For business to thrive in the digital age, it needs a future-proof digital foundation that empowers it to take advantage of the latest revolutionary technologies. For a lot of businesses aiming to become intelligent enterprises, this will mean leveraging the power of big data, analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more – using SAP Leonardo and S/4HANA.
So said Hans-Peter Fülle, Digital Core Senior Vice President of SAP EMEA South, during his talk at Saphila 2019 (the African SAP User Group’s (AFSUG) biennial conference for SAP users). Titled, The Road to Intelligent Enterprise, he said the Intelligent Enterprise is a long-term strategy for businesses who understand how operational data aligned with experience data equates to the rapid transformation of data into insight, which feeds process automation, innovation and, ultimately, optimised experiences.
Technology and innovation like SAP Leonardo bring the power of operational and experiential data to decision makers through an integrated dashboard, and empowers brand and product managers as well as employees to see an aggregation of big data on one screen.
When this is real, business is fast on the path to being best run.
“A global example of this in action would be Hoerbiger, an industrial machinery and components company, that leveraged the IoT technology of the Leonardo portfolio using the S/4HANA cloud platform to connect to its wellhead compression units,” said Fülle. “The implementation concluded with the company experiencing improved visualisation, better unit access and availability, improved service, and data insights for better decision-making.”
“Hoerbiger now understands the true value of standardisation after its move to S/4HANA and can see it paving the way to innovation. The system is drawing compressor data continuously which, when transferred to S/4HANA, automatically generates invoices. The company is experiencing exponential improvement in maintenance departments, with predictive maintenance now a reality, and algorithms set to keep a check on performance. Hoerbiger has reduced labour time by eliminating non-value added visits to the wellheads, and completely removed the need for manual paperwork.”
Fülle spoke of the Intelligent Movement to S/4HANA that has helped over 11,000 customers gain access to intelligent technologies and a modern digital core that connects all their data, automates key functions – and creates new opportunities to innovate, lead, and adapt.
“At the SAPPHIRE NOW event held in 2018, 75 per cent of customers in attendance had confirmed plans to migrate and this is a big deal,” Fülle said. “But it would behove any business planning to migrate to do just that, and plan.”
He said business could begin by researching the S4HANA Movement guidance.
“Businesses must define where they want to start and how fast they want to move,” he added. “They must determine how they want to deploy and highlight conversations that must be had, and a good next step would be investigating the S/4HANA Adoption Starter Pack. All of this will determine how and when the journey can and should begin, and how it should move forward.”
Garth Ridgway, Group Executive: GTM at Britehouse, a Dimension Data company, joined Fülle on stage to summarise his own experience in a public and much-studied migration that saw it partner with SAP to become the largest adopter of SAP S/4HANA public cloud in Africa.
Britehouse, already invested in S/4HANA public cloud through its global application business and having had first-hand experience with migrating local businesses over to S/4HANA cloud solutions, realised it was time to drink its own champagne.
This required a move from the on-premise cloud, which ran back-office with third-party legacy systems (including time sheet and resource planning) and, with SAP, Microsoft and Oracle applications across the business, there were little to no standardised processes.
“To live the reality that S/4HANA has proven globally, we prepared ourselves for several lessons that would undoubtedly be learned across the span of the migration but also felt confident that we’d close this chapter with a fully integrated solution. And, here we are, the first company to go live with SAP public cloud professional services in South Africa.”
Ridgway closed by joking that doctors are always the worst patients. “We didn’t listen to our own advice and it was a challenging implementation,” he said. “It took longer than planned, just over a year, but, because of the hard lessons learned with our own migration, we can now take a fixed scope at a fixed price and conclude migrations within 21 weeks.”
“S/4HANA has proven its mettle in delivering increased performance, empowering smart decision making, lower TCO and higher productivity, but it is in partnering it with customer focussed experiences that can be built using insights from Leonardo that businesses can truly take their offering to the next level,” Fülle concluded.