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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
Summer Bliss

Summer bliss – while I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer, our development teams have been working diligently to bring you a new release of S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition for Higher Education & Research. The 2308 (August 2023) release is filled with more innovations, enhancements, and exciting features, and we are thrilled to unveil them for you.

Cloud ERP: Part of an Alphabet of Opportunity!

'ERP is part of an Alphabet of Opportunity', a phrase used by EDUCAUSE. It's a great way to highlight the value that Cloud ERP can bring to institutions of Higher Education & Research. Cloud ERP can improve decision-making, facilitate a data-driven campus, and standardize processes across the institution. Sounds pretty appealing, doesn't it?

With SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition at the heart of the digital getaway, we can equip your institution – no matter its size – with software as a service designed to continuously embrace innovation in line with the swift pace of change. With incredible progress made in the past year, artificial intelligence has become an integral part of our reality, and it will continue to flourish as a vital component of technology, education, and businesses. Numerous processes are becoming intelligent, and substantial investments are being made to ensure these processes glide seamlessly.

The Joys of AI and Automation in ERP

In previous years' blog posts, my Product Success colleagues already explored the significance of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Nowadays technologies are reshaping the way businesses operate, and they are equally essential for institutions of Higher Education & Research that aim to lead and grow.

The SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition 2308 release introduces a variety of new features that make it even simpler for institutions to embrace AI and automation. Here are some examples:

  • The capability to automate business processes using machine learning.

  • The capability to forecast business events.

  • The capability to derive new insights from data.

  • The capability to reduce costs by automating tasks that were once manual.

Overall the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition 2308 release marks a significant stride in the evolution of ERP for Higher Education & Research institutions. It equips institutions with the tools needed to manage their grants, budgets, finance, procurement, and assets.

Besides that think about innovations to enhance collaboration, and the embracement of AI and automation, fostering enhanced efficiency and competitiveness.

To learn more about how AI and automation can enrich your institution, please take a look at the following AI-dedicated webpage: SAP Business AI, and take a look at a short AI demo presented on SAPPHIRE 2023:


Enhanced Grants & Budget Management for 2308

Discover optimized Grants & Budget Management capabilities in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition 2308 for the U.S. This edition offers a comprehensive overview of enhancements in Grant and Budget Management / Fund Accounting, tailored for U.S. Higher Education & Research institutions.

Benefit from integrated Budget Management / Fund Accounting that ensures seamless budget-related financial and commitment postings. Equipped with functionality to automatically validate available budgets and provide real-time status updates.

Moreover, the US 'PSM scope' of S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition 2308 also contains Grantee Management functionality. This empowers Higher Education & Research institutions that receive grants to efficiently manage external financing within the realm of sponsored programs.

Experience transparent Grants Management, facilitating control and distribution of sponsored funds from sponsors. Manage the usage of sponsored funds, encompassing planning, budgeting, and invoicing, while staying compliant with sponsor regulations and enhancing reporting accuracy.

As we delve into the 2308 release highlights for Grants and Budget Management, let's begin by sharing the latest innovations in the areas of collaboration, user experience, and Lines of Business (finance as a prime example) with the 2308 release.

SAP Collaboration Manager: A More User-Friendly Collaboration Experience

In the last release, we introduced SAP Collaboration Manager, a cloud-based collaboration feature that replaced the human-to-human chat function of the former SAP CoPilot in the three-system landscape. Now, we're making it even easier to collaborate with your co-workers.

With the latest enhancements, you can:

  • Link your chat to any screen in your apps for reference

  • Take screenshots without the need to close SAP Collaboration Manager, annotate, and highlight them

  • Receive chat notifications on the SAP Fiori launchpad as soon as your co-workers invite you

  • Add objects based on your activity or from a catalog of objects

  • Create new objects using either a pre-existing form or choosing from a list of existing objects

These enhancements make it easier than ever to collaborate with your co-workers, regardless of their location or device. To learn more about SAP Collaboration Manager read this blog.

Switch to Spaces and Pages for a Better User Experience

We're committed to providing a seamless and straightforward user experience. That's why we encourage you to switch from groups to spaces and pages on the SAP Fiori Launchpad.

