SAP S/4HANA and Digital Transformation

Digital transformation can mean different things to different people, but for most organizations the true goal is gaining a competitive edge, whether through SAP S/4HANA or another system.

While improving customer service, automating business processes and driving down costs are important, the real goal of digital transformation should be creating new revenue.

With that in mind, here are some ways companies can use SAP S/4HANA to achieve a successful digital transformation.

1. Plan for resource allocation pre-implementation

Before going through SAP implementation, business leaders need a solid plan for how they are going to divvy up responsibilities among the implementation team members.

Planning is really about resource allocation, which includes getting the proper teams set up. These include the core team, the steering committee, the subject matter experts and the functional leads -- all the way down to understanding what the end users' involvement and time allocation will be.

2. Map out current and future business processes

Looking beyond current business processes to understand what the company needs going forward is key to digital transformation success with SAP S/4HANA.

It’s important to examine the current state of the company’s business processes, determine what those processes would look like in the future and draw up a roadmap, which will help a company see the path it needs to travel from a higher-level view and address implementation concerns.

Creating successful digital transformation through SAP S/4HANA requires closely examining current business processes and challenging them when these aren’t aligned with the best practices.

3. Analyze gaps in software functionality and understand SAP S/4HANA

Companies should look for discrepancies in SAP S/4HANA even if they're migrating to it from other SAP ERPs because there are always risks in the unknowns and the uncertainties, and addressing those gaps can prevent companies from getting into unexpected trouble.

Knowing what aspects of SAP S/4HANA the company needs is also important for a successful digital transformation; while it may be tempting to overload on features, financial institutions should focus on the functions that are the most important to the organization.

For a successful implementation, companies need to think about what components of SAP S/4 HANA are the best to accomplish their goals and needs.

4. Prepare the company for the switch

Change is always difficult, so leaders should address that proactively.

One of the biggest challenges is converting a lot of manual processes that people are used to, to a digital process because that means getting people used to being in the system and dealing with data where they’re managing an automated process versus doing a manual one.

This change requires lots of communication, lots of demos and lots of training, so change management teams are the key to success for many organizations.

It's important for companies to continually reiterate what users are going through and why they're going through it. They also need to think about organizational design, that is, really designing what the organizational structure will look like in the future and what the roles and responsibilities will look like.

At the end of the day, every major implementation always comes with pros and some cons, but it’s important to keep a good communication with your team to prevent resistance to change and make a seamless transition.

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