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Unleashing the Digital Transformation Patterns through Enterprise Architecture Planning

Every organization has a unique path for their Digital Transformation. This is because the triggers (or the change drivers) for this transformation is different for different organization. Based on my experience, few of the triggers for digital transformation are:

  • 2-3 years strategic business objectives and priorities for the organization,
  • changing business models & patterns
  • differentiating business capabilities for organic growth
  • mergers and acquisition of new business for inorganic growth
  • architectural pain points with existing IT architecture
  • license expiry for legacy ERP solutions
  • harmonization and standardization of business processes and creating a Global Template, etc.

One solution and approach to address this is a strong focus on Enterprise Architecture Planning for next generation of SAP implementation & transformation projects

My SAP S/4HANA journey started in SAP DBS Services organization along with SAP S/4HANA Journey in the year 2015 before the launch of Simple Finance 1503. Skill Transformation was always a PRIORITY in our team and our core ERP practice was most excited about the launch of this next generation SAP ERP innovation project. It’s like new life to dying ERP core team with commodity skills to transform into SAP S/4HANA Digital Core team. Focus is back on core Finance and core Logistics and Supply Chain skill sets with strong experience in business domain knowledge . I would call this period of my experience as “Season 1” of SAP S/4HANA Transformation Series

Our team invested on consultants and took the early opportunity advantage of ramping up consultants in the areas of SAP S/4HANA Digital Core. Few key initiatives within our practice initiated, not only to transform the skills of our consultants but also to review periodically, such as SAP S/4HANA Deep Dive in a Nutshell (SDDN), Skills Transformation and Enablement Program (STEP), Cloud Mindset and Quarterly Practice Initiatives Review (QPIR) to name a few.

One of our proud moments in SAP is that the team got the great opportunity to contribute in the global program SAP S/4HANA Regional Implementation Group (RIG) and SAP S/4HANA Movement. RIG has provided our consultants a unique exposure of acting as a Product Expert and providing Advisory Services to the customers for early adoption of SAP S/4HANA. This also gave us early insights in to product innovations as well as learnings from customer project success. Besides, SAP S/4HANA Movement gave our team an opportunity to make deployments simple in terms of pre-packaged content and service modularization instead of ‘free style’ delivery of implementation projects

These early experiences helped me and my team in planning the digital transformation and guiding the customers in their architecture planning. I would like to share two use cases where Enterprise Architecture Planning and focus on strategic business change drivers played a key role to unleash the digital transformation patters in the customer organization

Customer A : Leader in consumer food industry – One of the first experiences in SAP S/4HANA System Conversion project on SAP HEC which started the journey with SAP Value Assurance Package. Our direct involvement with CIO helped us jointly carve out a roadmap for the customer who is now live in SAP S/4HANA through System Conversion transition path

Customer’ s top objectives were as follows:

  • The key objective is to create a unified system and a “single source of truth” of data layer based on SAP S/4HANA platform in the form of SAP S/4HANA Global Template as well move to SAP Cloud environment
  • Bring global business (SAP  for APJ & non –SAP for Europe and Americas) on Single SAP S/4HANA instance to harmonize their business processes
  • Moving from On-Premise Data Center to the Cloud (SAP HEC)
  • Convert existing two countries SAP Suite on HANA (SoH) to SAP S/4HANA version, at the same time
  • Re-connecting all the integrations points (SAP and Non-SAP) and especially connecting their SAP EWM with SAP S/4HANA with differentiating quality management processes

There were two paths to decide their target architecture and transformation goals

  • Build SAP S/4HANA New implementation for Europe (non-SAP) business & bring (SAP SoH) APJ business on the new system, or
  • Convert existing SoH APJ business to SAP S/4HANA & then rollout to non –SAP business

After many discussions and documenting pros and cons, recommended for Conversion to SAP S/4HANA in favor of the APJ processes being closer to global template  and  shorter time to convert

 

Customer B : Leader in Chemical Industry

Customer had three key business divisions – one on core Chemical Manufacturing Process, second an International Business in more than 15 countries and third emerging & niche business operations. Their core business operated on SAP ERP SoH with Simple Finance (1503) solution on a dedicated IT landscape and have decided to migrate to SAP S/4HANA latest On-Prem edition. Their International business division is in non-SAP legacy system which is near its maintenance window and emerging division is in SaaS ERP solution

There were two Architecture Patterns & Implementation Strategy and Roadmap evolved after the detailed planning workshops

  • Migrate SAP ERP SoH to SAP S/4HANA and bring International Business per country or group of country in sequence to have one single SAP S/4HANA Global Instance
  • Or, SAP S/4HANA Green field implementation for International Business based on SAP Model Company and have two SAP S/4HANA Instance as a long-term strategy

The decision was taken based on articulating what is the key driver for change for the customer, and they are as follows:

  • Reduction of TCO
  • Business process harmonization
  • Key Business Benefits (e.g. Shared services for Finance and Procurement)

After discussing the pros and cons of the key drivers, recommended for Migrate SAP ERP SoH to SAP S/4HANA and bring International Business one country or group of country in sequence to have one single SAP S/4HANA Global Instance

To summarize, the  key takeaways and learnings based on these architecture planning workshops for the above two customers are as follows

  1. Focus on Enterprise Architecture as a Strategy in your Digital Transformation Journey
  2. Architecture Planning is must to Identify roadmap blocks early and design flaws early
  3. Resilient Target Architecture includes the Trending Technology solutions for designing the new business patterns and models

The next phase of my Enterprise Architecture experience as “Season 2” has already started which will include the next generation of business processes and innovation scenarios with embedded intelligence for strategic and elite customers of SAP. Stay tuned and share your architectural experience to grow this community and learn from each other to help our customers make the world run better

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