Like it or not, if you want to stay with SAP, sooner or later you are going to have to make the jump to S/4 HANA. You have till 2025, but that is sooner than you might think, so the time to start planning is right now, probably earlier.
In the picture above you can see the core S/4 HANA development team at SAP, and they have a theme song, which goes as follows (to the tune of “The Banana Splits”):-
Tra la la, la la la la, tra la la, la la la la,
S/4 HANA helps a bunch, with your digital core.
And the guys to thank for your lightning fast reports,
Are Bingo, Fleegle, Drooper and Snork!
I Don’t Want to Talk About it
Actually yes I do, and I am going to be doing just that, first as the Australian SAP User Group conference in Sydney, and then at SAP TechEd Las Vegas 2017.
You have probably heard of the “Elephant in the Room” which everyone can see but ignores.
Well, my position is that S/4 HANA is the thousand ton mega-elephant under your bed, some people ignore it, some people are vaguely aware of it, and most people cannot even see it at all, even if its presence is squashing your nose against the ceiling.
SAP repeatedly states this is not an upgrade like going from 4.6C to ECC 6.0, but rather a “system conversion” which sounds better than “total re-implementation” but more or less means the same thing.
There are more aspects to such a “conversion” to consider than there are atoms in an average sized elephant, but I am going to be focussing in on what you need to do regarding your custom code.
The SAP TechEd team have asked all of us “community” speakers to use a blog to answer a standard set of questions about our forthcoming presentations, so here goes.
Q: What is your position and where do you work?
I am senior ABAP Developer at Hanson Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of German multinational company Heidelberg Cement.
Q: What is the secret code and title of your session and when is it?
S4H306: Real-World Example of Preparing ABAP Code for SAP S/4HANA.
I do not think the exact timing is out yet, it will be published in late August when the “agenda builder” comes out, according to the TechEd web site.
Q: How technical is your session?
As technical as technical can be! To put it another way you have to know a fair bit about ABAP to fully appreciate it. At an event in Australia I had some people walk out when they realised I was going to keep giving code examples, which is fair enough, it is not the sort of a thing a manager need concern themselves with.
Q: What do you hope attendees will take away from your session?
If they come armed with screwdrivers, they can dismantle various items in the lecture theatre and can take away the chairs, light fittings, stage etc.…
Everyone who attends also gets a sack containing one billion dollars in gold bullion.
Q: What do you REALLY hope attendees will take away from your session?
What I am hoping to get across to people is the awareness that (a) moving to S/4 HANA takes a bit more thinking about than previous upgrades and (b) you can start preparing your custom code right now, even if you do not intend to move until the last possible moment, in eight years’ time, or indeed afterwards.
The point of having people like me (who work for organisations that are SAP Customers) give speeches is that we are not trying to sell you anything, rather just sharing real world experiences, that hopefully other companies might find useful when they embark on the same journey.
Q: How long is a piece of string?
Twice as long as half a piece of string.
Q: What is the meaning of life?
Everyone who is speaking at SAP TechEd gets asked this, as might be expected. I would say that in essence you have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk way, know when to run. You mustn’t count your money, when you’re at the table; there’ll be time enough for counting, when the day is done.
I am a Mole, and I live in a Hole
I was not able to make TechEd Las Vegas in 2016, but my understanding is that at that event all the presentations were held in a bomb shelter one mile below the actual Venetian hotel where the conference was being held.
That would have be an ideal situation had a meteorite hit, but it did not as it turns out, so some people were upset. Not upset that a giant meteorite had failed to hit Las Vegas, but rather that the lectures were held below ground level.
Now, it would be easy for SAP to react in a knee-jerk fashion to this, and to try and restore the balance by this time having all the speaker events on clouds thousands of feet in the air above the hotel, accessible only by delegates climbing beanstalks.
Incredible as it seems, I think people might react negatively to that as well, so my fond hope is that this time the TechEd sessions are in the same sort of area of the conference centre as they were two years ago. One can only hope for the best.
In 1970 computer expert Edwin Starr sang “S/4, huh, good god, what is it good for, absolutely nothing, listen to me…”
That was a bit harsh, I truly believe that SAP has made some transformational improvements in this new product – if they can replicate the step change in the finance area in the other areas like order to cash and purchase to pay, then the big gamble they are taking will definitely pay off.
Your custom code is most likely going to need a tweak here or there, to put it mildly, so that is what I intend to talk about….