First of all, this is good news. Advancing digitization and the desire to make processes more end-to-end and automated are driving organizations to address the issue of S/4 transformation as a high priority. The time pressure caused by the announced end of support for previous versions also plays a role here, of course.
Why could this now become a problem? As a consulting firm, we are already seeing very high demand for expert advice in the cloud environment. Our forecast is that there will be consulting bottlenecks by summer 2022 at the latest. This means that companies that start late with the S/4 transformation could then lose out. This would hit midsized companies in particular, who also have fewer in-house specialists to compensate for the lack of external support.
Best practices needed
In the survey “Expectations for S/4 Hana in 2022”, 90 percent of the companies surveyed stated that they did not have sufficient information and support services available for implementing S/4 Hana, for example on target and process models or total costs. A survey conducted by the German-speaking SAP user group DSAG in the summer of 2021 points in a similar direction. The desire for a clear cost structure and best practices is correspondingly high among companies. Due to the lack of information, they risk not taking important strategic decisions into account early enough.
According to the survey, companies expect a transformation partner to have certified, i.e., demonstrably experienced, employees, in-depth industry expertise, innovative strength, and methodological and process competence. Without this expertise, transformation is virtually impossible.
However, there is another crucial point that most organizations underestimate: 26 percent of the companies surveyed have not included the topic of change management in their planning, even though external support for the change process ensures that organizational change is more successful.
SAP has also recognized that there is a desire for a clear transformation path to S/4 Hana among many customers and has launched the RISE with SAP program in 2021, which bundles various migration services, from the redesign of business processes to the technical migration to building an Intelligent Enterprise. Camelot has been a RISE partner from the beginning and supports the offering, also because it will help to cushion the consulting bottlenecks that are expected in the coming months and years.
The path to an Intelligent Enterprise
An S/4 transformation affects the entire company and must be approached accordingly. This requires clear alignment with corporate strategy and the involvement of all business units and stakeholders – currently still one of the greatest challenges facing companies. However, only an approach that takes the organization as a whole into account can achieve the desired automation of processes, the dissolution of data silos and the performance optimization of the entire system.
Whether such an approach will be available to all companies that want it in 2022 is to be hoped but remains questionable. After all, even if a large proportion of the companies that still have the migration ahead of them start making preparations now, it is quite possible that not all of them will still find free consulting capacities in the market. The demand is high and is constantly increasing. Therefore, my advice: It is better to find a competent partner sooner rather than later, who will then master the transformation to the Intelligent Enterprise together with your company.