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Perhaps one of the most frequent questions I hear from customers is “How do I build a business case?” when planning to migrate to SAP S/4HANA.

In my previous value blog posts, I have explained how customers can potentially increase their business value with SAP Innovation Technologies (Increase Business Value with SAP Innovation Technologies) and I have elaborated on how customers can utilize the SAP Benchmarking Survey to help them get started with their value journey by providing insights to how their business compares in relation to best-in-class industry peers (Achieve Business Value with SAP S/4HANA…and Rise with SAP). However, in this blog post, I would like to highlight another self-service tool that can help customers build a business case for their migration from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA.


Customers of all sizes are keen to find the answer to the one common question asked by their key stakeholders: “Why?”.

They can be asked this “Why?” in the form of: “Why should we spend the time and resources?”, “Why should we migrate to SAP S/4HANA?”, “What value will it add to our organization?”, “Why now?”, etc. Key stakeholders from the Business side and IT side, alike, are on a search to discover and understand the “Why?”, and often their quest ends up taking the form of a business case.

Like any quest or journey, though, customers have a challenging time figuring out where to start. It can be hard for someone to understand in which direction they should go, or where to start, if they do not understand where they currently stand. To help customers overcome this “Where to start?” challenge, SAP offers a free of charge report as part of the RISE with SAP program called the Process Discovery report (formerly also known as Business Scenario Recommendations, SAP Pathfinder, or Spotlight).

This Process Discovery report is an extensive report that can help customers build a business case for migrating to SAP S/4HANA by providing answers to some of the key questions that are asked when building a business case.

In the sections below, I will highlight some of the key questions customers ask when building out their business case for migrating to SAP S/4HANA:

  1. What is the current state of my business processes?

  2. Which of my business processes do I need to focus on and how do we compare to the peers in our industry?

  3. What are the business processes I need in SAP S/4HANA to cover the business’ current needs?

  4. What additional SAP S/4HANA business scenarios might we want to adopt?

And discuss the 4 sections of the Process Discovery report that help address and answer these questions.

Note: We provide links to instructions covering the request of a Process Discovery report, and the interactive Sample Process Discovery report that was used, at the end of this blog post.


  • What is the current state of my business processes? (Executive Summary)

As I mentioned above, it can be hard for customers to know where to start, and, often, an easy and first place to start looking is at themselves.

Customers may have an idea of how their business processes should look, but it might have been a while since they have done a comprehensive review on how things are going across all their lines of business (LOB) or they might not have ever done this type of review before. Having a holistic view, or bird’s eye view, of the business and how it is running can provide customers insights to the path for improvements.

Within the Process Discovery report, there is an Executive Summary section, see Figure 1 below, that provides customers with a glimpse into all the lines of business and business goals that are most heavily used by the customer and how many customer-specific recommendations for each LOB the report provides, which can be drilled into.

Figure 1: Screenshot of the Executive Summary of the Process Discovery report with the relevant lines of business, including a link to the customer-specific recommendations per line of business

By providing a high-level summary of all the LOBs the customer uses, based on their transactional data, and showing the number of customer-specific recommendations for each LOB, the customer can get a glimpse into all the areas that could benefit from a migration to SAP S/4HANA. Understanding the breadth of impact of migrating to SAP S/4HANA can help customers determine the scope of impact when creating a business case. In addition, it can provide insight into which LOBs within a company could benefit the most when migrating to SAP S/4HANA. Thus, providing a good starting point to getting key stakeholders from each LOB aligned on the “Why?”.


  • Which of my business processes do I need to focus on and how do we compare to the peers in our industry? (Findings)

Capturing the attention of the key stakeholders from each LOB is not enough to build a business case, though. To give the business case more weight, you need to provide the key stakeholders from each LOB with the understanding of how each of their LOBs will benefit from a migration to SAP S/4HANA.

