Adita Technologies SAP S/4HANA ERP Public Cloud Implementation Journey
As promised in my previous post, I am sharing our SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud implementation journey. We are one of the few Lighthouse partners selected by SAP globally and the first company in ANZ to implement and successfully go live with S/4HANA Public Cloud solution (Endorsed by SAP). At the time of writing we are also the first company in ANZ to upgrade our system to the latest version 1702. I hope this article will be useful for anyone interested in S/4 HANA Public Cloud ERP solution.
Who We Are
Adita Technologies is a Specialist Solutions Reseller and Services Company. Our expertise covers ERP, CRM, Customer Engagement and Commerce, Business Analytics and Internet of Things. We provide thought leadership, business process improvement, software implementation and support services to our customers.
We are part of the Ayan Group of Companies and as a group we operate in several countries such as Australia, New Zealand, India and USA. Before the implementation of S/4HANA we were using different applications in each country to manage our financial operations. As we are rapidly growing each year and have aggressive growth targets in multiple countries, we realised the need for a global ERP system that can help us to streamline our operations.
Based on our needs, we were looking for a vendor with a product portfolio and a solution which was scalable with the company’s growth and had the option to integrate with 3rd party systems that could also handle data and legal requirements from multiple countries. After evaluation, we identified SAP as the vendor and S/4HANA Public cloud ERP as the solution to our requirements. The solution not only met our needs but came with features that helped us manage our growth and business processes in an efficient manner.
About the Solution
SAP S/4HANA ERP is a real-time enterprise resource management suite for digital business. It is built on our advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA, and offers a personalised, consumer-grade user experience with SAP Fiori. It offers two deployment options – Cloud and On-Premise.
After careful consideration, we decided to go ahead with SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud solution since it includes the core capabilities of SAP S/4HANA ERP which allowed us to begin our digital transformation journey, with the power of an in-memory cloud ERP suite.
After selecting the solution, SAP recommends following the Activate methodology which is a modular and agile framework for implementation or migration to SAP S/4HANA. SAP Activate Methodology comprises of 5 Phases (Prepare, Explore, Realize, Deploy and Run)and each phase has several deliverables and tasks as described below. SAP has a number of S/4HANA solution accelerators that can be used to fast track each phase of the implementation. Similarly, some of the deliverables and tasks in each phase can be performed in parallel to expedite the implementation.
In our project we did the below high level tasks in each phase
After we kick started the project we received a starter system from SAP. The purpose of the start system is to get a feel of the system and do any fit-gap analysis and map our business processes with the solution scope. This marks the beginning of the Prepare Phase. Activities performed in this phase were:
- Set up initial users in the Starter system
- Prepare project plan: The activity involved planning for the project in terms of the resources, budget, timelines and an overall scope.
Activities performed during this phase were:
- Perform Fit to Standard Analysis: This was one of the most important processes in the entire life cycle. The purpose of this activity was to validate the predefined scenarios, processes and enhancements to our requirements and identify gaps.
- Configuration definition: The deliverables for this process were templates such as Org. Structure, House Bank etc. Along with these an expert configuration template was also provided for the configuration views maintained by SAP. These deliverables were required for the Quality system provisioning.
There was a series of self-learning material available within the system as well as online which is easily accessible to all.
This was the next phase in the roadmap where we received the Test system and did the initial user set up as in the Starter system. The Test system came configured with the content from the configuration templates provided in the Realize phase i.e. Org. Structure and House Bank templates. These were the basic configurations present in the system; we did the remaining configuration based on the scope and the business processes finalised in earlier stages. Finally, we migrated/created the sample master data, customised the output forms and finally performed the unit testing to test both the configuration data and end-to-end scenarios. The Integration scenarios are also tested extensively in this phase.
SAP offered great support during this critical phase, since the provisioning of the Production System is solely dependent on the success of this phase. The response for issues was quick and helped us manage the time line.
During this phase the Production System was provisioned after all the configuration and business scenarios were tested thoroughly in the Test System. The user setup process was performed once again followed by the master data migration/creation. The entire configuration was transported from the Test System and it is extremely important not to do configuration changes in the Production System directly.
This phase is the ongoing phase after the go-live. SAP release new innovations and functionalities every 90 days. The purpose of this phase is to further optimise the solution and automate the operability of the solution and activate new functionalities that may be useful for the organisation as they are released.
Recently we successfully upgraded to the latest version 1702 and used the automated testing tools provided in the system to test the functionalities that we implemented.
Value Gains Achieved
We managed to complete the implementation in 10 weeks. Our experience with the system has been great so far. The system has helped us minimise the manual tasks that were so time consuming in our legacy system, by automating a lot of the processes.
The performance is exceptional, courtesy of the HANA database. We can now run out of box reports to view real time analytical data. Most important of all, we can manage data from different systems, residing in different countries from a single system.
How SAP Cloud ERP solution implementation is different from On-Premise Solutions
Following are some key differences:
- In the SAP Cloud world, the users and project team can experience the working system from day one. This will greatly help the users to understand and adapt to the new system from the beginning. This in return helps the organisation who is implementing the solution to reduce the design time and also change management time. Since the users are getting used to the system from day one there will not be any surprises at the end of the project, enhancing the user’s satisfaction which adds to the success of the project.
- On-Premise systems require a substantial upfront investment in terms of both cost and effort. This includes hardware, servers, software and hiring or upskilling staff. It is also time consuming to set up the working system. Once the system is functional, the organisation must invest time and money for routine maintenance and upgrading of the system. Cloud Systems are based on a pay-as-you-go subscription model, so the initial costs are much lower because organisations don’t have to invest in most of the things mentioned above. It also helps organisations to redirect the staff from maintenance to innovation.
- When a business experiences rapid growth, Cloud Solutions can be quickly rolled out. It also enables businesses to expand into new regions without having to make huge investments. Depending on the scope, it is possible to roll out the public cloud solution in 6-12 weeks.
SAP S/4HANA ERP Key Differentiator
SAP S/4HANA ERP is the result of 40 years of industry knowledge and innovation. The core functionalities available in S/4HANA ERP are based on the legacy ECC solution from SAP which has been revamped both in terms of usability, thanks to the latest UI technology from SAP Fiori, and performance, thanks to the in-memory database platform HANA.
SAP S/4HANA ERP comes with three editions – On-Premise, Private Cloud and Public Cloud. Customers can choose from one of these editions based on the business processes, scope, budget and legal requirements.
SAP S/4HANA ERP Public Cloud is particularly interesting as it allows mid-sized companies to make use of the software solution that was, until recently, only used by some of the most successful companies in Tier 1.
The innovation of the product is on-going with each upgrade. More and more optimised functionalities that are already available in the previous generation ERP application are being activated along with new functionalities every 90 days. Faster innovation time means enhanced product with each quarterly upgrade.
I would like to end this article by thanking my team and SAP for the successful implementation of the first S/4HANA Public Cloud Implementation and go live in ANZ.
Adita specialises in both Cloud and On-Premise S/4HANA ERP solutions. If you are interested in learning more about S/4HANA Cloud or On-Premise solutions, then please feel free to contact me.