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Transformation Series 3: Business Transformation

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  • Putting Business Goals into Perspective as you Transition to S/4HANA  

    Adopting SAP’s S/4HANA is normally seen as digital transformation. But, for the over 175,000 users who’ve already adopted the platform, S/4HANA’s standardized business processes represent massive business transformation.  

    In the third and final part of our business transformation series, we discuss the impact of business transformation on people and on resources. That expertise comes from our Global Change lead, who offered input based on experience leading change programs inside multi-national organizations.  

    The takeaway? Understand what’s going on in your organization to ensure process changes, role shifts, and technology are a best fit for your organization. These initiatives are no longer driven as IT-only projects, they are part of business transformation. Therefore, aligning senior leadership and organization at an enterprise level is essential to setting your SAP program up for success. 

    The Sooner You Start, the Better 

    The SAP world had gone relatively static until SAP introduced S/4HANA. But, even that introduction didn’t prompt much adoption. Instead, most organizations sat back to wait for the platform to prove itself. Now, uptake is happening and rapidly.  

    That 2027 deadline also puts a sharp note of urgency on the transformation, as it means the availability of people, consultants, and experts to help you make the transition will decline. After all, today’s experts will both already be booked and with reducing demand, fewer new people will get into the field.  

    Of course, starting sooner isn’t just about resource allocation. ECC simply wasn’t built to meet today’s requirements of multi-system integration and IOT. The world has moved on and the sooner your business does as well, the better. Starting pre-deployment (e.g., data cleansing, HR record alignment, etc.) activities as quickly as-is viable for your business is critical to facilitating an accelerated roadmap when you implement S/4HANA.  

    Making the Move Requires Good Scoping  

    If you keep datasets clean, you can integrate almost anything into S/4. However, you can also do a lot to optimize business processes during the move to S/4HANA.  

    For example, when organizations adopted ECC, the trend was for customization and building the software around your sales process. Many organizations spent significant resources on making processes inside ECC fit their exact needs.  

    Now, the trend has reversed. S/4HANA includes standardized processes mapped to industry best practices in the core. If you move to the cloud, you have to adopt those processes, no matter what your implementation approach is. In S/4, in the Activate Methodology, in the Explore phase, you get a series of Fit to Standard workshops to ensure best practices are fit to purpose for your business. This is also where organizational change management is essential to your program’s success, to help you understand the impact of change from a business perspective rather than an IT-only perspective.  

    However, leadership must define long-term goals before participating in these workshops, as business process reengineering may be the correct answer for your project. If a process doesn’t add value in line with the business vision, do you really need it?  

    Getting Your People Right  

    Business transformation is, first and foremost, about people. It is your people who must drive change, adopt it, and learn new processes. Having the right people on board can optimize your adoption of anything. That’s why multinationals bring in new CEOs and often see massive turnaround in company culture and profit. Even Harvard Business says that people are your most valuable asset. Your competitors can react to a marketing campaign in just 30 days, a new product in 60, but if you get the right people, it can take competitors 7 years to catch up.  

    Do you have the internal talent to manage an S/4 adoption? Chances are you don’t. So, you have to figure out a ratio of insourcing, outsourcing, and consultancy to fill those gaps. Does your organization have the creative resourcing solutions to meet project needs? Do you plan on setting up a center of excellence/shared services?  Having a mixed model of internal and external expertise gives you a better return on investment. 

    Getting your resourcing model right starts by looking at internal data, understanding internal competencies, and aligning your goals. Sometimes that means first implementing standardized role titles and aligning data sets so you can look at people in the same way. You’d normally want to use tooling to assess different business scenarios – like moving to a shared services model – so you can see what impacts that scenario will have.  

    Digital Transitions with S/4HANA

    Digital transitions mean big changes for the business, but it’s important to align them with the business vision  and to align your people with process and technology.  It is also critical that your business applies an early strategy, which views the project as a business transformation not (just) an IT transformation. 

    Contact us today to arrange a free workshop, so we can help you on the first step of your journey.  

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