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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

Hello newcomers to SAP!

Technology is transforming how we work and live, and at the very heart of this transformation is the cloud. Have you ever wondered what the "cloud" is when you save your pictures or files online? Have you heard of terms like ERP and SAP S/4HANA and wondered what they meant? Let's demystify these tech terms!

What is ERP?

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is like the digital backbone of a company. Imagine a company as a human body and the ERP as the nervous system. Just as the nervous system connects and communicates between all parts of the body, an ERP system connects different departments in a company - like sales, finance, human resources - and helps them 'talk' to each other. ERP ensures there's no mix-up in communication and that the company runs smoothly. Let’s try an example:

Imagine you run a large-scale bakery, "Bread Heaven." You have several departments in your bakery, such as buying ingredients, the actual baking process, packaging, sales, deliveries, and finance. Without an efficient way to manage all these components, running your bakery could become a recipe for chaos.

Let's say a customer places a massive order for 500 loaves of your heavenly bread to be delivered next week. Here is how an ERP system like SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud would help you manage this:

  • Sales Department: They log the customer order into the ERP system. This information instantly becomes accessible to the relevant departments.
  • Procurement and Inventory: The system automatically checks if you have enough flour, yeast, and other ingredients to fulfill this order. If not, it alerts your procurement team, who then places an order with your suppliers.
  • Production Department: They get notified about the order and schedule when they will bake the 500 loaves so they are fresh for delivery.
  • Delivery Department: They schedule a delivery slot for next week. Finally, the loaves are produced and delivered to the customer.
  • Finance Department: Finally, the system generates an invoice that the finance department can send to the customer.

So, you see, with the ERP system, all departments work together in harmony, just like an orchestra. This coordination ensures you fulfill the large order without a hitch, your customer stays happy, and consequently, business grows faster without you having to micromanage and coordinate all the above processes by yourself.

Introducing SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud:

SAP is a global leader in ERP system, and our most modern system is called SAP S/4HANA.

Traditionally, ERP systems were "on-premise" or "on-site" – similar to having a physical library in a school, where you go to borrow books that are owned by the school and return them when you're done. But just like how we now use online libraries to read eBooks from any device, ERP systems also moved from being on-premise to being on a cloud operated and owned by a third party. This change is what the "Cloud" in SAP S/4HANA signifies.

So, what does 'public cloud' mean?

Let's go back to the eBook analogy. A public library allows anyone to borrow books, right? Similarly, a 'public cloud' is a service where storage and servers are provided over the internet, and resources are shared among multiple companies. It's like an online library for your software, open to the public (which in this case refers to businesses and not individual users).

Why is this a big deal?

Businesses are finding that moving ERP systems to the cloud brings in a ton of benefits. It's cost-effective (no need to maintain expensive servers), it's scalable (easy to grow as the company grows), and it's accessible from anywhere (hello, working from home)!

Here are some specific examples:

  • With a cloud-based ERP, A business will no longer need to worry about security, updating their system or ensuring performance remains consistent – all of that is the responsibility of the cloud provider. That means they can spend more time focusing on their business instead of IT projects.
  • If the business wants to expand, they simply contact the cloud provider and tell them they need more capacity/resources – no need to buy servers and have them installed and configured in their basement.
  • If the physical business or offices are damaged or destroyed in a natural or human-made disaster, all data, records, finances and processes will remain safe and retrievable in the cloud.

What's the role of a Cloud Implementation Consultant?

As more businesses migrate to the cloud, they need tech experts who specialize in making this transition smooth - enter cloud implementation consultants! Just like a librarian guides you to find the best books, these consultants guide businesses on the journey to the cloud. They plan, design, and install the new cloud-based two systems and ensure it works well for the company. They're technically skilled and generally have a great understanding of business processes.

Let's dive into a real-world example that illustrates how a Cloud Implementation Consultant could help a business transition to the cloud.

Imagine a medium-sized furniture manufacturing company, "Cozy Creations." They make all sorts of furniture, from comfy couches to sturdy bookshelves. They've been using an on-premise ERP system, which sits on a server in their office, to manage their operations but have decided it's time to leap into the future and shift their ERP system to the cloud.

Meet Maria, a Cloud Implementation Consultant, who specializes in implementing cloud-based ERP systems like SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud.

  • Understanding the Business: Maria starts by thoroughly understanding Cozy Creations' business processes and what they want to achieve with the new system.
  • Crafting the Plan: Next, she and her team come up with a detailed plan on how to seamlessly move their ERP system to the cloud. This includes deciding which business processes will be moved first, training staff, preparing for potential challenges, and setting a timeline for the project. (Note: “Moving a business process to the cloud” means: Comparing the currently used business process with the standard business processes that are available through the cloud solution. Analyze the differences and find ways how to align/resolve them.)
  • Transitioning to the Cloud: Maria works with her implementation team to begin carrying out the plan and moving Cozy Creations' processes to SAP S/4HANA Cloud. This can take months depending on the complexity of the processes being run by Cozy Creations, but with open communication, flexibility and collaboration, Maria and her team make it happen.
  • Training and Testing: While implementing the new system, Maria and her team sets up a training session with the Cozy Creations' staff to familiarize them with the SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud system. She also sets up a test environment to make sure everything works correctly before going live.
  • Post-migration checks: After training and successful implementation, she works closely with the customer to ensure all processes are functioning as expected and that each part of the organization understand how to use the new cloud system most efficiently.

Why should you consider being a Cloud Implementation Consultant?

As more companies shift to cloud-based systems like SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud, the demand for Cloud Implementation Consultants is increasing. Learning to be one could open a lot of exciting opportunities for you in the tech world. It's a role that is technically challenging, creatively satisfying and is at the forefront of the digital revolution.

So, whether you're a tech enthusiast or a curious learner, understanding more about ERPs, SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud, and the role of a Cloud Implementation Consultant could be your launchpad into a fulfilling and lucrative career in the tech sector.

If you are interested, continue reading: How and where do you start a consulting career in SAP?

All the best, Doris Lindauer and David Chaviano