Spaces and pages are a more intuitive and organized way to structure your apps. They're also the prerequisite for My Home, the new standard entry page into your S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition system.

In this release, we've added new enhancements to spaces and pages, including:

  • Color-coding to indicate the system type

  • Personalization of the navigation bar

  • The display of custom news

  • The ability to group your favorite apps via drag and drop

Spaces and pages are already the default for new customers. So, existing customers, this is your chance to switch before the planned deprecation of groups in the next release!

Learn more on UX enhancement via the following video:


Highlights of Finance enhancements for the 2308 release

To ensure precise, comprehensive, and compliant financial outcomes, accountants validate account balances across various financial positions. This involves confirming balances against dimensions like cost objects, profit centers, and segments both before and after closing.

To streamline this, we've introduced automated supervision of closing tasks using the 'Manage Balance Validation Rules and Groups' and 'View Balance Validation Results' SAP Fiori apps. This enhances entity closing process oversight, minimizes manual labor, and expedites closures, ultimately elevating the quality of financial statements.

More enhancements for the 2308 release are listed below:

  • Accounting: Manage Journal Entries – New Version with amazing usability enhancements

  • Entity Close:

    • Automated Supervision of Closing Tasks with Account Balance Validation

    • Blackline Integration

  • Asset Accounting:

    • Ability to configure an additional depreciation area for assets and assets under construction

    • ‘Create Supplier Invoice – Advanced’ (MIRO) App for Integrated Asset Acquisition Postings

    • SAP Fiori app for asset accounting – post-asset retirement

  • Workflow: Approval Workflows for Supplier Down Payment Requests

  • Cash Management: Managing Memo Records with Upload Capability

  • Bank Statement Processing: Intraday Bank Statement Processing

  • Payment Factory: Enhancements in In-House Banking for Advanced Payment Management

  • Group Reporting:

    • Relating questions and answers to numbers shown in a form and Extraction of data from forms to spreadsheets

    • Customer-coded Exchange Rate Determination in Currency Translation and Enhancements for the Task API

Learn more from my colleague Ulrich Hauke in his blog and below video:


Highlights of the 2308 enhancements for Grants & Budget Management

Along with the 2308 release we as well delivered a set of enhancements for the S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition, US PSM scope bundle, built and made available for the US (Higher) Education & Research market.

Via the SAP Process Explorer (formerly known as Best Practices Explorer), you can scroll through scope items made available for the ‘Public Sector Management Scope Bundle’, which also applies to the Higher Education & Research industry.

Below is a short summary of the enhancements delivered:

  • Ability to monitor the revenues increasing the budget process (RIB)

  • Option to maintain industry-relevant cost objects through the Manage Workforce App

  • New approval workflow for budget maintenance documents (grants and budgets)

  • Revenue-increasing budget capabilities for grants

  • Ability to set a pre-award status on a grant

  • Option to maintain a grant user status

  • Integration of earmarked funds for leasing contracts

Some examples highlighted:

Option to maintain a grant user status

We have introduced a freely definable user status in the grant master so that you can better track the individual status of the grant besides the system statuses. Some advantages:

  • Improve the use of the grant lifecycle

  • Adapt grant status to the needs of the institution

New approval workflow for budget maintenance documents (grants and budgets)

We enhanced the budget maintenance process with new (workflow) features:

  • Ability to set up a workflow approval process for the budget maintenance process using conditions and agent determination

  • The approval process for budget maintenance documents using the configured workflow setup

  • Application of the principle of prudence while the budget document is pending approval

Some benefits:

  • Improve efficiency over a paper-based process, as process compliance is managed

  • Guided by the system through the budget document workflow

Ability to set a pre-award status on a grant 

We have been providing an extra status to maintain the grant lifecycle with a 'pre-award' system status. Some benefits:

  • Use grants in the pre-award status in budget-consuming transactions

  • Enabling the execution of a grant before receipt of the formal award letter

More info on the Grant and Budget management functionalities can be found via the Product Documentation and Help webpage: SAP.Help.com 

For more information on what is coming into the next release for S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition, ‘US PSM scope’ please scroll through the SAP Roadmap Explorer.

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Explore the community’s “one-stop shop” for resources, tools, content, and expert guidance as you embark on your journey with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition.

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