The Process Discovery report allows for an interactive drill down into each LOB, in this blog post I will use Finance as an example, so that the customer can start to understand which of the business processes would benefit the most, and drive more value, from a migration to SAP S/4HANA. In Figure 2, below, you will note that each LOB has an overview page for each of the key value drivers per LOB and the key KPIs that help drive that specific value within each LOB.

Figure 2: Screenshot of initial overview page for the business goal ‘Reduce Finance Costs & Closing Time’ under the Findings tab for the LOB, Finance in this example

As you can see, above, the outlined recommendations are comprehensive and even include a color-coding of the key KPIs within the LOB, in this case Finance, that need to be prioritized based on the potential impact that they can have on the business. For example, in Figure 2, above, you can see two business goals marked in red that require immediate attention. This indication means that further analysis might be needed by the customer to determine if something in their current business process is not following the business process governance, if there is a discrepancy in the data, or if they need to find ways to further improve that KPI to be in line with industry peers.

Having this color-coded overview page, with some additional key information, for each value driver that supports an LOB can help provide customers with a focused path forward to areas in the business that need further improvement.

Details of the Findings

However, the color-coded overview only provides a quick snapshot of areas you should focus on. To understand why the various KPIs for a value driver are highlighted, you can simply click on each KPI to drill down. For this example, from Figure 2 above, the Overdue & open finance AP items KPI was chosen, see Figure 3 below, to show how the Process Discovery report dives deeper into helping the customer understand the business scenarios they should focus on.

Figure 3: Screenshot of the details page related to the findings about “overdue & open finance AP items” under the “Findings” tab for each LOB, Finance in this example

These details, in Figure 3 above, provide customers with the following critical information for their company’s business:

  1. How does your company compare to companies in the same Industry Segment based on benchmarking information? Where do you need to get to have acceptable results in this category?

  2. What has been measured in this report?

  3. Which company codes are part of the analysis and might require additional research?

  4. Possible root causes for the presented findings

  5. Possiblebusinessimpactimplications

Overall, this view helps customers identify possible root causes and their implications on the business, which, in turn, will help customers pinpoint the underlying issue(s) and how this affects the overall value drivers for each LOB.

Understanding the value, a certain business scenario will bring to the company, can help build out the company’s business case and help address the “Why?” when presenting the business case to the company’s key stakeholders. In addition, it can help later during the actual implementation when enabling key users by providing them with an answer to questions like “How will this improve my job and current tasks?” and “Why are we implementing this?”, thereby providing a step-by-step guide for a value-based configuration.


  • What are the business processes I need in SAP S/4HANA to cover the business’ current needs? (Customer-Specific Recommendations)

One key element of answering the “Why?” in any business case, is the ability to explain how the future solution will not only further improve the business but meet the business’ current needs. After determining which areas of your current business’ processes might need further investigation and follow-up, based on your ranking against industry peers, you may start to think about what foundation you need to build to enhance your future solution.

How do you know what the minimum business processes are, which you will need to cover today’s business needs, though? The Process Discovery report uses the transactional data from your current system to generate the findings and recommendations for the report. Therefore, SAP can help customers provide insight as to which SAP S/4HANA business processes they need to have based on the current usage of their transactions.

You can find these tailored recommendations for your business for each LOB under the “Recommendations” tab of the report, see Figure 4 below.

Figure 4: Screenshot of the Customer-Specific SAP S/4HANA Business Scenario Recommended for each LOB, Finance in this example.

As you can see in Figure 4, above, the “Customer-Specific Recommendations” section ranks the business scenarios available in SAP S/4HANA for each LOB from highly recommended to least recommended based on the customer’s usage intensity, which is mapped to the number of the customer’s transactions ran by their current system that is related to that business scenario.

With these data-driven and transaction-backed recommendations for each LOB, you can start to build a solid foundation for the new solution that helps answer to the “Why?” for the business case by ensuring the business’ needs today are covered by the solution of the future.


