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As a kid I grew up watching tennis players like Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf, Boris Becker. However, being from a middle-class background playing tennis was only a luxury and not quite affordable due to the expensive sporting equipment, availability of courts etc. Secondly, due to sheer number of kids in our neighborhood, one ended up playing games where maximum kids could play at a time. Therefore, it was cricket which I played by default.

In those years my impression was that Tennis was not a team sport (except for doubles). However, I was wrong even Tennis singles is a team sport. You’re playing it for your own but behind the scenes you have coach, support staff. This is the team for the tennis player.

I work for SAP and obviously these days 1/3rd of the day my mind is filled with S/4HANA. So, when I observed tennis due to the ongoing Wimbledon and digital transformation with S/4HANA closely; I understood that even though S/4HANA transformation is for one company’s sake it alone cannot do it. A company’s entire digital transformation with S/4HANA is a team-sport.

Before I took up a position in SAP’s S/4HANA Product Development team that produces procurement software, I was based in North America guiding customers to plan and strategize the multiyear S/4HANA transformation. This was spanning across different industries such as retail, pharmaceutical, healthcare, even an automotive startup and each transformation I experienced was unique.

I took the liberty to pen down those learning as the match winning tips for an S/4HANA transformation and its successful outcome. Though this should be viewed as only my personal point of view.

Strategize according to conditions

Due to the very nature of the grass courts, the ball moves at a quicker pace with a lower bounce. While on clay courts the ball moves at lower speed with higher bounce. As a result, tennis players must change their execution style according to the court. They could be aggressive on grass or conservative on clay courts.

Similarly, every enterprise is unique, with different starting points and end points. Whether you are starting a net-new implementation or undergoing a digital transformation in an existing SAP solution landscape. Therefore, it is prudent to strategize well at the outset. Here, Take advantage of SAP Value Assurance service packages for SAP S/4HANA.

Right coach & equipment makes all the difference

A good racquet, excellent pair of shoes, active sportswear (apart from skill) help player excel at the game.

So is in digital transformation, where it is imperative to have right knowledge about your business processes, data archiving strategies, migration tool, best practices etc. Above all, take advice from your system integrator and SAP. Transformation navigator can be of help to get clear guidance on SAP S/4HANA-centric product map.

If you’re evaluating procurement transformation & it is part of overall digital transformation then you want to know how S/4HANA Procurement & SAP Ariba can serve your needs, look at designing the future of your SRM.

If you’re using a solution from SAP partner make sure that is enabled and certified by SAP for the product version of S/4HANA that you’re planning to implement. Get a readiness check done before you start accelerating the execution steps. It is a good imperative to treat some changes for simplification as small pre-projects for example business partner integration or data archiving before a system conversion.

Strong will is the key

Losing the first set could be a temporary setback for a tennis player and only a strong will can help to make a good recovery.

Similarly, with digital transformation strong will of people in the organization is important for the technological change. So, get the cross LoB buy-in at every level from very early. You need people inside the company who champion the cause of this transformation. It is not a bad idea to have internal evangelist from your IT & business.

“It’s hugely important that IT leaders take charge in empowering employees to drive this change forward.” – Steve Weston, CIO of Hays PLC, notes in his article for CIO

Master your serve

A serve in tennis is so very important starting point. A good serve could convert to a good rally. The most common statistic one will hear from tennis commentators is the success rate of first-serve.

With S/4HANA transformation too, the right start at the planning stage is vital for smoother project execution. The sooner you begin planning for your transformation, the better view you have on available strategies (greenfield, system conversion, public cloud, private cloud, on-premise, two-tier model etc.)

So, start now! SAP Road Maps highlight innovations and provide a robust planning horizon to help detail the transformation journey.

S/4HANA Trial is great way to start. Explore SAP S/4HANA with a 30-day trial or Start your SAP S/4HANA Cloud experience now with a free 14-day trial.

Forehand, backhand and ground stroke

Depending on what a player is aiming for, every tennis shot will have a different result.

Similarly, your transformation needs and plans are different. Depending on your intermediate goals you could have different plans – you might first start with central finance implementation giving boost to your finance needs and then bring logistics gradually onto S/4HANA.

If you are planning for cost control via centralized purchasing then you might want to pursue central purchasing. With SAP S/4HANA 1709 SAP took the first step to deliver a central hub deployment for procurement by enabling it for purchase requisitions. Now customers can connect different SAP ERPs to their central SAP S/4HANA system, which will serve as the hub system for centralized purchase requisitioning.

You might have a system with many custom developments and you can take this transformation as an opportunity to get rid of those and move to standard SAP functions. While other companies could start with S/4HANA cloud implementation for subsidiaries first to bring agility to overall transformation program and internally socialize the migration learning.

Go for aces

The best players optimize their winning chances with aces.

In your digital transformation with S/4HANA, think innovation as your ace. SAP Leonardo combines next-gen technologies and industry expertise so companies can rapidly transform your business into an Intelligent Enterprise.

A survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and written in discussion with SAP identifies organizations that are already benefiting from ML as Fast Learners. Approximately, half (48 percent) of the companies who say they have already benefited from machine learning cite increased profitability as the top benefit they have realized. Check out the report here.

Take the next step in your SAP S/4HANA journey today 

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