasks have to log into multiple systems in order to perform their tasks. it would be much more effective for them to work out of a single system.


The potential benefits are:

  • Increased productivity of the Shared Service operators
  • Higher security with a clear separation of the central and local users and authorizations
  • Extension of the scope of the Shared Service organization to processes that were historically not possible

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SAP Central Finance: Shared Service Operations


Central Transactions

Several transactions on the ERP systems can be very time consuming or have to be performed in each single system. These processes could be improved if only they were centralized in a single system like SAP Central Finance. Some of these transactions are:

  • Rebates Calculation
  • Revenue Recognition
  • Cost Allocations
  • Period-End Closing
  • Assets Management
  • Cash Management


The potential benefits are:

  • Enablement of processes with a requirement for a global view
  • Improved productivity of operators for critical applications
  • Shorter period-end close.

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SAP Central Finance: Transactions


3rd Party Integration


Many companies with multiple ERP systems are using multiple instances of 3rd party applications like Hyperion Financial Management, Tableau, Cognos or Vistex. These companies could improve the integration of these applications by pointing to a single Central instance instead of multiple local sources. In some cases, these companies used to require a central data warehouse just to collect data for these applications. These redundant systems could also be turned off.


The potential benefits are:

  • Reduced TCO through reduction of 3rd party licenses or reduction of systems interfaces or removal of deprecated staging systems.
  • Increased performance of 3rd party applications through faster / easier data acquisition.
  • Enablement of new applications that were historically not possible.

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SAP Central Finance: 3rd Party Integration

Conclusion

SAP Central Finance or S/4HANA Finance is usually seen as a single black box but the Central Finance Collaboration Workshop allowed key customers and partners to build together additional Value Scenarios.

What do you think? Would these scenarios be relevant to your organization? Are you considering additional ones?

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