If you're planning a SAP S/4HANA implementation in the near future, you're probably on a fierce hunt for guidance.
That's because despite S/4 HANA, simplification of business processes and its promise to analyze massive amounts of data in real-time, S/4HANA’s adoption rates have so far been on the lower side, although they do appear to be rising as its functionality expands into a major platform for enterprise applications and word about its success spreads. Still, the dearth of real-life experience from which to learn may leave early adopters feeling like they're making the SAP S/4HANA implementation journey in the dark.
To make that journey a bit clearer, here are five key considerations:
Decide On-premises, hybrid or cloud versions of S/4HANA. Maintaining an in-house database infrastructure has always been an expensive undertaking, due to the cost and overhead involved. CIOs must decide if the future direction of their company requires them to partially or fully get rid of their in-house database infrastructure and partially or completely move to cloud. The decision on whether the cost associated with the S/4HANA-on-cloud is justified may take longer for companies that have already heavily invested in in-house infrastructure. However, undertaking a cost-benefit analysis greatly helps in this decision-making process. Additionally, the quality and availability of network infrastructure plays a huge role in determining whether a mission-critical application can be hosted on cloud. A more realistic approach to start with would be to consider a hybrid model with a mix of on-premise and cloud-based applications depending on availability requirements.
Address hardware sizing by calling on the experts. S/4 HANA's simpler database, faster CPUs, and flexible scaling requires CIOs to diligently conduct hardware sizing when it comes to HANA. To make the most-informed decision, CIOs should engage multiple SAP HANA-certified vendors and then compare the results and reports of each vendor.
To make the most-informed decision, cios should engage multiple sap hana-certified vendors and then compare the results and reports of each vendor
If most vendors suggest a similar database size, then it is better to go for the higher estimation of database size. If there's a significant deviation in hardware sizing estimates from one vendor to another, then CIOs should ask each vendor to provide references to similar sizing projects that they've undertaken or get help from SAP to validate the vendor-suggested database size.
Tap into any available S/4HANA knowledge and experience. Being a newer technology that has not been adopted among a lot of enterprises, even SAP consultants engaged in HANA implementation do not have a depth and breadth of experience. Fortunately, SAP helps with its early adopter program, known as SAP Ramp- Up. In this program, SAP engages subject matter experts who then engage with early adopters on a regular basis throughout the duration of SAP HANA implementation to guide and advice on all technical and functional aspects of HANA. SAP also incrementally shares technical guides, user manuals, presentations, roadmaps, accelerators, and other assets to enable the client to effectively and successfully implement HANA.
Access SAP Activate. For companies opting for HANA's Enterprise Management, the S/4HANA deployment methodology SAP Activate ensures expedited and guided S/4HANA Enterprise Management implementation. SAP Activate leverages best practices, guided configuration and proven implementation methodology to ensure a project's success. SAP Activate eliminates the traditional way of creating an SAP Business Blueprint document that maps current business processes with SAP Best Practices business processes and then conducts a gap analysis—SAP Activate gets straight to the gap analysis. CIOs must be aware that it is still too early to evaluate if SAP Activate will ensure that all important business processes are captured, given that not all SAP Best Practices are currently available in HANA. However, SAP does keep on adding and building up the Best Practices library. So can CIOs rely only on the library as it gets fully built out? Not likely. An approach that seems to work well so far is to use traditional business blueprinting, but also create a variant or additional document by using SAP Activate.
Create an implementation roadmap and stick to it. SAP is continuously rolling out newer functionality and innovations with each quarterly release of SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management, which can evoke an intense case of FOMO (fear of missing out). But it is critical that CIOs do not let new offerings and features derail the ongoing SAP project. In other words, don't go back two-steps on an already-agreed-upon solution just to take advantage of newer innovations, or the result will quickly become scope creep, skyrocketing project costs and timeline slippages. CIOs should put a hard-stop on adopting S/4HANA innovations until the initial SAP HANA implementation is complete. Later, after SAP HANA implementation has successfully gone live and business processes have matured, CIOs can embark on "continuous-improvements" projects to implement latest S/4HANA innovations available at that time.