The fourth SAP S/4HANA validation workshop was focused on the cloud. Owen Pettiford (BackOffice Associates) invited seven mentors to come and visit the SAP development team in Walldorf. Arno Mielke (SAP) connected them with the corresponding SAP experts.
The agenda covered the onboarding process, integration, API strategy, extensibility, analytics two tier ERP, workflow, UI paradigm with focus on CoPilot, latest innovations of 1705 and the new four quarter roadmap. Special deep dive was provided into manufacturing, finance, as well as SuccessFactors and Concur integration. Sven Denecken shared insights into the S/4HANA cloud strategy.
SAP is taking this also as an opportunity to listen and consider the early feedback of the mentors. Especially for customers with an on-premise history it is still a challenge to switch to a cloud-mindset. Nevertheless, there is an increasing demand for cloud offerings. The major motivation is to lower the TCO, reduce the complexity and quickly leverage latest innovations. Many customers want to collect cloud experiences by starting in small subsidiaries and org units. They rely on the SAP brand, a solid architecture, and appreciate the early involvement of partners and customers in feedback sessions like this workshop and the possibility for co-innovation.
On the other hand, the mentors pointed on the big demand for further features, higher performance and for more APIs to increase the flexibility of the cloud solution. There is still a certain fear of cloud especially from existing customers used to have individually tailored systems. The recommendation to the sales team is to put more weight on the presentation of the concepts, conditions and special characteristics of the cloud offering.
The quite packed two-day workshop was well received by the mentors and the SAP experts and they decided to plan the next validation workshop for end of November.