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Business outcomes with SAP Intelligent Processes

SAP S/4HANA delivering business outcomes

As companies look at a move to SAP S/4HANA they want to understand what a move to SAP S/4HANA can deliver through: increased speed of performance, the value of a drive to standard; and the promise of being on the SAP roadmap innovation.

An IT biased articulation of that for a company often leads to a failure to entice the business potential leaving companies in legacy technical debt missing the opportunity to  deliver a landscape replacement without real enterprise innovation and realization of the business potential. When companies focus on a more business outcome-based approach to SAP S/4HANA their investment delivers a higher value ROI .

As a prerequisite to this, decision makers need to better predict and deliver the value potential of their investment to realise targeted business outcomes. However, the question that frequently arises then is: “What does value mean and to whom?”

The value potential of the Intelligent Enterprise

At SAP, we are helping our customers become an “Intelligent Enterprise” by leveraging operational and experience data to improve decision making and realize automation potential. Let’s take SAP’s flagship ERP solution SAP S/4HANA as an example. To enable the Intelligent Enterprise capabilities, SAP embeds intelligent technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Situation Handling, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) along E2E business processes. These technologies work in concert to maximize the value to the customer and the end-user.

Further value potential can be realised when companies also look at the full power of what SAP S/4HANA can offer its business through the true innovation offered by the intelligent enterprise suite. So, to leverage this, companies are looking at the potential of these technologies that improve the fundamental process that underpin the business.

While some companies focus on core SAP S/4HANA delivery, those who incorporate intelligence embedded in SAP S/4HANA from the get-go, can deliver greater value by building intelligent processes as opposed to revisiting and revising business processes in a second set post implementation. The Intelligent Enterprise is becoming embedded into the process discussion, proven and delivered as part of the SAP S/4HANA implementations.

The logic is simple: Why implement an SAP S/4HANA embedded process to then replace that with an Intelligent led Machine Learning process? Rather drive intelligence from the outset where intelligent makes sense and delivers true value.

By empowering the business with intelligent enterprise capability this can have a dramatic effect on the performance of the business by using the marriage of data intelligence to assist data-driven decision making, to adapt business processes in real-time, and further automate processes within and in between systems. This has a direct effect on the processes but more than that both enables staff to be more informed about making the right decisions for the benefit of the business and also free people up for more value-added activities.

Enhancing the business process with Intelligence

Each of these Intelligent Process technologies has the capability of not only transforming the core fundamental business processes but driving significant business performance in the way that it can: make recommendations on strategies or approaches to business managers, and promote decisions; or simply automate the manual transaction processing.

Effectively Intelligent processes allow us to move to a higher order of process management maturity by combining intelligent technologies on top of the core standard SAP E2E processes. What this will do is increase the automation of those processes, building and leering to either drive faster processing or drive better informed recommendation to drive better decision and business intervention and subsequent better business value from this automation.

Much of this is realised: in helping make better decisions; giving visibility and insight; managing complex problems with faster outcomes or simply liberating people from transactional constraints to raise themselves up to manage the business doing higher value-added activity.

It is essential that these business opportunities and digital capabilities are guided by a clear thread connecting the business strategy with the potential of the Intelligent Enterprise. So, it is important to get guidance from people who are well versed in these technologies but do this driven from a business outcome and value perspective. SAP has teams of people specifically in its Customer Success area who know how to bring in the people who can support understanding what it means for a business; and are also able to articulate the true Business Value Potential in real terms.

Supporting with people and tools to give the insight

For customers that want to get more out of their SAP S/4HANA systems SAP now commonly advises and helps customers to setup an Innovation Stream in SAP S/4HANA programmes with the support of embedded SAP Innovation Managers. SAP also support existing SAP S/4HANA customers with Intelligent Innovation to help customers explore the value potential driven by the business ambition, current pains and future potential gains.

Beyond this as an approach, the key to realising the potential of the Intelligent Enterprise is the value that this can deliver in real predictable terms to a customer’s business. SAP is investing heavily in further development of its Tools Set and toolsets (like Spotlight) with other data and process mining tools.  This gives not only a better understanding of the business value potential but what the actual predicted benefit could be for each company and its specific process change and how that can be measured, monitored and realised as the benefit marches through the door.

SAP also has tools like the Value Lifecycle Manager (VLM)  where supported by SAP experts you can create a business case for implementation of any SAP solution or group of solutions, for example any company wanting to leverage multiple Intelligent Process applications in its innovation stream can summarise the overall business potential based on real tangible assessment.

This leverages key business and performance data the customers and anonymised company benchmark data with proprietary information from SAP, value drivers, solutions capabilities and their impact of value drivers. This can deliver, with SAP support, a budgetary business case that is based on a company’s real performance data and the potential of applying SAP S/4HANA and the intelligent enterprise.

Explore the value potential with SAP

SAP offers “Explore” sessions embedded within SAP S/4HANA programmes, or as standalone sessions run by its innovation service teams . The aim is to understand how business problems can be solved by this technology and more importantly articulate what is the value. Sometimes what comes out of this think; are ideas that customers generate for solutions that are not yet in standard solutions, but these can be built with the Intelligent Process toolset.

With these innovative we can review these and classify them as: solutions that could be delivered by using or modifying standard SAP products; others may be by developing with SAP development  teams to build as a customer specific solution that is guaranteed as future proofed; but others may be candidates as a standard product yet to be built.

The next blog post explores how SAP works with customer to explore this value potential and how this can influence SAP into standard products.


"Blogpost was developed as part of project work in conjunction with  Head of Intelligent Processes, SAP S/4HANA Product Management - Andreas Welsch.”  andreas.welsch