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Top SAP S/4HANA Cloud Interview Questions (as undercover Book Review)

Interested in the future of ERP? If so, you are in good company.

In this blog post you will find a book review of SAP S/4HANA Cloud – An Introduction published by SAP PRESS in May 2021, as announced by Marcus Homann

The format is Q&A so you might be able to re-use parts for a job interview.

😎

Questions? Please post as comment.

Useful? Give us a like and share on social media.

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SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Where to find a structured introduction to SAP S/4HANA Cloud?

A good place to start is the SAP PRESS book on the topic as it provides an overview of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP’s enterprise resource planning solution, combining business and industry capabilities; best-practice, end-to-end business processes; cloud software qualities; and embedded intelligence and analytics-all with a great user experience (quote/unquote).

Who are Thomas, Jan, Oliver, and Marcus?

They are the authors of the book, as listed on the cover

  • Thomas Saueressig, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE for SAP Product Engineering
  • Jan Gilg, president of SAP S/4HANA
  • Oliver Betz, global head of product management for SAP S/4HANA
  • Marcus Homann, chief of staff and head of customer engagement of SAP S/4HANA product management

If you want to see them in action, there is an openSAP course still available, recorded in 2020, covering similar topics for SAP S/4HANA on-premises

How many authors contributed?

As stated in the preface, the book was written as a big SAP team effort, with the SAP experts responsible for specific topics providing firsthand insights. The co-authors section lists 115 (!) product experts, product managers, product and solution owners, and their bosses. A nice challenge for the SAP PRESS editor, Meagan White, who did an excellent job in bringing it all together.

What is SAP PRESS?

SAP PRESS is a joint initiative of SAP and Rheinwerk Publishing, located at the Rheinwerkallee in Bonn (that’s right, next door to Bikini Beach). The US subsidiary is based near Boston.

Where can we get the book?

From the company website and bookstore (all formats; hardcovers also sold elsewhere)

Any discounts?

Yes, there are frequent sales and specials on books. To be notified, follow SAP PRESS on LinkedIn and/or Twitter.

Should you be involved in contract negotiations and about to sign up for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, consider asking for a few complimentary copies of the book. You can always try.

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Introduction

What’s the new ERP paradigm?

SAP S/4HANA Cloud is SAP’s answer to the current challenges with enterprise resource planning (ERP). From built-to-last to built-to-change, from stability to agility, towards a concept of ERP as  composable business capabilities that provide business processes as a service (BPaaS) enabling business transition and business transformation.

Source: SAP S/4HANA Cloud, an Introduction

What are the deployment options?

SAP S/4HANA Cloud shares the data model, semantics, and user experience with SAP S/4HANA, SAP’s the next-generation business suite, with the cloud as default consumption model for both (public, private, hybrid).

SAP S/4HANA Cloud, as native cloud solution, is only available in public cloud.

What are the technical building blocks?

SAP S/4HANA Cloud leverages the in-memory SAP HANA database platform, with its multi-model processing engine. Business processes are implemented on the SAP ABAP Platform, and the user interface is provided by SAP Fiori.

Extensions (“customisations”) can be built on either the application server environment itself or the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP). These are considered to be either “in-app” or “side-by-side” extensions. The same distinction is also made for analytics and machine learning: embedded versus side-by-side (we return to this topic below).

Source: SAP S/4HANA Cloud, an Introduction

Which are the strategic business values?

To name a few

  • Agility to react immediately to changing market conditions
  • Faster implementation and rollout to subsidiaries
  • Ability to instantly adopt innovations
  • Ability to seize market opportunities from mergers and acquisitions
  • Focus on your business, not on running IT systems

How to engage with the community on the topic?

Easy question: visit the topic area for updates, blog posts, questions/answers, and other content

For those new to Cloud ERP, the enablement section is a great place to start

The community is also the best place to find out what’s new

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Intelligent Enterprise Suite

What is an Intelligent Enterprise?

It is a concept best explained with a video.

What are end-to-end business processes?

In short: business processes that represent an integrated intelligent enterprise

  • lead-to-cash
  • recruit-to-retire
  • design-to-operate
  • source-to-pay

There is more to story as we also need to consider suite qualities, SAP’s reference business architecture, and process-driven software development.

What is SAP BTP?

Another concept: SAP Business Technology Platform serves as the underlying technological enabler for the integrated suite and extensions. The capabilities are bundled in four areas

  • Database and data management
  • Analytics
  • Application development and integration
  • Intelligent technologies

To learn how to adopt SAP BTP and turn data into business value, visit

How to engage with the community on the topic?

