Increasing amounts of data, complex yet inflexible business processes, heterogeneous IT landscapes with multiple software platforms and solutions – these challenges may sound familiar to many companies nowadays. Digital transformation is moving up on businesses’ agendas as they seek to stay ahead of the competition, steer and make better use of technology, and drive innovation.
Studies find cloud computing to be one agent of digital disruption. And indeed, cloud computing is a promising option to lower IT costs, accelerate time to value, and increase flexibility. As such, it is no surprise that enterprise resource planning (ERP) in the cloud has also been gaining momentum as companies look for ways to reduce the upfront costs of ERP systems, reduce deployment times, and easily scale systems up and down, making it easier to customize software to meet their individual needs.
From Prediction to Action with SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1705
The latest update to SAP S/4HANA Cloud supports companies in doing exactly that. SAP S/4HANA Cloud is our intelligent ERP software-as-a-service solution with contextual analytics, digital assistant capabilities, machine learning, and the award-winning SAP Fiori user experience. I already outlined the numerous benefits of SAP S/4HANA in my previous blog, and with the 1705 release, we are adding even more intelligence to the core of the solution.
Most notably, 1705 features general availability of SAP CoPilot, a digital assistant that is intuitive to use, highly intelligent, and contextualized. Aware of business context, it offers relevant insights and recommends actions just when you need them based on your role, context, and current business situation. It streamlines tasks and facilitates teamwork, thus laying the foundation for more collaboration so employees can work more quickly, more successful, and more intelligently.
Talking about intelligence: 1705 also features further machine learning capabilities and predictive analytics for increased end-user efficiency, automatic invoice matching, and more. Businesses can quickly respond to changing market requirements and customer demands, thus achieving a new level of agility that allows them to stay competitive. Machine learning functionalities automate mundane manual tasks in business operations, freeing up valuable time and resources for innovations. These are just two of the updates in SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1705 – if you are interested in finding out more, make sure you check out the SAPPHIRE NOW 2017 announcement.
Fully fledged ERP in the cloud
SAP S/4HANA Cloud is far from a “lighter” version of a full-blown ERP deployed on premise, but the digital cloud suite of choice to run a successful business in the cloud. We offer the full variety of deployment models from on premise to private and public cloud with one single architecture and one data model. Versions are based on the same code line, so any functionality deployed in one version can be moved to another any time without effort. Customers can run hybrid ERP landscapes with low effort and move to the cloud step by step and at their own pace, without disrupting their existing IT landscapes.
In addition to enabling two-tier ERP, whereby a company can move a subsidiary to SAP S/4HANA Cloud to integrate seamlessly with its on-premise system at the headquarters, the single code line approach also enables process equivalence. According to Josh Greenbaum from Enterprise Application Consulting, “this means, for instance, that a new “fit to standard” business process in S/4 HANA, version whatever, could be stress-tested and perfected in one location – say in your offshore subsidiary – and then moved around to world to your other locations in a way that would vastly simplify the change management issues inherent in any new process change. Are these other entities running S/4 HANA on prem or in the cloud? Who cares? If it’s available as ‘fit to standard’, an identical configuration of the one you’ve created for one line of business can be deployed anywhere pretty much as-is.”
As this results in customers being able to separate the strategic decision to move to SAP S/4HANA from the deployment question, they can focus on what matters most – how to best manage their business challenges with technology.