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SAP S/4 HANA – FAQ Answered

Interested in getting to know

  1. Why SAP introduced S/4 HANA?
  2. What are the common features of the new offering?
  3. What value it adds to the businesses?
  4. How it can be acquired and utilized?
  5. Where you can get more information? and
  6. Who should learn the subject and earn its qualification?

I got answers to all of the above questions and in this blog, I’m sharing with you what I’ve learned.

Digital and Connected World

I am talking to you through a media, which in this case is an online collaboration platform, without which maybe I couldn’t even have known your name. We are living in a digital world and are connected. I’m “talking”, like many others, here and also at other forums. We can have business as well, no matter where we live on this planet, through the globalization of business networks.

It’s not only us who are connected but different devices & objects as well; the Internet of Things, in addition to the Big Data being produced by such networks, is another amazing revolution which has impacted our daily lives. Do you see how complex it is becoming day-by-day and how many solutions are now needed to solve the challenges we face? There are new business models which require Technology to support them.

Technological Developments

Remember the time when opening multiple files on a PC at one time was challenging? Or when opening a web page was like waiting for a bus which used to come on a stop after a long time?

Time changed and now with the latest technology, speed isn’t an issue anymore. Imagine how it’s on the machines used by the businesses. The advancement in this area, such as Big Memory, Larger Disk Space, and Multi-core Processors, has allowed the processing to be really fast. The latest hardware supports the businesses in dealing with challenges such as handling multiple tasks at one time and avoiding delays to get the required information in real time.

Business Applications

Staying competitive in the market requires a business to respond to its customers’ needs in a timely manner and it’s possible only if it has the right information available at a time when it’s needed, to decide and act to produce & deliver the required products/services.

The smart Applications support businesses with reading, analyzing, and predicting customer behaviors.

SAP has led the market for a long time, in this space, by providing the needed Solutions, leveraging the IT Trends AND underlying Technology of the specific era such as the mainframe, client/server, web-based, and now the cloud.

S/4HANA Solutions exploit the power of Technological Advances and support the latest Business Models to be able to serve the global customer base.

Core and LoB Solutions

The SAP S/4HANA splits its Solutions to meet different & varying requirements of individual businesses, the Enterprise Management to support the Core Business Processes, and Line of Business Solutions to extend and enhance the selected Business Functionalities.

It’s advantageous for many reasons including the usage according to the needs while still benefiting from the

  1. underlying powerful in-memory data management and application platform, called HANA, and
  2. advanced and flexible User Experience across devices through a design approach, called FIORI.

I’m impressed with such an offering; you pay only as much as you use. The Customers interested in the S/4HANA Solutions don’t need to buy the complete suite, instead, they can just start with the core and extend it as their businesses grow.

Key Characteristics

To support a business with maintaining transactions concurrently across its functions and to build & use analytical reports, previously OLTP and OLAP activities were performed separately, by SAP and other tools. The traditional way of having insights on the data, maintained in the SAP ERP and other Solutions, was to extract the data from the source systems and load it into the target BW system, to transform it into meaningful information.

The HANA powered SAP Solutions combine the Online Transaction AND Analytical Processing (OLTP and OLAP) which for business means having access to real-time information within a system.

It’s just ONE example of the powerful features of the S/4 HANA offering, another noticeable feature is unified & better User Experience across devices, provided through FIORI, turning “Complexity” to “Simplicity”.

Deployment Options

If you want to align your business with the standard practices, followed by many other organizations around the world, and want to avoid the hassle of maintaining the Data Center, Operations, and Technical Support of the best-run solutions, you can now take advantage of SAP offerings which runs on SaaS (Software as a Service) model. It’s based on subscription, allowing you to pay on usage. You can always upgrade/downgrade depending on your current business needs.

There are a variety of Solutions, to support different Lines of Business, which are provided according to the specific business needs, in-cloud as well as on-premise. The on-premise S/4 HANA solutions can also be managed by 3rd parties, thus allowing customers with the flexibility of customization, in addition to managed operations & support services. Such an option is known as HEC (HANA Enterprise Cloud).

Starting Point

Exploring the features of best-practices Solutions was never as easy as it’s now. You’re an Enterprise, running a Professional Services Business, or in Marketing/Sales domain, SAP provides you with the options to try pre-configured Solutions with master & transactional data populated for such business models. Here’s the place where you can start your journey.

https://cal.sap.com/catalog

The trial is provided for 30 days and you can either get the solutions hosted in the cloud, downloaded and installed to your own hardware. If you think the Solutions meet your business requirements, you can proceed with getting these activated for your productive usage. Having such an option is particularly useful to explore the features before making investment decisions.

Transformation Journey

Depending on your particular circumstances, you can choose the

  1. new implementation, if you are ready to re-engineer your existing business processes around S/4 HANA best-practices,
  2. conversion, if you want to leverage the capabilities of the new solutions without interrupting your current processes, or
  3. landscape transformation, scenario if you are consolidating your existing systems to a single Solution.

Whatever journey customers choose to have, SAP provides step-by-step guidelines as well as the required resources to help them with migrating to the new environment as smoothly as possible.

The SAP Activate, combining the best-practices, guided configuration, and methodology, help customers with implementation and support, which is often referred as “build smart and run simple”.

Know How to Learn and Use SAP Activate?

Major Activities

The customer journey to S/4 HANA Solutions is made very simple by SAP. It not only provides the tools and best-practices for Data Migration, which is considered the most complex activity on such projects but also on Custom Code Management, to allow customers to analyze the existing code & align it with the new Solutions.

In addition to the Technical work, it also assists businesses with ensuring User Readiness, an activity which is required to prepare the ground, by providing the necessary guidelines & content.

Those of you who have worked on earlier Solution Implementation Projects may see the value of such offering. With the step-by-step guides available for each of the aforementioned and additional activities, the customers can now have a quicker time to value.

Additional Resources

If you are already familiar with SAP Business Suite or ERP Solutions and want to learn about the S/4 HANA, the S4H01 is the course which provides the necessary information on the new Solutions. And if you want to learn in detail what I’ve explained in a summarized form, the S4H100 is the right course.

These courses are good for Project Managers, Solution Architects, and Consultants, and are available for consumption within the SAP Learning Hub.

Qualification > Experience > Skills

The SAP S/4HANA Implementation Tools and Methodology Learning Journey provides the details on how to earn the C_S4IMP and C_ACTIVATE qualifications through which you can help businesses with implementing the latest SAP Solutions. The summary I’ve provided above can

  1. set you up with understanding the core concepts, taught within the SAP Business Suite to SAP S/4HANA Delta and SAP S/4HANA Implementation Scenarios, and
  2. help you with learning them in detail when you explore both the courses.

I’ve also created a short video to describe the basic concepts for those who are new to the subject which can be seen here:

Those of you who are, or going to be, engaged on S/4 HANA Projects, may find the above coursework very useful. I’ve gone through it, have learned the skills, earned the qualifications (as can be seen here and here) and find myself ready to support such transitions, and I recommend the same to YOU as well.

If you’ve any questions or suggestions, please leave your comments.

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