SAP As The Central Component Of Digital Transformation
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SAP As The Central Component Of Digital Transformation

Digitalization poses new challenges. To avoid pitfalls, companies need a structured approach. This is also true for S/4 Hana implementations as digital core, and a business transformation roadmap is indispensable for any migration.

Companies are currently dealing with one of the biggest challenges of the digital age: digitalizing all their business processes. Furthermore, they have to start leveraging new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics or robotic process automation. Without them, the implementation of new, digital business models becomes impossible.

With S/4 Hana, SAP offers customers a stable core which, combined with SAP Cloud Platform, improves agility as well. This guarantees seamless integration and the possibility to leverage new technologies, resulting in a number of benefits, e.g. reduced maintenance or upgrade efforts.

Consequently, many companies are currently looking into the implementation of S/4 Hana, according to a study by Arvato Systems and Pierre Audoin Consultants. 9 percent of respondents are currently implementing S/4, 18 percent are planning the switch and 54 percent are at least thinking about it.


It is important to first and foremost compare the potential benefits of an S/4 Hana implementation with medium-term and long-term business goals. Aligning strategy and technology is the only way to ensure that the new system landscape is capable of tackling current and future business challenges.

Furthermore, companies have to realize that one of the most important keys to success is willingness to change. Roles and workflows have to be adapted to technological innovations to kickstart transformation and establish it in the long term.

Transformation roadmap indispensable

After these evaluations, an SAP business transformation roadmap becomes indispensable. It serves as a guide on how to best align business requirements with technological possibilities.

Competent and knowledgeable consultants or partners are able to assist in this process. They can make estimates about the costs of S/4 transformations, which is a problem that 46 percent of respondents weren’t able to tackle on their own. Additionally, partners offer know-how and experience that 32 of respondents were lacking.

Working closely with companies, consultants and partners create the necessary roadmap. Process optimization is one key focus area where partners can draw upon their experiences with best practice solutions in the industry. Moreover, they ensure focus on new technologies and innovation. The transformation roadmap consists of different clearly defined stages, making it easier for companies to complete them.

It’s crucial to evaluate every single business process, even those that have not been sufficiently documented over the past years. The main question is which processes are business critical and which are supporting at best or otherwise superfluous. This comprehensive analysis of business processes is indispensable – process optimization is paramount to the success of digital transformation efforts.

Companies can start with assessing end-to-end processes in single departments, be it finance, marketing, sales or purchasing, and work their way up to vertical processes connecting different departments and focus areas. They then know which backend processes can be optimized for more agility and scalability.

Digital innovation at the forefront

Future-proofing processes means to evaluate how new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, the Internet of Things, predictive analytics or robotic process automation can benefit companies. During these evaluations, it’ll quickly become clear that all of these innovations only really make a difference when companies combine them in a way that aligns with business strategy and long-term goals.

With SAP Cloud Platform, SAP offers a solution that combines these intelligent technologies and offers necessary integration services. SCP’s Accelerator packages are specifically designed for different industries and core functionalities and accelerate the implementation of digital innovations.

Roadmaps have to be accompanied by creating, testing and eventually implementing prototypes. By implementing prototypes, digital transformation becomes visible, which makes it easier to convince even the most hardcore sceptics of the importance of digitalization.

Prototypes also help assess the digital maturity of processes, the user friendliness of the system interface, and the feasibility of interfaces. The results and experiences gained in tests make it easier to identify existing challenges. Prototyping is proof of how the integration of new processes is likely to go and consequently minimizes the risks associated with the actual implementation later on.

With a comprehensive business transformation roadmap, companies can close the gap between what their SAP environment is and what they would like it to be. Technology acts as an enabler to effectively and efficiently realize digital business models.

E-3 Magazine December 2019/January 2020 (German)

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