Again, simple: visit the topic area on the SAP Community for more information and resources

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Intelligent Technologies

What are some of the benefits of using intelligent technologies?

Intelligent technologies employed along end-to-end business processes assist end users in decision-making, can adapt business processes based on new data, and automate tasks within and between systems (quote/unquote).

Name four intelligent technologies that improve SAP S/4HANA Cloud business processes.

There are more but we can name

  • Situation handling
  • Robotic process automation (RPA)
  • Machine learning and predictive analytics
  • Internet of Things (IoT)

What is RPA?

Robotic process automation is a business process automation technology consisting of software bots that execute tasks by interacting with the user interface or by calling APIs (quote/unquote).

As a solution, SAP Intelligent RPA includes intelligent technologies like machine learning to bot tasks, which can be either interactive or unattended. Prebuilt bots are included (free of charge) with SAP Best Practice packages (see below).

Fascinating. Any books on the topic?

Yes. We can recommend

How to engage with the community on the topic?

Just visit the topic areas on the SAP Community for more information and resources.

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User Experience

What is SAP Fiori?

SAP Fiori is the role-based intuitive user interface (UI) for SAP S/4HANA Cloud and the intelligent suite.

Can we make changes to SAP Fiori apps?

Yes, you can. Both end-user personalisation and key user customisation are supported. Business users can personalise the layout and change themes, for example. Key users can adapt the UI to map tasks and processes to corporate standards.

How can you develop your own apps?

You can use tools like SAP Business Application Studio with SAP Fiori tools for SAP Fiori elements, that leverage the SAPUI5 HTML5/JavaScript framework. These tools provide built-in enterprise-level capabilities for security, accessibility, and automated design updates. For a native mobile phone or tablet user experience, the SAP Fiori for iOS or SAP Fiori for Android design language enables you to build apps using dedicated software development kits (SDKs) (quote/unquote).

Interested in a sample chapter?

How to engage with the community on the topic?

Just visit the topic areas on the SAP Community for more information and additional resources

For the design guidelines, visit

Any more books?

A lot, actually. Take a look at the catalog

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Analytics

How do we get from insight to action?

As there are many different analytical use cases and requirements, we find well over 400 apps included in SAP S/4HANA Cloud addressing the different needs of business user and analytics specialist with drill-down capabilities, multi-dimensional reporting, freestyle, and dashboard apps.

As with the intelligent technologies, both embedded analytics enabled by SAP Fiori and SAP Analytics, and enterprise (side-by-side) analytics leveraging the SAP Analytics portfolio are made available, the latter for example for cross-solution analytics.

Source: SAP S/4HANA Cloud, an Introduction

What’s the Workflow for Analytics Key Users?

Whereas the business user can search for this apps in the catalog and the SAP Fiori Apps Reference Library, for the analytics specialist a few more steps are involved. You can find these documented on the SAP Help Portal for SAP S/4HANA Cloud under Manage Your SAP S/4HANA Cloud > Workflow for Analytics Key Users

How to master the skills needed?

To master the skills, there is a Learning Journey for both SAP S/4HANA Cloud embedded analytics and for side-by-side enterprise analytics. They are integrated into the different Learning Rooms of the SAP Learning Hub platform but also available on display on the SAP Help Portal. The SAP Analytics Cloud journey includes certification.

Any books?

Bingo

How to engage with the community?

Visit the community topic area for more information and additional resources

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Business Capabilities

No surprise, the chapter about the business capabilities of SAP S/4HANA Cloud is the most extensive of the book, covering almost a third of the pages. For each area an overview is provided of the general functional scope, relevant personas are introduced, new concepts defined, and interesting intelligent and analytics scenarios illustrated.

What line of business (LOB) are supported?

Functional areas covered by SAP S/4HANA cloud are

  • Asset Management
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Sourcing and Procurement
  • R&D/Engineering
  • Sales
  • Service
  • Supply Chain
  • Professional Services

Each functional are is further subdivided, e.g. for Finance

Where can we find this all documented?

On the SAP Help Portal

Where can we go for a dry run?

To get acquainted with the different functional areas, you can explore the task tutorials in the library. Besides getting started tutorials that explain how to work with the SAP Fiori Launchpad and the apps, there are also tutorials for most of the functional areas, industry variants, and cross functions.

The tutorials are powered by SAP Enable Now, a learning content authoring and management solution for embedded learning and user assistance, replacing traditional classroom training.

For the community topic area, visit

How to master the skills needed and get certified?

