Keeping S/4 Hana Clean Is Easier Said Than Done
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Keeping S/4 Hana Clean Is Easier Said Than Done

Clean, lean, agile: this is what customers expect from S/4 Hana. SAP urges its customers to keep the core clean and only use a few customized solutions.

As impractical as it may sound, it could work – if SAP itself became a little more flexible and met its customers halfway. As of now, SAP only offers customers a somewhat adequate solution for the S/4 Hana dilemma – the SAP Cloud Platform.

Hoping it will keep the S/4 Hana core clean, the ERP company advertises the platform’s in-app development capabilities. However, it’s no secret that these are not up to par yet; otherwise, customers wouldn’t need to develop their own customized solutions for S/4 Hana.

Customization can bring decisive competitive advantages – no wonder no SAP customer would willingly give that up. To make these solutions work, however, they need the right interfaces. Cloud Platform has not nearly enough (except the existing ones based on Business Application Programming Interfaces).

It’s clear what’s happening: more S/4 functionalities mean more difficult integrations mean many more customized products. The solution? Collaborating with SAP!

As counterintuitive as this might seem at first, collaborating with the ERP giant is a viable long-term strategy for customers. Users can actively demand the creation or development of new features, for example through user groups. If three or more customers demand similar innovations, there’s a good chance that SAP will listen.

Many customized solutions are only created to avoid having to buy expensive add-ons. Customers don’t use add-ons like the treasury module, the commodity pricing engine or the master data management module and just develop their own solutions instead.

No additional licenses for S/4 Hana functionalities

This shows that most customers don’t need the full functional scopes of these add-ons and instead develop their own easier solutions to match their requirements. Maybe SAP should sell less and listen more.

Customers want to use some processes and functionalities without immediately having to pay for additional licenses. Subsequent licensing fees impede collaboration between SAP and customer. Discounts discredit SAP’s pricing and product policy.

Theoretically, SAP knows all of this – but practically, it hasn’t done nearly enough to combat these developments.

For example, SAP support has gotten significantly better over the past few years. In the long term, it’s more viable to work with SAP directly to fix problems. However, there’s still a lot of effort involved on the customer’s part, which is why many users try to fix the problem themselves. This approach might seem quicker and less cumbersome, but it will actually lead to more problems down the road.

E-3 Magazine October 2019 (German)

About the author

Peter Langner, ADventas

Peter Langner is the founder of ADventas Consulting and SAP-certified consultant and trainer.

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