One of the biggest takeaways from this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW is the growing excitement around SAP Central Finance. The appeal is obvious: finance organizations are eager to innovate their business and drive better corporate performance. Central Finance offers a clear path toward the SAP S/4HANA Finance innovations without having to deal with a complicated upgrade.
Clearly, the value of Central Finance for aggregating all your financial information is powerful, but to realize these benefits requires greater data considerations in your implementation – otherwise you risk derailing the whole project.
The two most common questions I am asked is ‘how do you bring non-SAP data into Central Finance?’ and for those with both SAP and non-SAP systems it’s ‘how do I harmonize data?’
Key issues with implementing Central Finance
In our increasingly heterogeneous technology environments, corporate and financial data reside in multiple and disparate ERP systems. As such, figuring out how to get all your information out of the many disparate sources where it lives today and into Central Finance in a timely and reliable way is no small undertaking.
Firstly, SAP does not provide connectors to non-SAP sources. Each source requires a connector to load into Central Finance. Understanding and transforming multiple transaction types into Central Finance-compatible form is another consideration. Furthermore, the ability to integrate in near real-time is key for realizing the full value of Central Finance.
Secondly, data consistency is always a challenge and your data may be inconsistent even between SAP systems. Different customer and item keys must be ‘harmonized’ for correct reporting in Central Finance. Data quality and harmonization issues must be understood and included in implementation plans or else this can blindside implementations if you are not aware of the data, its quality, consistency and how many duplicates there are.
Ultimately, the development, QA and ongoing maintenance of all these capabilities require specialized knowledge with high costs and risks. Most often, it is not practical for companies to build this themselves.
How to connect and harmonize any data source into Central Finance
The fastest path forward can be achieved through rapid enablement in two key areas: connecting to non-SAP data sources and harmonizing multiple source systems. This can be achieved with a pre-built, automated solution.
- Depending on your source system, there are up to 23 transaction types in areas such as receivables, payables and general ledger that need to be extracted from the source and mapped into the required format for Central Finance. Consider leveraging pre-built source connectors that allow for rapid connection to a variety of source systems without the need for development.
- Harmonization is another crucial step in enabling Central Finance. The success of your implementation entails checking for data consistency across connected sources (including SAP sources) and creating business mappings across all data sources to effectively harmonize disparate data.
Solving the problem of integrating non-SAP source systems and data is the most important consideration for your Central Finance implementation. Once you’ve mastered this, your finance departments will be empowered to use Central Finance to run your business at the speed of today’s digital economy.
What path are you taking to integrate all your financial data sources to gain the exact visibility needed to drive corporate performance?