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Finance and HR Innovations for 2010: Greater Flexibility and Insight to Meet Your Business Needs

by Philip Say and Dawn Crew | SAPinsider

July 1, 2010

What's new for finance and HR professionals in 2010? Step through the top finance capabilities (from streamlining change requests to reorganizing profit centers) and HR capabilities (from improving compensation management to reducing operational delivery costs) newly available in enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP 6.0.
 

In the current economic climate, many businesses can afford to concentrate on only two or three IT projects, not the 10 they might have accommodated years ago. Accordingly, IT needs to pinpoint its top challenges, strategically plan its projects, and build a strong business case for any new enhancements; it’s the only way to get a project approved by upper management.

Understanding this reality, SAP is delivering many new, exciting innovations for SAP Business Suite in 2010. These innovations offer a significant advantage for companies that are running SAP ERP 6.0: Businesses can access them via enhancement package 5 without upgrading. Companies can focus on targeted projects depending on their business demands — and their budget — and implement only the enhancements they need.

In this article, we will highlight some of the new capabilities available in enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP 6.0 that will help finance and HR professionals:

  • Support business transformation through the ability to modify reporting structures inside your SAP systems as fast as your business changes
  • Make shared services more effective with the ability to serve more processes and data from SAP — via a centralized shared services center — to globally distributed business units
  • Optimize talent and skill sets within your organization thanks to new capabilities that help maximize the impact of your workforce

Understandably, this article covers only some of the new enhancements. Please visit www.sap.com/solutions/business-suite/innovations2010 to see a complete list.

Top Innovations for  Finance Professionals

Restructuring an organization or creating a new business unit is easy to do on paper. But in practice, this reshuffling has significant implications for accounting and reporting structures within the business — especially for multi-tier businesses that have several cost centers, and for the managerial, finance, and accounting teams responsible for them.

As teams rework the company’s financial systems to map up to the reorganized structure, they need an efficient process, clean data, clear communication channels, organized planning, and a strategy for encompassing remote business units. These drivers are the motivation for many of the financials enhancements available in SAP ERP 6.0 enhancement package 5.

Streamline Change Requests and Replication with Master Data Management

Many companies have business units — and, therefore, data — distributed across the globe, but they still must report quickly using accurate data. As business units change and profitability reporting shifts, companies need an organized process and a clear communication channel for the transformation. Consider a multi-national company headquartered in London. If a manager in the company’s Sydney office has to make a change to the accounting structure, he would need to communicate with the central controlling team in London, and the central team would then need to respond with the reporting impact of that change. Companies need a structured, auditable communication channel based on accurate data — not manual spreadsheets or emails — so that the accounting groups don’t have to spend months reconciling changes.

The new master data management capabilities for financials, particularly Master Data Governance for Financials, can dramatically improve your productivity by supporting reporting requirements that result from business change. These new capabilities streamline change requests and replication for general ledger accounts, profit centers, cost centers, cost elements, and consolidating units.

Master Data Governance for Financials organizes the communication of chart of accounts changes between centralized controlling teams and local business units. This saves time and improves group-wide productivity because teams no longer need to rely on unstructured communication to request or implement a chart of accounts change.

Controlling teams can also replicate group or mass changes to chart of accounts data in both SAP and non-SAP systems. This alleviates the burden on local controlling teams to execute changes, and it improves the speed at which you can create a consistent set of global charts of accounts for all of your reporting entities.

If you’re concerned about internal control and authorization of changes to your financial master data, Master Data Governance for Financials provides the ability to control approvals, review statuses, and organize the workflow of the authorization of financial chart of accounts changes (see Figure 1). 

Figure 1 Master Data Governance for Financials organizes the workflow associated with change requests and enables mass changes or replication of charts of account data in both SAP and non-SAP systems

Efficiently Reorganize Profit Centers While Ensuring Reporting Accuracy

Many business changes require the quick restructuring of profit centers to avoid delaying purchases, sales, or other critical business processes. To manage and execute changes to profit centers while ensuring that reporting is accurate, a business usually has to set up a consulting engagement and hire expensive outside expertise to properly restructure and repost balances across profit center changes. Most companies cannot afford this costly, time-consuming approach.

Reorganizing company profit centers is made less complex through organized planning. The new profit center reorganization tool delivered with enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP Financials gives you the ability to organize, plan, and reassign objects; approve and update master data; and repost balances that reflect your new profit center structure.

With the tool, you have a systematic, visual way to understand and manage profit center data changes. It organizes your change project, allowing you to assign tasks to individual managers or groups of managers depending on the project’s complexity, and it generates workflows so managers can review and approve any new assignments of profit centers. Figure 2 shows how you can set up and monitor profit center changes needed as a result of any business decisions to restructure your company’s reporting strategy. The plans can be set up by company codes, or even by individual managers, enabling you to control how profit center changes are executed.

As you finalize your profit center reorganization, you need to repost account balances to new profit centers. With the tool, you can reassign inventory and any work in progress for open production orders. The tool also reposts SAP General Ledger documents for any open payables or receivables. Once your managers verify and approve the new balances, you can close the process — and get on with your business.

