“No pain, no gain.” People often use this mantra when they are working toward building a leaner, stronger, flexible, resilient, and agile physique. But should businesses accept the same mindset for their technology migrations? For SAP customers that are moving to SAP S/4HANA, SAP Solution Manager 7.2 can help them answer this question with a resounding “no.” This article explains why.
Data migrations historically have been painful endeavors for organizations and consequently avoided as much as possible. Lift and shift, system conversion, and full-scale transformation — these migration models and their hybrids can be challenging on their own. Years’ worth of code, data points, solution acquisitions, and organically grown architectures are constantly in flux. The risk of low-performing applications, broken integrations, and unaffordable total cost of ownership is increasing. And a growing call for fit-to-standard implementations is leading to unplanned changes to business processes.
But despite the high stakes of migrations, avoiding the adoption of next-generation core solutions — such as SAP S/4HANA — presents even more risk to future business growth. Customer expectations for more convenience, faster responses, and innovative products and services are already overextending ERP capabilities that, on average, predate e-commerce systems by 10 years.
Some SAP customers find that neither staying with outdated ERP systems nor moving to SAP S/4HANA are optimal options. But with the expertise, tools, and support from SAP Solution Manager, as part of the SAP S/4HANA Movement program, SAP customers worldwide are embracing new digital paradigms with the right technologies — faster, easier, and more securely. Doing so allows them to acquire an IT architecture flexible enough to develop and adopt future innovations to keep up with an ever-changing world.
Simplifying the Journey to SAP S/4HANA
One of the most beneficial aspects of SAP Solution Manager — especially with the introduction of the Focused Build solution for SAP Solution Manager — is the ability to deploy, adopt, and extend SAP S/4HANA with confidence. From evaluation and planning to adoption and transformation growth, the solution takes SAP customers through their journey step by step, building block by building block, with real-time insight and 360-degree transparency.
For example, Innogy SE — one of Europe’s largest utilities providers — generates reliable, affordable energy for roughly 16 million electricity customers and 6.5 million gas customers. To maintain its reputation for smart and safe energy solutions, Innogy chose to transition to SAP S/4HANA in the most painless way possible. By taking advantage of SAP Solution Manager 7.2 and the preconfigured Focused Build solution, Innogy simplified its move to SAP S/4HANA through an agile innovation development framework. This approach included a tight collaboration between IT and business units — from requirements planning to technology deployment. In addition, an integrated, out-of-the-box, tool-supported methodology helped manage operational needs and software development in an agile manner throughout the implementation.
Turn Migration Challenges into Opportunities
Perhaps more important than simplifying the journey to SAP S/4HANA, SAP Solution Manager also shapes the foundation for long-term growth, leading-edge innovation, and meaningful transformation. The solution turns the common challenges of a significant migration, like SAP S/4HANA, into transformational opportunities.
For example, SAP Solution Manager functionality helps customers take the following five migration hurdles in a stride:
- Controlling changes to the IT environment: By offering prescriptive and timely guidance, SAP S/4HANA Adoption Starter Engagement delivers an executive-ready report that details the requirements for structuring, organizing, and building a viable and optimal deployment plan. This programmatic exercise of IT and business cleanup and simplification empowers customers to streamline their digital transformation through agile application management. When combined with SAP Solution Manager, the engagement provides the decision-making capabilities and peer-to-peer knowledge needed to analyze the current business situation thoroughly. This insight then allows customers to map the best steps to prepare for their SAP S/4HANA deployment.
- Knowing the readiness of the existing ERP system for an SAP S/4HANA conversion: During any migration, numerous questions inevitably emerge — and a move to SAP S/4HANA is no exception. Organizations should consider potential impacts on business processes, organizational functions, application add-ons, security, databases, custom code, and user interfaces. The SAP Readiness Check tool provides customers with a self-service option to quickly and holistically analyze these areas in the context of their existing SAP software landscape. The tool checks for SAP S/4HANA conversion compatibility and necessary conversion preparation steps. It also generates a consolidated report in an interactive dashboard format to allow executive decision makers to experiment with different scenarios and strategies.
- Adopting the right business processes: By leveraging reference offerings such as SAP Model Company services and SAP Best Practices packages, customers can access a library of proven business processes captured from the deployment and adoption successes of a growing customer base. However, the real value of these tools is found when those practices are incorporated into the customer’s existing operations in ways that meet their unique requirements. SAP Solution Manager 7.2 offers process management tools to communicate goal-oriented information visually. Modeling capabilities enable customers to use a range of simple graphic representations to map out any business process from start to finish. This functionality can be applied to multiple business aspects to help optimize collaborative relationships. Furthermore, modifiable visual data represents a process and demonstrates its usefulness in the current state of the customers’ operations.
- Speeding test preparation and execution: Changes to the configuration of SAP S/4HANA are transported into the quality assurance system, where a battery of tests are executed to validate function, integration, user acceptance, and regression. If done well, defects are found and resolved before the adjustment is fully integrated into the business system landscape. With the addition of Focused Build, customers can simplify and accelerate this process and increase the ease of pinpointing and fixing errors. The solution provides a seamless, tool-based, requirements-to-deployment process to support business demand and requirements management, as well as integrated risk management. Its collaboration features also allow customers to orchestrate business and IT units as well as global development teams remotely. Beginning in 2020, customers will gain further benefits from Focused Build when it is planned to be offered as part of SAP Solution Manager 7.2. The usage rights of the solution — which has been licensed separately — are planned to be available at no additional cost. This update will allow all customers to take advantage of the great support Focused Build provides for SAP S/4HANA deployments.
- Running agile implementations: The deployment approach for SAP S/4HANA requires an agile software-engineering methodology, not the traditional waterfall model. This strategy measures project progress in terms of working functions or products. Focused Build enables customers to focus on a part of the end-to-end solution, prototype it, obtain customer buy-in, and extend the scope in iterations from there. By following a prototype-based methodology, customers break the entire deployment project into small increments and iterations with a short timeframe (or sprints). Then, multiple iterations may be required to release a product or new features that meet changing requirements.
Achieve All the Gain, Without Unnecessary Pain
The decision to move to SAP S/4HANA is a pivotal moment for any company’s transformation. The processing of large volumes of data is accelerated to deliver real-time insight. The simplicity of running transactions and analytics from the same database paves the way for in-the-moment analytics, higher efficiency, and intelligent capabilities that were not possible with traditional ERP systems.
But to fully seize the promises of the next-generation intelligent ERP system, SAP customers need to ensure monitoring, exception handling, and system administration during operations. SAP Solution Manager 7.2 fulfills that prerequisite. Now, when using this solution in addition to deploying SAP S/4HANA, customers gain the confidence of knowing that their applications and processes help ensure business continuity at a lower cost.
To learn more about SAP Solution Manager, visit here.