My personal view on the future of Service in SAP S/4HANA
When implementing service processes in SAP S/4HANA or other SAP products, there are a couple of options to choose from. This article gives you the background and explores the different options that are available.
Setting the scene
In the past, service processes were covered by Customer Service (CS), which is embedded in SAP ERP ECC 6.0. CS is, however, not part of the long-term scope in SAP S/4HANA. It is a so-called Compatibility Pack Scope item.
You can use Compatibility Pack Scope items in S/4HANA when you are doing a conversion from ECC. However, you will not be able to use them after 2025. Compatibility Pack Scope items past 2025 will not have a license, will not be supported, will not be tested to see if they work between versions/support packs. Moreover, SAP could choose to remove them at any time after 2025.
If you are considering a Brownfield conversion, the Compatibility Pack Scope is important, as you will need to factor the time and effort required to move from the items you use in the Compatibility Pack Scope to the new recommended solution.
If you do consider going Greenfield and you do this with the On Premise version then you still need to be aware of the Compatibility Pack Scope because you need to make sure that it is not turn on by mistake.
The extension of maintenance for Business Suite solutions has no influence on the end of compatibility pack use rights. They will end on Dec 31, 2025 (SAP Note 2269324).
SAP is providing solutions (in the form of new scope within SAP S/4HANA and new software) to cover the scope of CS, within and surrounding SAP S/4HANA.
Until S/4HANA 1809, the “new” Service functionality was an add-on for S/4HANA, called “Customer Management”. First among that was the SAP S/4HANA for customer management add-on which was deployed on SAP S/4HANA 1709 (FPS01) in February 2018. The scope included the Service Process and the Customer Interaction Center.
In September 2019, SAP S/4HANA OP 1909 has been released to customers. The Add-On SAP S/4HANA for Customer Management is now embedded into SAP S/4HANA core as SAP S/4HANA Service.
Additional Service functionality is first implemented in the cloud version of SAP S/4HANA, with four releases per year. With the “09” release (e.g. 1909, 2009), the available capabilities in the Cloud version are transferred into OP.
If you are running CS in your current environment, then you should know there are no migration tools available yet, to move from CS to Service Core in SAP S/4HANA
General Key takeaways
At the moment, Service Core does not have the same functionality as CS. SAP is currently bringing in service processes functionality first in the Cloud Edition before moving the functionality to the On Premise version once a year.
Currently, no migration tools or migration path is available for moving CS to Service Core.
The service functionality currently being brought in S/4HANA is based on the SAP CRM 7.0 solution. It brings several simplifications and improvements (mainly linked to simplified architecture, data harmonization and elimination of duplicated functionalities) but not necessarily new functionalities.
The roadmap for Service Core in S/4HANA OP is not very elaborate. The current version of the roadmap brings some planned innovations in 2020 (which are currently available in S/4HANA Cloud Edition) and some product direction for 2021 but no product vision beyond that.
Taking into account the above-mentioned points, it is not recommended to implement CS in a Greenfield implementation of S/4HANA. Although Service Core is not yet up to par with the functionality offered by CS and the roadmap is unclear, we believe the lack of migration path and the compatibility pack of CS ending in 2025 does not bring enough value to start with CS.
In case you are using Legacy SAP CRM 7.0 and are considering moving to SAP S/4HANA OP via a brownfield migration, CRM can work with Enterprise Management, in compatibility mode. A complete list of SAP on premise solutions that can work with S/4HANA in OSS note 2816584 – SAP S/4HANA 1909: Process Integration with SAP on premise Solutions. This can be a valid interim scenario although there are several restrictions that need to be observed in this scenario. For the list of remaining and resolved restrictions, OSS note 2231667 – Restrictions for integration of SAP S/4HANA, on premise edition with SAP CRM, and to OSS note 2324473 – Integration of SAP CRM with SAP S/4HANA.
Another key take-away is to consider the C/4HANA suite for certain service processes, such as crowd sourcing, support for field service management and complex planning. The level of customizing and flexibility can drive the choice between S/4HANA OP and other cloud solutions such as SAP Service Cloud. In certain cases, security or regulatory drivers can also affect the cloud vs. on premise decision. In all the remaining cases cloud is a valid option that needs to be considered. Especially when we are talking about front office processes, such as:
- Support contact center functionality
- Service Ticket and Field Service
- Planning of resources
A combination of both an S/4HANA On Premise for back office processes in combination with a cloud solution (SAP Service Cloud and/or SAP Field Service Management, is also a valid option to cover your service needs.
With no existing migration tools for moving CS to Service Core in S/4HANA, no clear roadmap for Service beyond 2020, there is no one proven direction now.
- Implementing CS however cannot be recommended in general cases;
- Short-term roadmap is available with enhancements for several modules;
- The Service Core current and roadmap functionality should be assessed for alignment with your needs;
- Based on the information we have gathered, we find that the strategic vision is missing from the long-term roadmap for S/4HANA Service core and SAP Service Cloud;
- Based on conversations we had with SAP, we believe that SAP will develop Service Core as a full fledge successor for CS in the future;
- SAP FSM is the default option for scheduling and field service execution (mobile)
- Consider both S/4HANA and C/4HANA options to cover service related processes. C/4HANA tools can offer more innovative functionality like SAP FSM for scheduling and dispatching of field service engineers.
- Engagement with SAP product teams (both S/4 and C/4) is vital in ensuring alignment of your chosen approach to the direction SAP is going.