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A Preview into Digital Transformations

SAP S/4HANA Customers Take Center Stage at SAPPHIRE NOW

by Natalie Miller, Contributing Writer | insiderPROFILES, Volume 6, Issue 3

July 6, 2015

S/4 HANA digital transformations

By now you’ve likely heard of SAP S/4HANA, SAP’s next-generation business suite designed to help drive digital transformation. Many organizations have already implemented this highly-anticipated platform, and this article serves as a window into the projects at seven of these companies. Get a glimpse into the motivations behind the projects, their experiences moving to SAP S/4HANA, and the results they have seen and expect to see as they continue their journey.


Just months after the launch of SAP S/4HANA, SAP’s next-generation business suite designed to help customers drive their digital transformation, many SAP customers have begun to take this journey and anticipate a wealth of benefits ranging from reimagined business processes to reimagined business decisions — all of which are critical to businesses looking to reimagine themselves for the digital economy. With digital transformation at the core of these implementations, leveraging SAP S/4HANA both on premise and in the cloud helps these customers take full advantage of the innovations that the SAP HANA platform makes possible.
Built for the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform, SAP S/4HANA redefines how enterprise software creates value across industries with instant insight. It also allows companies to reimagine their operations through simplification and to transform their business by reinventing their processes.
At SAPPHIRE NOW in May 2015, where SAP launched the cloud edition of SAP S/4HANA, the following customers shared their motivations and experiences moving to SAP S/4HANA as well as the results they have seen — and expect to see — as they continue their exciting journey. Watch replays of these customer videos below and at


Asian Paints Reimagines Its Business

In 2012, Asian Paints — the largest paint company in India — began to reimagine its global business. The company wanted to go from being a coatings company to being a supplier of dream homes and décor, and to do that, it needed a new technology foundation to deliver new products and services. With its customers at the center of this transformation, Asian Paints needed to ensure the redesign involved with the move to SAP S/4HANA and SAP Simple Finance was done keeping the customers of the future in mind.
“A complex, agile business needs to build scalability, resiliency, and flexibility, while still growing,” said Manish Choksi, President of Home Improvements, Supply Chain, and IT at Asian Paints, and it was these needs that drove the company from a sidecar implementation of SAP HANA to having its entire business suite on SAP HANA.
“With SAP Simple Finance, this is just the beginning,” Choksi said. “We look forward to delivering new capabilities of real-time transactions with analytics to the entire organization and reworking the way that we look at our product line profitability, our geographic profitability, and most importantly, the global consolidation of accounts on this reimagined platform.”

La Trobe University Disrupts Inefficiencies with SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud

Australia’s La Trobe University was running an on-premise, highly customized, and fragmented finance system. “Reporting became quite a nightmare from the finance system,” said Peter Nikoletatos, Executive Director and CIO at La Trobe. “Colleges ran their own IT finance shadow systems, and suddenly we had this issue with synchronization of data. So there was no reliable data on what our financial position was.”
La Trobe moved to SAP S/4HANA in the cloud in only 20 weeks. This allowed the university to disrupt a very inefficient business process model and standardize its operations. With SAP S/4HANA, La Trobe consolidated 72 reports into five accurate, reliable reports, and end-of-month reporting went from over a week to just two to three days.
SAP S/4HANA also allows the university to monitor student data for more proactive intervention. For example, according to Nikoletatos, the university can now predict the likelihood of a student dropping out early on, leaving an unfilled seat and a lost revenue opportunity. This allows the university to proactively reach out to the student with a different mix of academic offerings. (To learn more about La Trobe’s SAP S/4HANA project, see "La Trobe University Works Smarter With SAP Simple Finance on SAP S/4 HANA" in this issue of insiderPROFILES.)


