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S/4HANA Reporting and the “Quest for the Holy Grail”​ Part 2

Source of template: www.infograpia.com

Let’s have a closer look at the different tools in the context of S/4HANA. Needless to say that with the next generation of ERP a variety of new ways were introduced to meet reporting requirements, especially with S/4HANA Embedded Analytics. Again, the devil lies in the detail when it comes to the selection of your tools set as every company has different needs, and reporting per se is rather an individual topic than something that can be fully standardised.

How to find the right mix of tools

“A fool with a tool is still a fool” and it became very obvious that this also applies with the introduction of S/4HANA. There is no limit in terms of different tools, i.e. not just about SAP products, but of course also about various third-party tools that in some cases might meet your reporting requirements better than SAP (e.g. because of existing knowledge in your company, switching costs to a new SAP product or change management culture).

Therefore, it is crucial to identify a suitable mix of tools to ensure your S/4HANA reporting needs. Be aware once again that despite the fancy marketing slides presented by SAP and SAP consultants, the naked truth of implementing these tools is a rather different story. What does this mean in practical terms?

I tried to summarise a decision matrix that might help you to find a suitable mix for your company or your project with a rough selection of SAP-related tools. In addition, I would like to emphasize that you should also consider any third-party tools in your company in order to get a complete picture here.

Source of template: www.infograpia.com

Other factors for consideration

A suitable mix of tools often depends on various factors such as the level of complexity of the reporting needs, user acceptance, IT budget, or overall business intelligence or front-end tool strategy. The following picture tries to summarise some important factors or consideration (non-exhaustive) based on first-hand experience:

Source of template: www.infograpia.com

  • Type of report: what kind of reports need to be implemented? Just simple table or list reports, advanced charts, or dashboards?
  • Complexity of report: How many sources are involved (SAP, non-SAP)? How about data history or data lineage?
  • User acceptance: How open are users towards innovation? What is the reporting legacy of a company?
  • Budget: How much is the reporting budget as part of the overall S/4HANA project budget? What about the after go-live budget or afterwards for “business as usual” (IT operations)

Synopsis

Long story short: there are no shortcuts on how to identify the right mix of tools for your company or project. However, by using a systematic and holistic approach, chances to be successful are significantly higher compared to “trial and error”. I strongly recommend to reserve enough time to familiarise yourself with the newer tools, but also not to forget about existing ones (e.g. ERP tools) or existing third-party tools. In this context, the described factors for consideration should also be analysed in-depth.

*Please note that t his blog post was already shared on LinkedIn

2 Comments
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  • I do appreciate your writing.

    Would you still consider SAP Logistics Information System as a viable option in S/4HANA?

    SAP provides a number of standard information structures in almost every logistics area e.g. purchasing, inventory, production etc. They prove extremely useful especially in inventory management – I think of MC.9 transaction.

    Kind regards

    Dominik Tylczynski

    • Hi Dominik,

      Many thanks for your feedback.

      Yes, I think that it is advisable to check also the “good, old” ERP tools like the SAP Logistics Information System, especially when S/4 Embedded Analytics tools and/or Fiori apps are not yet available or will be implemented at a later stage.

      Thus, I would definitely recommend verifying the different solution options and not just focussing on the newer S/4 tools.

      We had similar cases when one of our customers preferred to use the existing MD04 transaction for MRP analysis instead of the new Fiori-based solution.

       

      Best regards,
      Daniel