To master the skills and get certified, take a look at the Learning Journeys for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. They are integrated into the different learning rooms of the SAP Learning Hub platform but also available on display on the SAP Help Portal.

Filter on SAP S/4HANA Cloud (product category) and Consultant (role).

There are three journeys that cover onboarding fundamentals for the different editions, all leading to certification

Next level are the journeys for the different functional areas

  • Asset management
  • Finance
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional services
  • Project Management
  • R&D engineering
  • Sales
  • Service
  • Sourcing and procurement
  • Supply chain
  • Transportation management
  • Warehouse management
Relax: Most consultants focus on a single functional area.

All journeys start out the same with a Start with an overview section. Specialisation starts with Become competent where the required trainings are listed with certification and workshop, followed by the additional sections How to stay current and Expand your skills.

How to engage with the community?

For the latest blog posts, Q&A, and other content, visit the topic are on the SAP Community

What’s an Industry Cloud?

SAP’s industry cloud is designed to extend the best-practice business capabilities in SAP’s business applications with innovative new solutions, built by SAP and SAP’s partners, which are intuitive to discover, subscribe to, and use with a familiar user experiences, and plug-and-play integration (quote/unquote).

Visit the community topic area for more information and resources

For more extensive coverage and exploration of the topic, check out the Learning Journey on the SAP Help Portal. The journey includes podcasts, white papers, and webinars (but no training courses or certifications)

What’s SAP Graph?

SAP Graph provides the API framework for the industry cloud with an easy-to-navigate and easy-to-understand business domain model.

To stay up to date, follow the tag on the community

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Extensibility

Which are the three options available for extending the scope of SAP S/4HANA Cloud?

To extend the scope, SAP S/4HANA Cloud provides

  • In-app low-code/no-code (LC/NC) extensibility for the business expert or key user
  • In-app ABAP extensibility
  • Side-by-side extensions serviced from the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP)

Key user extensibility not only addresses UI adaptation, part of the SAP Fiori design, but also custom fields, business objects, logic, and CDS (core data services) views on the virtual data model (VDM).

For side-by-side extensions, SAP BTP provides a large collection of services, which enables you to leverage any of the available development models and technologies.

In-app ABAP extensibility is work in progress and provides an ABAP development environment (like to the one already available on SAP BTP), but this time tightly coupled with SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

For an high-level overview of the possibilities, see

How to engage with the community?

Visit the community topic areas for more information and additional resources

How to master the skills needed and get certified?

Learning Journey are available not only for consultant. To find the right track, visit the SAP Help Portal and filter on on SAP S/4HANA Cloud (product category) and Developer (role).

Besides onboarding fundamentals, one journey provides an introduction and overview with two journeys mapping the way to mastery and certification

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Integration

Where can we find integration best practices?

The SAP Best Practices Explorer makes the most common integrations freely available for download with setup instructions and test scripts.

Where can we find APIs?

For integrations not (yet) covered, visit the SAP API Business Hub for both APIs and core data services (CDS) views.

The SAP API Business Hub also included an explorer for the SAP One Domain Model (ODM), unified domain model for business objects distributed throughout different SAP applications.

What about Master Data?

Besides the SAP One Domain Model and the generic API layer of SAP Graph, we can also subscribe to the SAP Master Data Integration as SAP BTP service, which complements the SAP Master Data Governance solution.

How to engage with the community?

Visit the community topic areas for more information and additional resources

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Adoption and Lifecycle Management

What is SAP Activate?

SAP Activate is the methodology to implement SAP S/4HANA Cloud and includes tools like SAP Central Business Configuration for a preconfigured starter system adjustable with SAP Best Practices packages. A Project Experience app guides you through the implementation, for example with the set up of the organisational structure.

For best practices discovery, visit

Any Books?

Indeed. Although not specific to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP PRESS has also published a guide about SAP Activate

How to engage with the community?

Visit the community topic areas for more information and additional resources

What is SAP Cloud ALM?

SAP Cloud Application Lifecycle Management is a cloud-native tool developed to help you run your business with SAP S/4HANA Cloud. SAP Cloud ALM, like SAP Solution Manager for on-premises deployments, is included with the subscription. You can use SAP Cloud ALM right from the start to accompany the different SAP Activate adoption phases and continue working with the tool for operations.

How to engage with the community?

Visit the community topic areas for more information and additional resources

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Share and Connect

Questions? Please post as comment.

Useful? Give us a like and share on social media.

Thanks!

If you would like to receive updates, connect with me on

For the author page of SAP PRESS, visit

Interested in getting your own book on the shelves? For a how to guide, see

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