Figure 2 With the profit center reorganization tool, your controlling teams can set up and monitor profit center changes

Enhance Users’ Interaction with a Shared Services Center

Consider an accounting team in a remote business unit that is removed from the company’s SAP support staff. These users need an effective way to access and interact with the company’s SAP systems using a shared services center. SAP helps you streamline your shared services center with a central platform that integrates into your back-end SAP systems and automates and standardizes typical business processes handled by the shared services organization.

The new SAP Shared Services Framework delivers a set of communication tools and technologies to implement or improve the productivity and effectiveness of your shared services center. The framework contains a process infrastructure that allows a company to communicate and share information between its local business units and the shared services center.

Central to the framework is the new interaction center, a self-service business user interface (UI) that enables a local business unit to review and evaluate business events or transactions that are supported by your shared services center — for example, invoice disputes or the status of customer payments (see Figure 3). Using the interaction center, users can see the results of collection cases or disputes managed by the shared services center on behalf of a local business unit. This UI, which is layered over your existing SAP systems, enables a local business unit manager to check customer account balances and disputes without having to navigate to the source system or send an inquiry to the accounts receivable team.

Financial management is not the only area to benefit from the enhanced framework. The technology can be scaled to support shared services functions for HR, procurement, travel, and other corporate processes.

Figure 3 The new interaction center facilitates communication between shared services centers and local business units by providing status updates and enabling end users to create service tickets

Top Innovations for HR Professionals

We’re hearing from our customers that HR line of business teams are struggling in three main areas: workforce insight, talent management, and operations management. At the same time, HR customers are facing intense pressure to improve service levels within their organization and to motivate, engage, and retain employees without any extra budget. These are the drivers for the HR-related innovations in enhancement package 5 of SAP ERP 6.0. Benefiting from the enhancement package strategy, customers can rapidly unlock the HR business functions that their users need without having to upgrade.

Gain Better Insight into Your Workforce Through Analytics

Understanding your workforce is critical to making sound business decisions. With insight into your most important assets — your people — you can better identify and invest in the future leaders who will carry your business forward. With employee-related costs, including salaries and benefits, accounting for up to 60% of your operational expenses, you simply cannot afford to guess when you make decisions that impact your people.

That’s why SAP is now delivering prebuilt Xcelsius dashboards across the HR space, primarily focusing on talent management, to give users better insight into their people. With the dashboards, users can quickly access and synthesize data in their systems (see Figure 4).

Figure 4 Proactively monitor succession planning effectiveness with talent management cross-analytics on one dashboard for better decision making

Retain Your Top Talent with Improved Compensation Management

To position your company for the economic upturn, you need to retain your top talent, which involves paying your people for the results they deliver. You should focus on keeping your most talented people and investing in their development as future leaders, so that when the economy improves and they have the opportunity to leave the organization, they don’t. Retaining your leaders will help you avoid the costs and disruption associated with turnover, and maintain the organizational knowledge and expertise needed to excel in future endeavors. Accordingly, SAP has streamlined the compensation planning process, making it more intuitive for managers and allowing them to access relevant information quickly.

Reduce Operational HR Delivery Costs

All parts of an organization, including HR, work to ensure that costs are as low as possible. Automating HR processes is one way that SAP helps customers reduce TCO. For example, extended integration between SAP E-Recruiting and the HR system speeds the hiring process with increased automation of data processing for personnel administration and talent management.

The enhancements delivered in 2010 support the reduction of HR delivery costs. For example, SAP has decoupled self-services from the SAP portal, giving customers the flexibility to run self-services and HR roles within their existing portal infrastructure, such as SharePoint. In addition, customers can benefit from:

  • Improved employee self-services tools with enhanced functionality and a compelling UI (see Figure 5)
  • Usability improvements in processes and forms for HR transactions (see sidebar)
  • HR shared services enabled by the integrated and multi-functional shared services platform based on the latest version of SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM)
Figure 5 Using the new employee self-service functionality in SAP software, employees can maintain their personal information

4 Ways to Get Started

To determine how best to benefit from the new financial and human capital management innovations available with SAP ERP 6.0 enhancement package 5, consider these four options:

  1. Browse the benchmark library. Using SAP’s rich library of benchmarks and value-based studies, you can evaluate your enterprise and investigate how implementing a new SAP enhancement could help improve strategic or operational metrics. Contact your SAP representative to learn more about benchmarking.
  2. Tap into SAP’s online business process communities. Post questions, gather experiences, and learn from other organizations that have invested in SAP solutions for financial or HR process improvement. To get started, visit www.sdn.sap.com/irj/bpx/erp and www.sdn.sap.com/irj/bpx/financial-excellence.
  3. Collaborate across the ecosystem. Many programs and resources from SAP partners help you outline the most effective strategies to take advantage of the innovations available in 2010. Learn more at www.sap.com/ecosystem and http://ecohub.sdn.sap.com.
  4. Participate in the ramp-up program. Obtain early access to new enhancements and receive coaching and advice as you implement them by joining the ramp-up program. Please visit http://service.sap.com/rampup.

Philip Say (philip.say@sap.com) was Vice President of SAP Financials Marketing and now leads SAP’s effort to create new on-demand finance solutions. Prior to joining SAP in 2002, he held financial product management and strategy roles at PeopleSoft.

Dawn Crew (dawn.crew@sap.com) is Vice President of Solutions for the HR Line of Business. Prior to joining SAP in 2007, Dawn held various operational, executive product management, and strategy roles focused on financials and HR application solutions.

 

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