Thought Leadership article
SAP S/4HANA Cloud: a scalable and innovative solution
With SAP S/4HANA Cloud, you can be sure that you have a solution that is always at the cutting edge of technological innovation, and is compliant with regulations. A long-term investment. Etienne Jacquet, Head of SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud practice at VISEO tells us why.
The first advantage of a cloud solution is that the publisher takes care of upgrades. With a SaaS application, you can be sure that you are using the very latest version, including the most recent functionalities and patches.
Constant monitoring of changes in regulations
Hotfixes for the SAP S/4HANA Cloud intelligent ERP are deployed every two weeks. These include bug fixes, but also business improvements, such as integrating new accounting rules, or new reporting tables.
Choosing a SAP ERP in cloud mode is therefore the guarantee that you will have a solution that adapts to changes in regulations without any intervention on your part. These may involve adaptations to new French laws, and also to those of other countries with more complex legislation (such as Spain or Italy), or even the taking account of major changes, such as Brexit, or new measures introduced during the Coronavirus crisis, such as government-backed loans and other relief packages.
Innovation is occurring at a very fast pace. The ERPs of yesteryear, which could remain unchanged for years, are now holding companies back. Professionals not only need a robust, functional solution, they also have growing needs in the areas of ergonomics and innovation.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud is a continuously evolving solution that regularly integrates functional, technical, and ergonomic advances. Four new versions are thus offered to users every year. This is about to be reduced to two versions per year, in order to reduce the frequency of transitions. With new versions coming out quickly, the gap between each one is easier to support than with an on-premise solution that only changes once every two or five years.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud integrates natively with other SAP offerings, such as Concur, SuccessFactors, and Ariba, as well as with SAP Analytics Cloud, for sophisticated reporting. The ERP relies on the latest technologies to provide ever more advanced functionalities: Artificial Intelligence thus reinforces the reconciliation of payments, predictive analysis clarifies the evaluation of accounting positions, RPA facilitates the implementation of new automations, etc.
The opportunity to move up at any time
There are several levels of innovation to take into account:
1/ New functionalities arrive in a functional brick already used by the company. This is the easiest situation to grasp. These functionalities are immediately available after the update. Simple information, possibly followed by a little training, will help you to take these changes on board.
2/ New functionalities can be added to an area already covered by the ERP. You are using the finance module, and you would like to integrate, for example, an advanced closure follow-up tool. This involves activating and configuring a new scope item, followed by training for the business teams. A project that is generally quickly implemented and affordable.
3/ You want to add a new domain to the ERP, e.g. production, or logistics? This becomes an entire new project, and will include a needs assessment, workshops, activation of several scope items, their configuration, possibly data transfer, and training of personnel. A project that will help you grow your ERP.
What costs could be associated with these upgrades?
The application of hotfixes is completely transparent, and has no impact on your business activity. The correction of bugs and the adaptation to changes in regulations will therefore be smooth.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud upgrades require non-regression testing, to ensure that the ERP will still perform its tasks as expected after the upgrade. These tests can be partly automated, or even integrated into the Third Party Application Management contract. This is the only update-related cost that you will have to cover. A much smaller burden than the prospect of having to periodically redesign your entire ERP.
The adoption of new functionalities can range from simply informing users, to activating a scope item, to integrating a new domain within the ERP. It is obviously in the latter case that the deployment costs will be the highest. However, it is important to remember that while some of the S/4HANA Cloud ERP bricks are not free, most can be activated with an existing license. Therefore, taking on a new domain will not usually result in changes to the cost of using the ERP.
VISEO offers support, from advice through to implementation and maintenance of the SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud solution, with its Quick-Cross Finance offer.
Contact us to discuss the digital transformation of your ERP!