Intervju med Christine Arundell om SAP S/4HANA

SAP S/4HANA (forkortelse for SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA) er SAPs neste generasjons forretningsplattform. SAP S/4HANA revitaliserer bedriftens forretningsmodell i en digital nettverksøkonomi, og er SAP sin største innovasjon siden utgivelsen av SAP R/3.

Vi tok en prat med Christine Arundell, som er Portfolio Manager i SAP Education, om hva SAP S/4HANA er og hvordan dette påvirker kundene, samt hva som er nytt på kurssiden. Intervjuet er på engelsk.

Portfolio Manager SAP, Christine Arundell

– In short, what is SAP S/4HANA?

– SAP S/4HANA, (short for SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA), is SAP’s completely reimagined next-generation business suite, which fundamentally redefines how enterprise software creates value in a digital and networked economy – it’s our biggest innovation since the release of SAP R/3.   

It’s a new product fully built on the most advanced in-memory platform today – SAP HANA – and modern design principles with the SAP Fiori user experience (UX). SAP S/4HANA delivers massive simplifications (customer adoption, data model, user experience, decision making, business processes, and models) and innovations (Internet of Things, Big Data, business networks, and mobile-first) to help businesses run simple. Deployable in the cloud or on-premise, SAP S/4HANA can drive instant value across all lines of business – no matter your industry or business size.

– What are the benefits for the customers?

– SAP S/4HANA simplifies, innovates and accelerates business functions to help organizations embrace digital transformation. 

– It creates unique opportunities to integrate sources of data, offer new products and services, strengthen customer relationships, and reinvent or even move to completely new business models,  driving revenues and profits. First, enterprises can now easily connect to people, devices, and business networks to deliver new value to their customers on any channel – the Internet of Things and Big Data become accessible to any business. Second, enterprises can dramatically simplify their processes, drive them in real time and change them as needed to gain new efficiencies – no more batch processing is required. Business users can now get any insight on any data from anywhere in real-time: planning, execution, prediction, and simulation – decisions can be made on the fly with a high level of granularity for faster business impact.

– This is all possible because SAP S/4HANA is built on SAP HANA, with a much simplified database layout, which allows for higher data entry speed and vast improvements in reporting. Enterprises can now reduce their data footprint and work with larger data sets in one system (for example, ERP, CRM, SRM, SCM, PLM co-deployed) to save hardware costs, operational costs, and time. Innovation is also made simple with an open platform (SAP HANA Cloud Platform) to drive advanced applications – for example, predicting, recommending, and simulating – while protecting existing investments. Business users can leverage a simple and role-based user experience based on modern design principles which increases productivity - the new UI is cleaner and easier to understand and use.

– This is the new business suite, do all existing SAP customers need to invest in the new suite, or can they stay on the “older versions”?

– SAP S/4HANA is an alternative to the existing SAP Business Suite, but the SAP Business Suite will still see continued development and maintenance until at least 2025 - it is the backbone of many enterprise systems around the world and we want to ensure that our customers’ investments are protected. 

– However, transformational business and IT simplifications require a transformational platform – SAP S/4HANA is the logical next step for our installed base customers and the biggest step forward for 10+ years. The in-memory database SAP HANA allows for a radically different application architecture and a new philosophy with regards to data model simplicity. While most of the functionality of the business suite will be carried over to SAP S/4HANA, new workflows, larger transaction volumes, real time analytics on  transactional data, unmatched flexibility when changing reporting structures and even real time simulation of business scenarios are possible. And all this comes with a completely new UI and a new framework for modifications and extensions. SAP S/4HANA will continue to be developed at a different speed in order to match the new requirements of the digital age.

– What type of training exists already, and which new areas are to be released this fall?

– The SAP Education program for SAP S/4HANA is already very large, with courses and offerings covering everything from an introduction to SAP S/4HANA, the SAP Activate methodology (which is used by customers who want to transition to/implement SAP S/4HANA), the different line of business solutions including SAP S/4HANA Finance and solutions in the Logistics area (SAP S/4HANA Sales, SAP S/4HANA Manufacturing, SAP S/4HANA Sourcing and Procurement, SAP S/4HANA Research and Development e.t.c.), SAP S/4HANA Analytics, and then of course all of our technology and platform courses (including curricula covering all aspects of SAP HANA, SAP Fiori e.t.c.). 

– As you can imagine, as SAP S/4HANA evolves, the corresponding SAP Education program will evolve with it, so you can expect more to come in 2016 and beyond, including regular updates to the courses and certifications to coincide with new releases of the product itself. To give you an idea of the pace of change, we’ve just made significant additions in the SAP S/4HANA Finance area, with a new ‘base’ curriculum of courses targeting learners who have little or no experience already with SAP Financials. We have more courses coming for the logistics topics, also for learners who are new to SAP. There will be a course covering Integrated Business Processes in SAP S/4HANA (so that learners can get an overview across different areas). The SAP Fiori curriculum is about to be expanded and restructured. 

– For more details you can check out our SAP S/4HANA Learning Journeys which will show you the offerings for each area, including both classroom trainings but also assets available in SAP Learning Hub, our cloud-based learning platform. And of course you can always contact your local SAP Education team who would be more than happy to advise and discuss your SAP S/4HANA enablement with you.

– Any general advices regards to SAP S/4HANA training for customers?

– I would say that regardless of your role or area of expertise, you should start with our overview training - either the upcoming course S4H00 – SAP S/4HANA Overview, which is especially for learners who do not have an SAP background, or the S4H01 – Introduction to SAP S/4HANA, which is great for learners who are already familiar with the SAP Business Suite, but want to know what is new and different about SAP S/4HANA.  From there you will be in a better position to determine the next steps in your learning path.

– What are the most popular courses at the moment?

–  For customers who are taking their ‘first steps’ with SAP S/4HANA, the S4H01 (Introduction to SAP S/4HANA) is a natural starting point (as described above) – it has been popular since it was first available back in 2015, but the course has just been updated for the 1511 release, and will be updated again very soon for the 1610 release.  We’re also seeing a huge amount of interest in our SAP S/4HANA Finance courses – there are so many experienced SAP Financials consultants and customers out there, and they are really keen to update their skills and make sure they’re prepared for the new world. We expect the same to be true of all of our S/4HANA courses though – customers with experience in the ‘old world’ will be keen to upskill and be ready for SAP S/4HANA!