Yes, we’ve all heard about SAP S/4HANA. And many of the CIO’s reading this blog will be trying to understand just how they get to S/4HANA. How do they take those myriad of SAP instances that are running SAP’s ECC version, and move the entire company up to a completely new level that provides the digital road to integration within their company? For the years they have been working with SAP, their primary focal point has been the Account Executive (AE). So, where are they in helping a company migrate to S/4HANA?
SAP Move program
I have reviewed the SAP Move program. Yet many big questions arise when considering the move away from ECC to S/4HANA. For CIO’s, it can be a daunting task. Do I move to the cloud? Which cloud? How will I get the performance and high availability that my company requires in the cloud? Who are the key players that can provide this kind of robust capability? And above all, how can my SAP AE help in the process of decision making and creation of my business case to migrate, rather than being just a bystander to process an SAP license sale?
First, SAP AE’s are pivotal in this process. They should be the ones that encourage a CIO/CTO to get educated on the processes required to do a migration as big as moving to S/4HANA. Education in the form of understanding what the current state of the SAP instances is (Note: check out West Trax cloud app which is uniquely capable to provide this assessment). Then the key question of which cloud to operate S/4HANA on? Public clouds such as Google with its Hyperscaler capability, Microsoft’s Azure, Amazon’s AWS, or perhaps another cloud provider? Should it be a Private cloud? Or perhaps a Hybrid cloud? Maybe it should remain on-prem? These are key questions that the CIO/CTO needs to grapple with and a key sparring partner in this should be the SAP AE.
Is AE essential to S/4HANA?
So, you may ask, are the AE’s themselves capable of understanding the nuances of migration to S/4HANA? Do they fully understand what has been implemented in your company, how customized it is, how many actual instances there are, how many languages it operates in, the current support model, how it is hosted, and more? As important, what are the migration techniques that can be employed by the CIO/CTO to reduce the time it takes to understand all of this and put it into context for major decision making, budgeting, and organizational impact. AND even bigger, the AE needs to understand the companies’ long game. What is it your company is trying to achieve by moving to S/4HANA besides being ‘compliant’ with SAP’s end-of-life support in 2025? That is, what will S/4HANA bring to the company in the form of transformation (real transformation, not just another shiny new system!)?
After the Customer completes a Deep-Dive Migration Assessment, for Level-5 business processes transactions across all modules and locations of the ECC instance, the business case must be created for the S/4HANA Migration. SAP AE’s have a terrific resource at their disposal to help the customer. SAP has named this resource: the Value Engineering Team. I thoroughly recommend every CIO should ask their SAP AE to contribute this team to help prepare the business case.
Transforming a company, or perhaps a business unit to do things markedly different, to deliver perhaps a new product, to enter a new market, to deliver a new service, or even just get into the digital world – is tough. It means educating and training people to think differently, to not be afraid to be bold, and know that you probably won’t get it right on the first pass. Nor the second. Transforming to me is not just doing something different. It is doing something I hadn’t thought about previously, or perhaps didn’t know how to make happen. It’s about treating a customer differently. No disruption or transformation is without risk. Digital transformation is often about chasing the cool stuff. In the process of chasing the cool stuff, a couple of key things are forgotten, or downplayed as not important. Like data. Like scale. Like integration. Like security. Like legacy apps that are not going to be going away any time soon because a company has invested millions. This is the kind of information that the SAP AE needs to be aware of so they can be a real business partner to the CIO/CTO (and other company execs) in successfully achieving the desired goals.
So, in effect, AE’s need to transform as well, if serious inroads into the S/4HANA world are to be made. It would be in SAP’s best interest to review how the AE’s are trained and compensated. Staying with the standards in place today will not result in improved delivery of S/4HANA implementations, nor increased revenue for SAP nor it’s SI’s. A clear education strategy for the AE’s as well as an education for the CIO/CTO as to what SAP is doing to improve this would be most welcomed across industry. I believe the net result is better relationships and improved revenue. And clearly, SAP would love that!
I invite SAP executives and account executives to comment on this post as I believe their views needs to be heard.
Originally published on BTT’s IT Toolbox: https://it.toolbox.com/sap-hana-migrations/btt-thinktank-blogs/s-4-hana-experiences-needed-cios-need-to-know-where-are-the-sap-aes