Having trouble overcoming the S/4HANA confidence gap?

As John Lennon and Yoko Ono didn’t quite sing, “Give POC a chance!”

If you’re one of the many SAP users who’s yet to migrate to S/4HANA, we understand your hesitation. It’s potentially a big change, and if your ERP and other systems are working OK now, the natural inclination is to leave them well alone! Yet even if something’s working well today, will it still be up to the job next year or the one after? The pressures on industry continue to build – the many changes that companies must now contend with include growing demands for sustainability, the unexpected disruption of supply chains, and the digital transformation of manufacturing. So how do you proceed? By now you know you’ll need to change your systems at some point and switch to something that’ll be a better platform for the future – and for digital transformation in particular – but at the same time, of course you don’t want too much downtime or risk.

Gain confidence by testing the concept

What you need is confidence, and one way to get that is the kind of test project we usually call a proof-of-concept, or POC. However, scoping and carrying out a POC for an application as widely used and deeply embedded as the average SAP installation can be both a practical challenge and a big headache. It’s also very unlikely to ‘prove’ the business benefits, only the technical and logistical feasibility. Fortunately, when we looked into the area of S/4HANA migration in a recent research project, our top-level learnings included three key ones that I’ll highlight here. First, the vast majority of the SAP customers we interviewed cited real and potential benefits from S/4HANA adoption, in areas such as real-time business visibility, improved service levels and better user experience. Second, we were able to identify multiple POC approaches or routes to take, with the choice between them dependent on a range of factors such as your technical capabilities and confidence, your appetite for change and the cloud, your ability to tolerate risk, and of course your ‘need for speed’.

Bring in the skills and experience you need – or lack

And third, something that came out in many responses was the importance of engaging a partner – the right partner – in the POC and migration processes. End user organisations often don’t have the kind of skills needed for projects of this kind, not least because these processes are specialist and the average business carries them out very rarely. So it makes sense to bring those skills in from an organisation that does this kind of work much more often. To learn more about planning and executing a POC for S/4HANA, including choosing the right partner to work with and picking the migration strategy that best suits your organisation’s needs, download and read our paper Achieving success with your S/4HANA proof of concept.

Bryan Betts is sadly no longer with us. He worked as an analyst at Freeform Dynamics between July 2016 and February 2024, when he tragically passed away following an unexpected illness. We are proud to continue to host Bryan’s work as a tribute to his great contribution to the IT industry.