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This month at SAPPHIRE NOW the overall mantra was “simplify everything so that you can do everything”. Customers really seemed to appreciate this message. It made many of them ask themselves: What does this mean for a typical chemical company, and how can I make my life simpler leveraging SAP’s latest solutions and technology innovations?

We’d like to offer some perspectives on how chemical companies can begin to think about simplifying, and highlight some tools and services to help you get started.

1. Simplify the way I run my business software

Many chemical companies, in particular those operating on a global basis, have grown through acquisitions and have built up a highly complex and heterogeneous business process and IT landscape over the years. Such landscapes don’t provide the flexibility and agility required to excel in today’s global markets, and they are excessively expensive to maintain.  To find balance, many companies have started to harmonize and consolidate their landscapes showing an overall trend towards single global instances. Deviations from this approach seem to be pursued only where business units or regions require differentiating processes or IT solutions.

Additionally, by moving to Suite on HANA, further landscape simplification is realized as Suite on HANA brings both the analytical and transactional data together in-memory.  This means that cubes, aggregations and other middleware can be reduced or even eliminated altogether; new real-time analytics can be delivered; and completely new business process can be supported.

2. Simplify the way I experience my business software

On average, about 80% of employees in a chemical company can be considered “casual users” of SAP solutions. Such employees prefer simple and highly intuitive user interfaces allowing them to rapidly access role-based dashboards, easily running or configuring analytical queries and “what-if simulations”, and conducting business transactions on the fly.   Providing such an enhanced user experience strongly increases employee empowerment, efficiency and adoption, and with SAP FIORI (now free!), chemical companies can do just that.

3. Simplify the way I consume my business software

For business processes where chemical companies can move to a global shared services model – such as HR, procurement, and sales processes for example – we see an increasing trend toward running such processes in a lean and agile public cloud.  Unlike certain best-of-breed cloud solutions however, public cloud solutions from SAP simplify adoption since they already come integrated with the SAP back-end, substantially reducing integration cost, maintenance and overall TCO.

Even for those mission-critical business processes which would historically have been run on premise, many companies are beginning to turn toward managed cloud alternatives in order to simplify these core operations, while maintaining ultimate control over data, processes and intellectual property.

How do I get started?

Having attended SAPPHIRE NOW, many customers are at the same time excited and overwhelmed by all of the innovation and opportunity they’ve learned about.  Questions like: “What does a best-run chemical company running SAP now look like?”, “How do I manage a move to the cloud?” and “How do I even get started?” are common.

In order to help customers defining their own roadmap and path to success, SAP has developed several tools and services to help customers navigate their way including:

  • Best Run Chemical Company Workshops
  • Design Thinking Workshops
  • System landscape optimization software and services
  • Cloud Transformation Services

Please share with us your experience or challenges on your journey toward “simplifying IT” and transforming your business, and let us know if you’d like to learn more about any of the offerings above.

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