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If you hold an IT role in your organization or attend technology conferences, then you may have heard about SAP’s new flagship offering, SAP S/4HANA. But what exactly is it? This blog will, in layman’s terms, explain what S/4HANA does and why it should be on your IT wish list for 2017.

Named in traditional SAP fashion, S/4HANA, is the company’s reengineered ERP offering natively built to leverage the in-memory capabilities of SAP HANA. Since its release in February 2015, S/4HANA has become SAP’s fastest selling product since R/3.

A Simpler Data Model

The reason for this growth is that SAP S/4HANA was designed with a simpler data model in mind, enabling new business capabilities that previously weren’t possible. Thanks to SAP HANA’s columnar data structure, multiple data tables holding duplicate or non-mission critical information are removed completely – shrinking your database size by a factor of 12. In plain English, this means a smaller overall data footprint and a lower TCO bill for your organization. Watch this 2-minute video to learn what the SAP HANA database can do for your organization.

An Improved User Experience

An early criticism of ECC was that the user experience wasn’t as visually appealing compared to that of other cloud-based solutions and was widely perceived – for lack of a better word – as “not sexy”. Moreover, for a user exposed to SAP for the first time, even the simplest processes required a mastery of SAP jargon which involved a steep learning curve to decipher.

Enter SAP Fiori 2.0, the new sophisticated user experience with role-based guidance that can be personalized to an individual’s job functions. Translation – an easy to navigate and intelligent UX that provides notifications telling you what you need to do. No more refreshing and searching for updates – Fiori has got it covered.

Complete Integration

By encompassing core processes into a digital core, different business areas such as FI/CO and Logistics, leverage and make decisions based on the same data table. This drastically lowers data manipulation errors and results in the same information for decision making being used enterprise wide. The best part? The information is updated in real-time.

With S/4HANA, for example, a supply chain manager can manually course-correct inventory levels to cater to a sudden surge in demand, or a production line manager can pin-point and remove defected products from his/her assembly line as the defected products are manufactured.

By integrating across business functions, from finance, to procurement, all the way upstream to R&D – SAP S/4HANA offers improved flexibility, agility, and the ability to make more insightful decisions across your entire value chain.

Moreover, it seamlessly connects to existing SAP line-of-business solutions such as Ariba, SuccessFactors, Hybris, Fieldglass and Concur. Like how water in a river flows to sustain its tributaries, as information enters the S/4HANA digital core, the same information would flow and power the SAP line-of-business solutions. For a real-world example, click here to watch the Delivering on the Promise video.

New Technologies

Today people throw around buzz words like IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence as if they are the long-lost puzzle pieces to unlocking tucked away business value. And they can be – if properly integrated into existing business networks. These cutting-edge technologies are only in their infancy, are fickle, and will undeniably add complexity to your existing business environment.

Being on the cusp of such a technology revolution got the ball rolling in some respects. Either directly or indirectly, it sparked a need for organizations to go back to standard. You might ask why? And the answer is, “less complexity”.

Less complexity makes for less costly third party integrations and system conversions. It means lower consulting fees, wider project scopes and most importantly, quicker implementations. Watch this 2-minute video to learn more about how S/4HANA unwinds organizational complexity.

Why Now?

Business value doesn’t appear out of thin air. You need new business capabilities and an inspired workforce to create it. What S/4HANA offers is a simpler underlying data model and streamlined user experience that will free your workforce from day-to-day non-value creating tasks. With available resources and access to a wealth of information, employees can focus on new ways to innovate – from developing new apps, to segmenting why certain products sell more than others, to finding ways to improve the overall customer experience. Business value trickles down to the end-consumer from your employees, and in this role, S/4HANA serves as the catalyst that enables them to explore these newly developed capabilities. Click this link for an example of how S/4HANA can help create business value.

Interested in learning more about SAP S/4HANA? Check out our website or our S/4HANA In 2 Minutes YouTube playlist.
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