5 Tips to Start Your Journey to the Digital Core

All SAP customers are confronted with the fact that their SAP Business Suite will be out of SAP mainstream maintenance by 2025. While this date may seem like a very distant red dot on the horizon, we have all found time seems to evaporate as a deadline approaches. So instead of ignoring this red dot on the horizon, you should really be investing your time now to plan the way forward and prepare for the move to S/4HANA.

The "Digital Core" from SAP unlocks totally new capabilities and opportunities. Businesses are able to accomplish things that simply weren’t feasible before. To understand how SAP S/4HANA could transform your Business model, you will need some planning hints and tips to "future proof" the decisions you make today.

As an organization that has supported other businesses in this same space, we have identified the top 5 tips we consider important to any business to embrace a digital transformation.

Top 5 Tips

  • Business strategy – Break your overall strategy into smaller, bite-sized chunks that enable you to measure progress and achievement. Remember, to quote an old adage, you cannot boil the ocean, so plan for medium and long-term strategies with roadmaps for 9, 12 and 18 months.
  • Data quality is no longer simply nice to have – it is imperative in the digital world. Assess your data quality and governance in real time. Manage your data proactively rather than wait and check every few years to realize how inaccurate it has become. With your data "modernized," transactions can be processed more quickly and easily. Furthermore, you will need to invest less effort in managing the quality of your data.
  • Don’t accept technology debt. Just because your business requirement 5 years ago dictated solution XYZ that should not be the defacto solution going forward. Review your current business challenges in order to exploit new solutions and address constraints that you might have, such as lack of skill, time, budget, etc. Are you re-implementing ECC? Are you wanting to start from scratch or are you just upgrading?
  • Consider what deployment options you have in terms of cloud, as in 5-10 years time, most solutions will be cloud-driven. It does not imply that you have to go to the cloud on Day 1 – this is the point of breaking your strategy down into manageable and measurable timelines.
  • Assess your user experience in the new world – The "Face of SAP" is Fiori, which has a positive impact on SAP Users productivity levels. This user interface is also the "Face of S/4HANA." Enabling an enhanced, more intuitive, easy to use, and navigable user interface and combining this with an enabled mobile capability, will bring your users with you on the journey.  

So now you have some considerations to take into account for your transition to S/4HANA, even if your S/4HANA end game is 5 years away. Start looking at these areas now as they not only impact your end game, but they also have relevance within your existing landscape.

We all recognize that technology is evolving incredibly quickly, making it difficult to keep up. The ability to prepare and plan for future innovations is a key benefit of S/4HANA as well as providing the flexibility to achieve business aspirations considered unfeasible before. Most importantly, this comes with the option of a mixed state of both cloud and on premise.

If you don’t want that tiny red dot on the horizon to creep up on you too quickly, then please take a look at our assessment service, which helps you to take the sensible, cost-effective route.

Interested in learning even more? Join us for an on-demand webinar with guest speaker Forrester to discuss the impacts of not getting your data right for business suites and how to get the best value from your transition to next-gen apps such as SAP S/4HANA. Learn more and view the webinar here.

About the Author


Tim Wadsworth is VP for Solution Architecture and heads up the S/4HANA Practice for BackOffice Associates Europe. He is SAP Certified and responsible for S/4HANA Project engagements, which includes implementing S/4HANA and delivering S/4HANA Readiness and Brownfield / Greenfield Assessments for customers, calling upon 25+ years of SAP experience. Another string to his bow is Business Process expertise, leading to Data Scientist certification from the Process Mining specialist Celonis.

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