Florida Crystals Accelerates Its Growth with SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud

Domestic sugar manufacturer and distributer Florida Crystals — one of the first companies to go live on SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA in 2013 — got an early start with SAP S/4HANA as part of SAP’s Customer Validation Program, and went live with it in less than four weeks from the general availability of the solution.
“I remember when you planned upgrades a year in advance, shut down everything else for six months, and crossed your fingers,” said Don Whittington, Vice President and CIO at Florida Crystals. With SAP S/4HANA, that wasn’t the case. “It was business as usual on Monday morning,” he said.
In Florida Crystal’s case, it was the CFO who prompted the move to SAP S/4HANA after learning about the new capabilities of SAP Simple Finance. “The CFO has a vision of a transformation project, and we have teamed up again with SAP to take full advantage of SAP S/4HANA,” said Whittington.


Swiss Re’s Vision for Financial Transformation with SAP Simple Finance

Swiss Reinsurance Company, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, saw a huge increase in the reporting complexities it had to deal with after the financial crisis, to the extent that it could take over 55 days to close the books.
“That is time when your finance organization is looking backward,” said Thomas Wright, Director of Finance Transformation at Swiss Re. The company’s quest to transform its finance operations led it to seek out SAP Simple Finance to reduce the number of days to close down to five.
To decide on SAP Simple Finance, the company went through a solution discovery and proof of concept. “We developed three use cases that tested the most challenging aspects we needed to consider,” said Wright. Ultimately, SAP Simple Finance passed Swiss Re’s rigorous testing, helping the company achieve its goal of a single source of truth for financial reporting. “Simply put, the product does what it says it does,” he said. “With SAP Simple Finance, we will be able to react to market changes quickly, steer the business with agility, and plan for the future. It will help us simplify in this time of reporting complexity.”


Deloitte Expands Business and Profitability

Deloitte first implemented SAP HANA in 2011 and today is  benefiting from the platform’s advanced analytics and predictive capabilities. As the global firm expanded its business, the number and complexity of Deloitte’s financial transactions increased dramatically, prompting the company to look for new technology solutions.
One logical document enabled by the new general ledger, the elimination of aggregates, and real-time close were all motivations for Deloitte to choose SAP S/4HANA according to
Christopher Dinkel, Director of Technology and Information Management at Deloitte. In the past, Deloitte could only run soft closes twice a period, and now the firm can run soft closes every four hours, giving the company’s CEO, CFO, and function owners much better insight into finance.
The SAP S/4HANA journey at Deloitte will focus on enhancing productivity by decreasing manual, labor-intensive processes; stabilizing operating expenses through IT infrastructure simplification; and increasing profit margins through better visibility into the firm’s various revenue streams.


Geberit Simplifies Finance Operations

In 2014, Geberit — a Switzerland-based multinational group specializing in manufacturing and supplying sanitary parts and related systems — migrated SAP Business Warehouse to SAP HANA as part of a two-year roadmap to move all of its databases to SAP HANA. In 2015, the company went live with SAP Simple Finance.
From a business perspective, Geberit wanted to simplify and prepare for the future of big data, speed company reactions to new business requirements, and reduce costs. On the IT side, the company needed a solution to more effectively deal with the different finance and controlling documents and speed up financial closings. Users were also unhappy with the old screens,
according to Marius Reck, IT Manager for Geberit.
While only a year into its roadmap, the business is already realizing benefits, such as enhanced performance of transactions. As an example, actual overhead calculation was reduced from approximately two hours down to nine minutes. Geberit also realized faster reports due to data model simplification, and real-time financial insights with combined finance and controlling documents — and with a new user experience, users can drill down to the line-item level.


DASA Finds Support to Continue Growth

The largest medical diagnostic company in Latin America and Brazil, Diagnósticos da América (DASA), had many disparate legacy systems making up its business processes. For the expanding company to continue to grow over the next five years as planned, it chose to implement SAP S/4HANA.
“We were looking for managerial software that could support our growth,” said Carlos Katayama, CIO at DASA. “SAP S/4HANA combines usability, simplicity, speed of in-memory, transactions, and analytics — all in the same box — which is instrumental in terms of managing strategic data.” The objective for DASA to grow quickly through mergers and acquisitions necessitated a global system and software that can quickly connect and attach to other systems and companies.

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Natalie Miller

Natalie Miller is a Contributing Writer for insiderPROFILES.

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