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Author's profile photo Hari Sonnenahalli

Industry 4.0- Positioning Intelligent Enterprise in Laying Path to Digital Transformation!

Hello everyone. Hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy and safe. I was intrigued by the increasing eagerness about industry 4.0 and its impact on a digital transformation journey of a company. The second question which is a very integral part of the problem is how to Co- Position the intelligent enterprise along with a long-standing classical or traditional landscape. In this blog, I will try to share some of my perspectives and experience from my projects in which have positioned the cutting-edge technology of SAP alongside the long-standing classical system.

The fundamental question is why a customer should adopt new ERP solutions like S4 HANA. This is available in the cloud and On-Premises versions. Second, why they should adapt to changing the technology which is working as expected and fulfilling the targets of the company and making stakeholders happy. I would love to quote.

“The quality lies in the eyes of willingness to pay by customer”

This quote is very relevant to the company opting for the industry 4.0 revolution. In recent times things have changed drastically as we all live on a huge consumer platform. This provides an opportunity for great revenue generation to the company. The main catch is to provide an omnichannel for the customer and seamless integration which runs a business without much of IT bottlenecks.

The second reason, the customer needs to opt for the new technology of SAP is not because is the end of life of ERP is approaching or extended maintenance may end by 2030. It is about the new functionalities and opportunities that S4 HANA robustness brings to the customer along with Intelligent Enterprise. Please read the article below from one of my colleagues at SAP experts.

Snippet from the article below.

In August 2019, SAPinsider research showed that 44% of survey respondents who were building the business case for SAP S/4HANA were being driven by the end of maintenance for SAP ECC. While this date was still a factor when SAPinsider updated the research in June 2020, the percentage of respondents citing the end-of-maintenance date as the driver for their SAP S/4HANA business case had dropped to 29%. Over the same period, a business focus on digital transformation increased slightly from 52% in 2019 to 53% in 2020, and concern over the increasing cost of maintaining highly customized environments and older technology increased from 29% to 31%. However, the change in the percentage of respondents reporting the end-of-maintenance date as driving the move to SAP S/4HANA and those citing the solution’s potential benefits as the main driver is significant.

Now, let us investigate what does the Intelligent Enterprise Suite has to offer to a customer. They consist of a complete set of products and solutions that can help the company in laying the foundation towards digital transformation. These technologies help companies from being a sale’s driven company to an intelligent data-driven company. This will open a new perspective of revenue generation and forecasting for any company. Some of the highlighted features of these technologies are Data intelligence, Robust integrations, Automation process, Real-time analytics, and many more. The screenshot below shows solutions provided by Intelligent Enterprise.

Now let us look at integrations. The integrations are very important as it is the heart of an industry 4.0 revolution and an important part of the Business Technology Platform. It does not matter how sophisticated the system you have in the landscape unless it is integrated seamlessly. This integrated suite of Intelligent Enterprise helps the customer to seamlessly exchange business data and business transactions. So, it becomes very important to understand how to position these new technologies alongside existing integration solutions.

We shall consider understanding into positioning Process Integration (PI), Cloud Platform Integration (CPI), API Management of Business Technology Platform.

In companies that are running big SAP footprints would have added a lot of technologies over a period which may include ECC, CRM, HANA, LEGACY, DATA Services, PORTAL, FIORI, and Integration solutions like PI/PO. In case if there a new business solution that is cloud-based and needs to be implemented then how to place the Integration layer. If a company is running a PI dual-stack system, then they need to move to a single stack as the end of life is nearing and it is a best practice to always have the integration solution at the latest version.

As shown below the second reason customer is better off moving to PO is that they will be cloud-ready meaning they will have the flexibility to create the integration flows in PO and which can be later deployed in Cloud Platform Integrations.

The new Cloud Integration Solution can co-exist in the landscape which provides the customer with an opportunity to get the flavor of a subscription-based model and a hassle-free way of deploying the application in the cloud. Over time, customers can see the reduction in the total cost of ownership and then make a strategic choice of creating a more hybrid architected landscape.

Does this mean an On-Premises integration solution will be going away? No, it is not true as the ABAP is the core of SAP likewise integration On-Premises solutions have emerged over some time and it is not a switch of a button to move from On-Premises mode to cloud. This will be a co-existent solution and result in more hybrid landscapes.

Next API Management, if we look at the modern way of developing an application it is all based on API. The primary reason for this is because it is very easy to develop and expose confined data through an HTTP endpoint that is lightweight and easy to consume by an application framework. SAP API HUB  provides numerous API which can integration to both SAP and Non- SAP system as shown below. SAP API Business Hub provides out of box integrations and ready to use API. Along with this, there are OPEN CONNECTORS that are available for the customer to seamless integration with Non- SAP 3rd party cloud solutions. API management can be an integral part of the existing architecture which can be used to expose the data from ECC or S4 HANA using SAP Gateway through OData services.

One question which is constantly asked is about the options available for customers to decide which route to be taken to in choosing integration solutions. Below is some information that helps the customer to decide between On-Premises and Cloud Solutions.

The below-mentioned guides are designed for the customer to understand the implementations of cloud technologies and how to design a Hybrid Landscape.

CIO Guide: SAP’s Hybrid Integration Platform  for the Intelligent Enterprise

Integration Architecture Guide for Cloud and  Hybrid Landscapes


Hope this helps!


Happy Blogging!

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      Author's profile photo Mark Smith
      Mark Smith

      Great work, Hari!