World Class Supply Chain

The future of SAP and Digital Transformation

Businessman holds modern technology in hands.

It’s easy to bash SAP HANA from an arm chair.  I’ve read plenty of arguments against it and some pretty good ones.  I’ve also gone in depth myself about some of the benefits of SAP HANA.

SAP Enterprise Management in S/4 HANA- The Next Generation of SAP Supply Chain Planning

SAP is pushing HANA hard because they have to maintain their advantage over their competitors in the ERP battle and the future Digital economy.  Remember SAP CRM?  Salesforce came out with a cloud based CRM that was effective and much cheaper than SAP CRM.  Now SAP has come out with SAP Hybris Cloud. HANA is SAP’s main baby and they believe it can drastically help clients.  So of course, they will try to sell it.

Going the SAP HANA and Fiori way really depends on the company and its situation.  It’s too easy to make general statements about SAP HANA; I suggest using critical thinking instead.  Do you require more memory?  Do you require faster performance?  I think many companies do. For example, HANA can optimize the performance of reporting and this in turn is a major plus for improving Supply Chain Monitoring and reducing the entire S&OP planning cycle, which has huge benefits.  SAP Fiori, with its personalized screens, now offers a cockpit for users to tailor make SAP to exactly what is required for their job.  You can give advanced cockpits to Supply Chain Planners and simple cockpits to factory workers who might not require much sophistication.  And each tile (or transaction) in the cockpit can be modified and includes built-in advanced analytics. These can provide awesome benefits but requires a comprehensive vision by a company prior to its implementation.

What is the future of SAP within Digital Transformation?  Information technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate. Therefore a great deal of thought must be put into how SAP HANA and Fiori will fit into this IT revolution.

Information Technology is all about Digital Transformation on Steroids

I’ve recently been in discussions with companies that specialize in Digital Transformation.  They are able to take all the data from a company (SAP, Salesforce, Excel data…etc.) and combine and manipulate the data as the clients require.  They create paperless and real time dashboards for executives so information is easily accessible at all times.  Jaguar, the company that produces beautiful cars, has some gorgeous corporate dashboards that provide the right information at the right time to the right executives.  How will SAP HANA fit into your Digital Transformation journey?  These are all complex challenges that arm chair quarterbacks can’t answer in a simple article.  It’s easy to criticize SAP HANA without looking at the big picture.

People are more complicated than technology. You can make all the right decisions, present a fool proof IT plan and someone or some group might torpedo it.  I have spoken at SAP Supply Chain conferences and I also attended many presentations.  I was instrumental in bringing in the best consulting firm for our company at that time, with a potential cost savings of 20 million dollars (after they did a preliminary study) or more.  The plan was torpedoed by the Six Sigma group and a few individuals because they thought they could do a better job. Years later, it is my understanding that they continue to struggle with the same issues and would perhaps consider bringing them back. At another firm, I performed an in depth SAP Supply Chain analysis with data mining results.  Unfortunately, the Client decided to present the results to the Executives himself and failed to convey the right message.  No matter how carefully you plan, someone might sink it.  SAP HANA is complicated.  But things are complicated even further by people themselves.  So be careful what “experts” say.  People make things complicated; tools like SAP HANA don’t have emotions.

It takes a team to find the best solution.  If you want to explore your SAP and Digital Transformation journey get the best team of experts from both within and outside the company.  Make a 5 year plan and realize that even in 5 years, IT can drastically change.  Review the plan every 6 months.  Information Technology can make or break your company these days.  Time to take it seriously.

Let’s Recap;

  1. It’s easy to bash SAP HANA from an arm chair.
  2. Going with SAP HANA and Fiori depends on the company and its situation.
  3. SAP must be planned within your Digital Transformation journey.
  4. People are more complicated than technology.
  5. It takes a team to find the best solution.

And guess what?  SAP just came out with a complete Digital Transformation package called Leonardo.

Did I say IT is advancing at an unprecedented rate?

As well as being an IT and Supply Chain consultant Terry Vermeylen is the founder of  and and President of Terry Vermeylen Enterprises Inc.

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