The future of SAP is here!
Most of us have heard about HANA at some point in time and here’s an attempt to make some sense out of it and what it means for Consultants, Project Managers, Decision Makers & Clients.
In this age of digitization, it was a necessary step to bring the next generation business suite of ERP and SAP has an answer for that: SAP S4 HANA as a successor of ECC.
- HANA (High performance ANalytics Appliance) was introduced as in-memory computing database in 2011.
- SAP BW was powered on HANA Database making analytical reporting real-time and no need for running the extractors overnight, no more latency in 2012
- SAP Business suite powered by SAP HANA and cloud services introduced in 2013
- Simple Finance as a frontrunner was released with simplified database structures, much faster reporting, single source of truth & no aggregates in 2014
- In late 2015, S4 HANA 1511 was released with simplified data models across the landscape, extremely friendly Ux, advanced processing and choice of deployment: Public Cloud, On-Premise or Hybrid Cloud
What has changed:
- Most of the CODD’s rules on relational databases are re-defined and re-structured.
- Most database tables are columnar store, very few remain row-store.
- Most of the tables that contained indices, statuses, totals etc have been removed and duplication has been removed.
What this essentially means is SAP has “simplified” their data structures and re-written most of the standard SAP programs.
In the demo sessions I have seen: Thanks for the new database innovation in HANA, I can visibly see a faster performance, much faster results from running a report.
SAP has aggressively invested and acquired few organizations who were leaders in their respective fields.
Most of the functionalities offered by different landscapes: BI, CRM, SCM, SRM, etc.. are clubbed in one server* making it much easier, faster to interact and provides seamless integration.
Ux( User Experience):
- SAP Fiori UX is the new face of SAP to business users for ALL lines of business across devices and deployment options
- Provides only the relevant tasks and activities for an end user though the SAP Fiori launchpad
- SAP Fiori’s design is based on 5 Principles: Role-Based, Responsive, Simple, Coherent, Delightful
I’ve personally installed Fiori Client App on my phone( the demo version) and used it and I must admit that’s definitely much simpler, smarter, faster & interactive.
IoT, real-time collaboration:
- SAP claims that it’s solution for the Internet of Things(IoT) provide all the data-driven intelligence business would need by connection to devices/ machines/ assets/ vehicles by sensors
- Imagine being able to track your assets all along it’s way till it reaches an end destination or being able to track, trace, communicate, plan or re-plan routes based on the traffic situation and optimizing the route or meeting a promised delivery timeline to a customer
An example below of how data from IoT could be put to use.
Choice of deployment:
For the uninitiated:
- On-premise is the same situation as it was before the the SaaS/PaaS/IaaS world i.e. the platform/software is run on the premises managed by the business themselves.
- Cloud is deploying the software on a server provided by Vendor and the upgrades, maintenance managed by the Vendor who provides the services
- Hybrid, as the name suggests is a hybrid of the above options: for ex. A company may choose to have their Human Resources functionality, T&E on the cloud the rest on-premise
SAP offers all 3 deployment options depending on their current/initial state:
Easy Adoption :
SAP claims that the new HANA is quiet easy to adopt with quicker implementation cycles and there are the following paths that they see:
- Existing client on SAP ECC or further: Adopt a system “Conversion” methodology
- Existing client on version 47 or below: SAP recommends a new implementation
- For Existing clients with different installations or multi landscape, SLT- System Landscape Transformation
I’m not going into the details in this blog, however, the summary is SAP claims the adoption journey is easier without switching your lights “off”.
So what’s the use to a Business:
Some examples of value to the Businesses:
- Financial soft close ( simulation) on the fly, reduced FTE for reconciliation and reporting
- Planning and predictive finance: allows companies to predict inbound and outbound cash flows and risk management
- S&OP will enable sales and marketing department to collaborate with operations and finance in order to evaluate the impact of their strategies and make accurate predictions
- With Live MRP, planners are able to plan to the lot size of 1 making it very customizable resulting in higher customer satisfaction and retention
- Real-time & advanced ATP, interactive back order processing
- With the agility, simplicity S4H offers Users & businesses can re-imagine, re-engineer their business processes
- Role-based screens rather than having to go all the screens relevant or irrelevant
- Can focus on strategic tasks than admin tasks
- Faster reports, analytics will help users in decision making process
- With reduced data footprint, IT can save a lot on servers, maintenance
- Reduced TCO in terms of deployment, maintenance, number of servers
Finally, this list is by no means an exhaustive list, but just an illustration of how the new technology can be put to use.
For those on linkedin, here’s the same blog:
In my next blogs, I’ll delve deeper into each LoBs: Sales, Invetory etc. and other areas as I explore and learn.
The points here are based on my knowledge gained from various Open SAP courses and SAP might change direction/strategy as they deem necessary.
Your feedback is much appreciated.