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Author's profile photo Kevin McConnell

Analytics First: Start your SAP S/4HANA Transformation with Data Driven Insights

There is probably no greater example of the paradigm shift in analytics than sports.  Twenty years ago, statistics were used to provide a summary.  Who had the highest batting average?  Who scored the most goals?  What football team had the most wins?  Today, coaches & managers use analytics at every stage – planning the team before the season, analysis during the events/games & results at the end of the game/season.

Planning starts long before the season.  Teams not only consider the players who scored the most but what was their overall impact when they were on the field or court.  There also is an optimization problem.  What players will provide the best return on (ROI)?  Modern analytics goes beyond reporting, enabling sports executives and coaches to predict, simulate and plan leveraging the vast amount of data available.  Many teams now put sensors on everything they can.  The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) conducts Rally, Ball Toss & Bounce-to-hit Point analysis.  This information guides the planning by predicting how their opponent will play in the next event.  (They of course do this with SAP Software)

Modern businesses have the same objectives.  This is not surprising since most sports have become a modern business.  Leading organizations conduct extensive analysis before creating the plan.  Some of these include market trends, consumer demographics and competitive positioning.  Velux, a leading manufacturer of windows & skylights, uses analytics to predict future resource requirements to include in their financial plans. They also use analytics to improve sales, marketing & operational efficiency during the year.  And of course, thorough analysis is conducted at the end of the year which are the results shared with financial markets and investors. This means leveraging analytics before, during and after each period.  Competitive organizations integrate analytics into every phase.

The same holds true for a business transformation.  There is tremendous advantage to implementing and leveraging analytics before you begin an ERP refresh.  There is value to leveraging analytics during the interim phase.  And there are tremendous benefits of analytics after the SAP S/4HANA system is fully functional – far beyond reporting.

The first area companies leverage analytics is for plan development.  Which modules & business processes should be migrated first?  What is the level of effort compared to the corporate benefit?  The second area is ERP consolidation.  Most organizations have multiple legacy ERP instances.  Customers can consolidate or virtualize the data to obtain an enterprise view.  Vinci Energies in France consolidated over 600 ERP systems.

ERP transformations do not happen overnight.  During the transition stage analytics can provide the unifying layer as the data source for information will be the SAP S/4HANA data structures and ultimately the structures in the ERP system, these have changed massively. So, on the one side, there needs to be continuity and framework (with side-by-side analytics) AND the close implementation of now available data structures and availability of real-time insights, which are boosting the process handling and execution. Analytics knowledge in conjunction with processual and structural knowledge is key for an optimal implementation of the new ERP system – SAP S/4HANA.


Order to Cash Dashboard

Dashboards can surface metrics from the legacy ERP systems as well as the modules that have been turned up in SAP S/4HANA.  Business content that was designed for SAP S/4HANA can also integrate legacy data to keep departments productive during the transition.

After full implementation analytics enable organizations to:

  • Establish & share metrics to improve performance
  • Shorten audit times and reduce support efforts
  • Ensure consistency and trust across the enterprise
  • Utilize Business Content to deliver fast functionality needed by the departments
  • Augmenting insight-to action, fact-based process handling, and real-time operational reporting inside SAP S/4HANA
  • Implement SAP Cloud Planning to deliver comprehensive plans with hybrid data
  • Leverage analytics to reduce risk of the SAP S/4HANA project by shining a light on data quality and finding opportunities to improve business processes.

Hoerbiger was able to bridge their cloud & on-premise environments through live connectivity to SAP S/4HANA.  This provided real-time analytics without moving the data to the cloud.

Starting your SAP S/4HANA transformation with analytics will deliver results sooner, make the transition more effective, and increase the material benefits over time.  Customers have shared that beginning with SAP Analytics Cloud not only improved their transformation but enhanced the overall ROI of the project. Implementing analytics early empowered the entire organization to become productive immediately.


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