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Author's profile photo Tim Poppe

Life as it is… Implementing SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials for Sourcing and Procurement

Welcome back! At the fourth post of our blog series on SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials.

TheValueChain NV being proud frontrunner in this domain is publishing a blog series in which you discover tangible insights about the ERP Cloud revolution.

What to expect? Ins and outs about great new features, but also the struggles that come along with it. Follow our journey and become aware about the specifics in all the different areas.

What’s the current status of our flagship customer running its digital core in the cloud with TheValueChain and SAP ?

Well, we’re now live with 9 sites and 13 branches. A pretty fast-paced roll-out track, considering that our first implementation was in January 2019 !

Let’s talk a bit about the sourcing and procurement side of things in this blog.

Our customer ‘s purchasing department is mainly focused on the supply of components for produced materials and the supply of trading goods for project related sales. For fast-moving components, purchase contracts are put in place, while trading goods are often sourced and bought specifically for a project. All purchases require an internal approval and each supplier is expected to confirm when goods will be delivered. An important part of all purchases is inter-company, as each site can purchase from the other sites.

I’m happy to say that throughout the project, the switch to SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials was met with enthusiasm by the procurement teams. Even the sites that previously were working with SAP ECC experienced the switch in a good way.

Why is that ? These are the major reasons.

  • All the principal purchasing processes are covered by the SAP best practices. Only little development was needed to include some business specific data.
  • Dashboard apps allow the purchasing teams to focus on their most important tasks, enabling faster decisions and immediate action. The ‘procurement overview’ app, for example, is used as support during the weekly procurement team meetings and daily by individual purchasers to get a clearer visibility on their priorities.
  • The situation handling functionality warns the purchasing teams in real time by e-mail when their attention is needed. Issues are discovered faster and can be resolved quicker. SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials currently offers 39 standard situation templates. We have set-up an automatic e-mail to the strategic purchasing team when purchase contracts are soon to expire or almost consumed. With that, the system will also suggest a contract renewal date based on predictive analysis.
  • The operational reporting apps require little explanation and when more complex and specific reports are requested, we can create custom CDS views and embedded SAP Analytics Cloud.
  • Because of the quarterly releases, the purchasing teams are continuously benefiting from new features and functionalities. Since the latest 2002 release, a purchasing spend dashboard has been made available in embedded SAP Analytics Cloud.

Of course, we had some interesting challenges as well:

  • Certain new Fiori apps for purchasing cannot be used yet in specific processes. In that case, SAP still offers the “old” SAP GUI – apps as a workaround. However, using different apps for the same process is not streamlined and is difficult to explain towards the customer. With future releases, different apps for the same process should gradually disappear.
  • Tailor made Z-transaction can be hard to recreate when moving to an SAP S/4HANA Cloud Solution. There are limitations to development.
  • Not all the data used within the purchasing process can be reported on. There is still data in the system that cannot be captured by a standard report, CDS view or API. In this case, creative workarounds or developments are needed which will most likely become obsolete overtime.

With multiple years of intense implementation experience in SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials at TheValueChain NV, we can safely say that we consider it a solid product that offers the full range of sourcing and purchasing processes. The speed and ease at which newly released features can be used operationally by the customer are great. Furthermore, the switch towards SAP S/4HANA Cloud has pushed our customer to re-think their business processes based on the best practices.


This blog post is part of our blog post series ‘Life as it is… Implementing SAP S/4 HANA Cloud Essentials’, where you will find links to other business areas. Please follow these blog post series that will be frequently updated. We will keep sharing tangible insights about the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials. Especially, about the new releases.

If you have any comments or are interested in further information, please send me a direct message.

Article has been written by Tim Poppe, Supply Chain teamlead at TheValueChain with a 10- years’ track record in SAP.

TheValueChain NV  is a leading SAP Partner that enables companies to speed up and increase the business value of SAP. As a trusted advisor we inspire customers to embrace end-to-end solutions to tackle their challenges in this digital age. We aim for the total approach with smart innovation, simplification and sustainability. We go beyond simple: with functional and technical expertise and an unconditional commitment we convert your implementation into a unique differentiator.

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      Author's profile photo Andrew Saunders
      Andrew Saunders

      Great insights. Thanks Tim!