4.) What additional SAP S/4HANA business scenarios might we want to adopt?  (Additional Business Scenarios)

As I just stated, ensuring the new solution at minimum meets the business’ current needs is necessary. However, it is simply not enough when pitching a business case to key stakeholders to talk about how the new solution will only meet today’s business needs. Why would you invest in a move to a new solution if only to preserve the status quo of the business? Again, it goes back to the “Why?”.

The answer to that question, you would move to a new solution not only for the way it meets the needs of the business today, but for the additional value, or room to grow, it offers. Being able to understand that additional value, or potential value, SAP S/4HANA can bring can often be a challenge for customers when building a business case, despite that the future value that will be generated can be the biggest selling point of a business case.

To help aid those customers struggling on how to determine the future value, the Process Discovery report has an “Additional Business Scenarios” section, see Figure 5 below, for each LOB.

Figure 5: Screenshot of the “Additional Business Scenarios” for SAP S/4HANA the customer might want to consider for each LOB, Finance in this example.

Within this “Additional Business Scenarios” section, customers receive an overview of all the additional SAP S/4HANA Business scenarios the customer can benefit from and might want to take a deeper look into.

In addition, each SAP S/4HANA business scenario listed when clicked, will take you to a detailed page on the business scenario, see Figure 6 below, with a description of the business scenario, the value drivers the business scenario supports, related Fiori apps (if applicable), and What’s New in SAP S/4HANA, to just name a few details.

Figure 6: Screenshot of the details page for the Collections Management SAP S/4HANA business scenario when the Collection Management link is clicked from the “Additional Business Scenarios” section.

With the list of additional business scenarios and the details of each additional business scenario, the customer can start to take a deep dive into each business scenario to determine how some of the additional SAP S/4HANA business scenarios will help drive additional value to their existing business processes and support the “Why?” for their business case.


Summary and Vision for the Process Discovery Report

In summary, the Process Discovery report helps customers build out a business case for migrating to SAP S/4HANA by allowing customers to analyze their internal process complexities and by providing recommendations on how to make improvements to various end-to-end business processes. In addition, the report can highlight some of the automation capabilities that come out of the box with SAP S/4HANA for each business process scenario and that will provide companies with significant opportunities to gain efficiencies, leading to immense cost savings for their business, and set themselves up for more growth potential.

Going forward, SAP has a vision for this report to evolve from being a static report that only shows the customer a status of their business processes at a certain point in time, to a tool that allows them to analyze their end-to-end business processes on an ongoing basis. In a recent interview with ASUG, I alluded to this vision by talking about how the Business Process Intelligence offering, that is part of the RISE with SAP program, will allow SAP to accompany their customers from the analysis to the consumption of SAP S/4HANA. In turn, allowing SAP to better serve customers by having insight into the business scenarios that are most relevant to the customer and, thereby, providing input into the roadmap for future product releases. Resulting, in a win-win situation for both our customers and SAP as we journey into the future.

For more information on the Process Discovery report see these links below:

Business Transformation as a Service (Rise with SAP, including Process Discovery Report) Overview Page: https://msmproda7afccce3.hana.ondemand.com/Request/BSN/

To Request your own Process Discovery report: https://d.dam.sap.com/a/AREDtXr/Process_Discovery_How_To-V36.pdf

Process Discovery Sample Report: https://d.dam.sap.com/a/4ERKXaB/Process%20Discovery_Summary_Sample_Inc_PRD_32324_20210125_V7.pdf



Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast

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openSAP microlearnings for SAP S/4HANA

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For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links: 

  • The power of best-in-class and Next Practices business content for a modern ERP Blog Post

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud: The Intelligent ERP Link Collection Blog Post

  • Latest SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release Blogs here

  • SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Content here

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud release info: http://www.sap.com/s4-cloudrelease

  • SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here

  • Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast here

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community here

  • SAP Activate Community here 

  • Best practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud here

  • Help Portal ProductPage here


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