SAPinsider recently sat down with an expert in the SAPinsider community, Rohana Gunawardena, Director – SAP Practice, Exium Inc., to discuss some of the trends he’s seeing in the marketplace.
A Major Priority for Finance Company CFOs
A big priority for SAP customers in the finance industry right now, says Rohana, is making the monthly financial close quicker. In his experience, the factors that make this challenging have more to do with company culture and process than with which system is being used. “It’s really about enforcement from the CFO, the quality of staff, and how they receive the message. Companies that close quickly typically have a right-hand-person to the CFO who is enforcing deadlines, which contributes to streamlining the process,” says Rohana.
While there’s much talk around close-automation technologies such as robotic process automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, Rohana believes those solutions will take time to fully actualize. In the meantime he cautions SAP customers against underutilizing solutions that are available now, such as SAP Financial Closing Cockpit or optimizing job scheduling for financial close. He’s also seeing the implementation of SAP Revenue Accounting and Recognition pick up as more experienced consultants for the product become available.
Rohana works with customers who are at various stages of making their close quicker, including one business that is able to complete their month-end close in three days and another business with an average month-end close of one month. “Current close time varies across companies but what these businesses share is the desire to make close quicker, which is a priority for CEOs and CFOs,” he says.
The Latest on the Move to S/4HANA
SAP customers are undoubtedly interested in learning more about the move to S/4HANA as evidenced by survey results, conversations with SAP customers, and full rooms at event sessions on the topic (like the ones we’ll be hosting at our SAPinsider 2020 conference in Vegas March 17-19). When Rohana presents sessions at SAPinsider conferences he often asks for a show of hands to gauge where people are at in their migration. “I’ve seen about 45-48% on classic SAP General Ledger (G/L), 45-48% on new G/L and then S/4HANA is about 2-5%.”
SAPinsider has also found, through our research, that adoption of S/4HANA is slow but rising. We’ve found that while many customers are speculating whether the 2025 deadline to implement S/4HANA will actually be enforced, the deadline is still the most popular driver across the market when SAP customers are asked why they’re making the move.
“Having a deadline in place really helps IT departments make the case to the CEO to get the funds for investing in the faster performing technology. When they can include a cut-off date for when their current system will become obsolete it helps make a stronger case,” says Rohana.
Rohana has also seen a rise in customers using Business Suite on HANA, a move that’s likely due to its ability to keep testing costs down. “It’s a database change but you’re getting a big database performance improvement.”
Lastly, Rohana says that a lot of SAP customers are turning to Cloud for Customer (C4C) to receive better customer contact and relationship management, with an emphasis on mobile device user experience.
Stay in the Know!
In addition to reading about our discussions with experts in the SAPinsider community, attending SAPinsider events is a great way to learn about the latest SAP trends, network with your peers, meet with vendors, and gain expert insights. Join us in Vegas March 17-19 for our SAPinsider 2020 conference!
“As a past presenter at multiple SAPinsider events for over 15 years I’ve really enjoyed getting the chance to meet a huge variety of users and understand what their challenges are, especially during the ask the expert sessions, which gives me new inspiration for articles and presentations. The keynote sessions are particularly helpful in informing about different trends that SAP is seeing,” says Rohana.
View our full agenda, which includes sessions, hands-on labs, and case studies on SAP S/4HANA, AI, Blockchain, Machine Learning, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Financial Closing Cockpit, cloud infrastructure, and more spanning across SAP topic areas and functions including Admin, Infrastructure & Platform; BI, Analytics & HANA, Cybersecurity, Financials, GRC, and SAP S/4HANA.
If you haven’t attended an SAPinsider conference yet, take it from Rohana: “Someone with a particularly challenging problem can connect with experts in one place to gain a variety of solution ideas from multiple perspectives and customers can see solutions being offered by vendors to help them create future roadmaps for their SAP system. There are so many people at SAPinsider conferences who are working hands-on with the systems as opposed to sales people.”
Take advantage of our Early Bird special!