SAP S/4HANA is on the radar for most organisations and SAP teams are on a quest to find a business case that works for them, but how do you find the benefits that are relevant to a specific organisation?
SAP are offering free tools and services that create bespoke reports based on the actual usage of existing SAP software.
The reports and services described are free of charge, but they do require some data extraction or configuration of software. I’ve assisted a few customers with these reports so I’ve tried to describe the real-world effort and I’m happy to help anybody who gets in touch.
Business Scenario Recommendations (BSR)
The Business Scenario Recommendations (BSR) tool provides relevant information on the business benefits of SAP S/4HANA. You need to upload an extract of anonymised transaction code usage by following the instructions, with the entire process taking 15-45 minutes. The report is emailed back to you after around a week.
The BSR report identifies the most relevant business scenarios to your organisation based on usage of your existing system. Each scenario is covered in detail in the report, showing what SAP are offering, what business challenges they address, the innovation with information on the value added by new technology in SAP HANA and SAP Fiori, and some potential business drivers to consider. There is a sample report to get an idea of what to expect.
I’ve found the report doesn’t provide a business case on a plate, but it is a fantastic framework to start to build one. Functional specialists can facilitate workshops with business departments to understand their pain points and where S/4HANA could help. The report is focussed on business value so it has the right language and detail for a business audience, and the outcome of the workshops are solid items for a business case.
SAP Innovation and Optimization Pathfinder
Whilst the Business Scenario Recommendations tool is focused entirely on SAP S/4HANA, SAP also offer SAP Innovation and Optimization Pathfinder for SAP ERP and SAP Innovation and Optimization Pathfinder for Lines of Business reports that cover all of SAP’s innovation up to an including SAP S/4HANA.
Why wouldn’t you focus on S/4HANA?
We’ve found some customers aren’t making the leap right now but they know S/4HANA is the long term strategy, so any project they do is leading to S/4HANA. Bringing in some Fiori applications, or a SAP HANA database, all serve as stepping stones to make the eventual SAP S/4HANA project more manageable. And best of all, the smaller projects can deliver value right now, often using software improvements that are available as a result of SAP maintenance payments.
The SAP Innovation and Optimization Pathfinder may uncover benefits in stepping-stone projects as well as contributing items to the SAP S/4HANA business case. It turns up smaller projects that could prove the concept of SAP Fiori or SAP HANA in a business before the bigger investment in S/4HANA is made.
Requesting the Pathfinder report is slightly more onerous than the BSR, although it begins with the same extract of transaction usage from transaction ST03. Additional information from SAP EarlyWatch alert is also required as described in the instructions.
SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check
The SAP Readiness Check for SAP S/4HANA is helpful to understand the cost side of the business case. It offers a cloud based dashboard showing relevant information that could affect SAP S/4HANA conversion of your existing system. The setup is likely to take less than a day but it can be much longer if the prerequisites are not met.
The dashboard shows business functions and add-ons that are installed, including their compatibility with SAP S/4HANA so that a suitable plan can be made for them. It shows BW extractors that may have problems in SAP S/4HANA, and custom code that will need attention. Simplification List items that could require manual steps in the conversion process are also highlighted.
The SAP Readiness Check gives a wealth of useful information to understand the scope and likely challenges of the SAP S/4HANA conversion project. The dashboard is usable and ensures nothing is forgotten, but the information is all available from individual tools which have often been looked at already in my experience so it’s important to check what new information you will get from the detailed guide before taking the time to set it up.
How do these reports turn into a business case?
No automated report or free service will produce the completed business case, but the tools described help to focus on the relevant information that could be included, and help SAP teams to convey those benefits to their business users to understand the potential impact on that specific organisation.
Many different benefits and smaller pain points raised by the tools can be combined to create one compelling case for conversion. Typical S/4HANA business cases are made up of a number of smaller benefits rather than a single killer item.
Detail and buy-in from business departments based on the relevant detail is important. Using the reports to form the agenda for well facilitated workshops helps to understand what SAP S/4HANA can do and what the business needs, and the output creates the business case.