A successful SAP S/4HANA transformation is achieved through a disciplined focus on strategy and assessment.

The approach must be well-defined and reflect the organization’s industry requirements, including processes and supporting methods. An initial strategic assessment combining SAP technical expertise, process exploration, and industry insight minimizes transformation risks, maximizes the benefits, and promotes speed-to-value.

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Business expert Robert Filek aptly stated that “strategy without process is little more than a wish list.” When viewed through the lens of a successful migration to SAP S/4 HANA, his commentary finds its validation in an initial strategic assessment that can best combine SAP technical expertise, thorough process exploration, and industry insight. The blending and disciplined application of these elements early on can ensure that the organization will minimize the transformation risks, maximize the benefits, and promote speed to value.

In the case of an organization considering an S/4HANA implementation or migration, this strategic method, in the early stage, should further be applied in appropriate measure across the entire transformation landscape. Key focus areas should include implementation, compliance, change management, automation, analytics, global delivery, and a complementary partner ecosystem.

Organizations that adhere to a comprehensive strategy assessment and address the process elements in each pillar of the transformation landscape will find unique opportunities to increase the value of the SAP investment and favorably impact adoption overall.

The main objective of an effective Strategy and Assessment is to prepare and empower your organization for the RISE with SAP S/4HANA platform journey while proactively addressing technical or process concerns that might restrict a fluid implementation or limit scalability for succeeding improvements.

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At its core, the SAP S/4HANA Assessment should address the fundamentals of the Digital Operating Model, Technical, Process, Data, and Analytics strategies. However, the most effective approach is to incorporate industry-specific process and compliance needs like GxP standards, their risks, as well as Change Management and any immediate Process Optimization opportunities which will enhance your journey as you RISE with SAP.

An additional strategic consideration for a thorough assessment should also include Onscreen Training Guides and Virtual Assistant Technology aids. Incorporating user enablement accelerators like these at the outset of your transformation journey is compelling. They offer a process-driven kick start to the engagement and can uncover business improvement opportunities reflective of the new digital environment.

Onscreen Training Guides and Virtual Assistant technology aids are designed and prebuilt with a fit to the SAP standard approach and best practices. As a result, the simple application of these tools offers access by default to a library of knowledge from the current thought leadership in SAP S/4HANA. These accelerators are designed with lean IT teams in mind and enable an agile approach to mapping functional requirements per process area and resources required for each unique business environment.

Incorporating accelerators in the strategy should also be coupled with access to a pre-configured demo system and a full set of SAP capability videos. In our experience, this combination will typically result in a fully enabled internal customer team capable of functionally performing in the actual roadmap. Client projects are then able to gain valuable insight into the full capability of the new system, proactively identify potential gaps, and incorporate process or automation improvements early in the implementation.

Today’s CEOs and their teams are under increasing pressure to maximize value for their enterprise stakeholders and, in parallel, build flexible business models in tune with fluid customer needs. The leading businesses achieving the best results in this environment are redefining their missions towards a comprehensive digital transformation strategy that addresses individual business needs within the broader context of new ecosystems and how the enterprise interacts with them. To capture this vision, it is key that organizations build business cases that map system capabilities with benefits that will meet short-term internal business objectives in alignment with a longer-term external vision.

SAP S/4 HANA is the preferred solution for leading organizations with a digital vision to improve tactical performance and position themselves to benefit from new ecosystems. Leveraging the SAP product for immediate benefit, however, requires efficient migrations that can deliver quantifiable speed to value, particularly for leaner IT teams.

In our experience, transformative success is won principally with a disciplined focus on a strategy and assessment that applies well-defined process elements and is reflective of the organization’s industry requirements. As a famous General once wrote: “every battle is won before it is ever fought.” An honest look back at the successes and the difficulties our teams have experienced reinforces this view. It is the principal reason we focus on a disciplined strategy assessment that includes process and supporting methods.

Our unique focus on a specialized strategy assessment in our client’s RISE with SAP has universal benefit, regardless of industry, and has shown repeated competitive advantage in the digital transformation journey with early identification of process optimization, compliance, reporting, and analytics improvements for our customers. More than a first step it is, it is the tip of the spear for our client’s customized business value transformation, roadmap, and migration strategy.

Tony Barbera

Tony Barbera is Vice President, North America SAP Finance at Microexcel. An experienced Finance professional, he has a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Tony is highly skilled in SAP Implementation, SAP S/4HANA, SAP Finance and Accounting, Finance Transformation, SAP ERP, and Financial Reporting

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