SAP celebrated success with early adopters. There are numerous S/4 Hana installations to parade. Spectacular greenfield, bluefield and brownfield projects have proven S/4 Hana’s feasibility and the value it adds to business.
SAP could be happy – if it weren’t for one tiny detail: the numbers of adopters has almost remained unchanged. S/4 Hana is not the choice of the majority. Only 173 S/4 Hana systems went live in North America in 2019, according to an official SAP FKOM presentation at the beginning of this year.
Hana and S/4 are not ready for the large-scale implementation in the enterprise yet. There are many success stories about S/4 Hana, BW/4 and C/4 concerning technology, organization and sometimes even licenses – but never business! Why? The answer is simple: the Hana and S/4 transformation requires roughly the same resources as a new ERP implementation. Despite all of the tools, partnerships and programs, the S/4 transformation is no simple release change.
S/4 Simple Finance is exactly that – simple. Additionally, it offers new beneficial possibilities. Almost every CFO is convinced of the results – but getting there is the problem. The S/4 Hana transformation is still too expensive, uncertain and laborious for many SAP customers.
Ambivalent S/4 Hana promises
There are a lot of promises about what S/4 Hana can do. Both S/4 and Hana have their own merits and represent the next logical step in the SAP evolution. However, it was always obvious that SAP would have to extend the deadline 2025.
If SAP co-CEOs Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein had not extended the deadline to 2027 (or 2030 for higher maintenance fees), it would have been a disaster for the SAP community. There would not have been enough experts and consultants for an orderly S/4 Hana transition.
SAP is headed in the right direction. Even the German-speaking SAP user group DSAG sees S/4 and Hana as the right solution for impending digital transformation. However, the time is not right yet. Until S/4 and Hana have reached the necessary level of technological maturity, no customer should be forced to transition to a half-baked system environment.
SAP customers should be able to diligently plan their S/4 Hana implementations without the added stress factor of a forced deadline, even if it has been extended.
The AnyDB issue still needs resolving, since SAP canceled its database contracts with Microsoft, Oracle and IBM – but Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein technically still have a few years to sort it out.