Airbus DS Optronics S/4HANA Case Study

What This Article Covers

  • About Airbus DS Optronics
  • Replacing the Data Warehouse and Performing All Reporting Off of the ERP System?
  • Project Timeline
  • Digital Transformation?
  • Upgrading to S/4HANA?
  • Why SAP Could Open Fiori
  • Setup for Using Fiori

Introduction

Airbus DS Optronics is a supplier to defense contractors.

Here are some of the following quotes from the S/4HANA implementation.

“In our industry, information that is two days old is already out of date,” explains Airbus DS Optronics director of information technology Jochen Scheuerer “For us it is of far greater significance to be able to access real-time data.” The reporting is also based on numerous sources, such as an Embedded Business Warehouse (BW), ABAP reports, and Microsoft Excel data. On this basis, ad-hoc reporting was just as impossible as data visualization.

To enable a consistent panoramic view of all business administration processes in the company, Airbus DS Optronics chose SAP S/4HANA Finance. The transition was not only aimed at making key company metrics available for all important management meetings as real-time data. The objective was also prevent discrepancies between forecast and current data, and to establish more efficient finance and management accounting processes.”

Replacing the Data Warehouse and Performing All Reporting Off of the ERP System?

This is part of the marketing appeal of S/4HANA that all reporting would occur in ERP and would not have to have data pushed to BW (or other data warehouse). However, the issue with this is that we are not seeing reporting migrating away from BW. Perhaps a bit too in depth for a case study evaluation like this, but ERP system does not provide all the reporting that is required by companies. Virtually all companies do some reporting off of their ERP system, but this is different from SAP’s proposal, that all reporting will be performed within S/4HANA.

Project Timeline

“The project began at the end of May 2015. An important step for the change was implementing SAP S/4HANA Finance without disrupting business processes. The new system had to be ready for the November 2015 month-end close, and the 2015 year-end close had to be completed within the first four days of the New Year.”

This is a five and a half month implementation duration. This is one of the lengthier and therefore more realistic implementation timelines we have observed. ECC would nearly always take more than a year to implement. With some implementations stretching into the multiple years. However, in this case only one module, S/4HANA Finance was implemented, which makes a 5.5-month implementation duration more believable.

Digital Transformation?

“SAP S/4HANA is bringing Airbus DS Optronics one step closer to a fully digitalized end-to-end process. “We were able to conclude this important chapter for the digitalization of Airbus DS, at the highest quality level, in time and on budget,” says Jochen Scheuerer.”

This is covered in the article The Problem with Digital Transformation and Modern IT Projects but a new system replacing an older system does not have anything to do with digital transformation. Digital transformation occurs when a previously non-digital process is made digital.

Upgrading to S/4HANA?

“In the end, the complete upgrade was handled over the course of a single weekend thanks to the combined efforts of both teams. And with the transition, Airbus DS Optronics was also able to retire its embedded SAP Business Warehouse.”

No S/4HANA cannot be upgraded.

That is an important fact. If customers read this and think that S/4HANA can be upgraded to from ECC, then they will be disappointed.

Setup for Using Fiori

“The implementation of SAP S/4HANA has also paved the way for a vision of the future that includes SAP Fiori. With SAP Fiori apps, all key metrics that DS Optronics relies on will be available on mobile devices. In this way, users can review these numbers anytime and anywhere in a very intuitive way, providing them with role-specific, real-time visibility into KPIs.”

Fiori is a big topic, which we have covered in a number of previous articles, including What is Actually in the Fiori Box.

However, it is indisputable that there is no reason that Fiori would be limited to HANA. SAP started off making Fiori apps for AnyDB until they were unsuccessful in charging for Fiori (due to pushback from user groups). In response, SAP only made Fiori apps for HANA after that point, using Fiori as a carrot to move customers to HANA so they would not have to give Fiori to current customers for free.

Therefore, the quotation, given this context is highly misleading.

Why SAP Could Open Fiori

If they wanted, SAP could open Fiori to AnyDB allowing it to be used at the bulk of its customer base. SAP chooses to exclude all customers from using Fiori unless they purchase and use HANA. Secondly, Fiori has shown signs that it probably will not be SAP’s long-term solution or successor to SAPGUI.

“For example, SAP S/4HANA helps make the reporting processes for controllers easier by eliminating redundancy and reconciliation efforts, enabling them to spend more time on core tasks. In addition, cost centers now profit from full insights into all figures needed for planning.”

We covered this in detail in the following article An Analysis of the SAP S/4 1610 Information.

And in the article Getting Clear on S/4HANA.

However, there is no evidence that S/4HANA eliminates redundancy and reconciliation efforts. SAP also repeatedly claimed that S/4HANA cut out hundreds of hours from the reconciliation process, and there is no evidence of this either. From our detailed research into these areas, we can say with confidence that the things stated by Airbus regarding reconciliation did not happen. Airbus was lead to say these things by SAP. In fact, the phraseology used by Airbus is remarkably similar if not exact to SAP’s marketing literature on the topic.

Conclusion

Information released by SAP in this case study is inconsistent with Brightwork’s research into S/4AHANA. It seems highly unlikely that the things proposed in the case study happened as stated by SAP. This is not a credible case study.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

Snow Peak S/4HANA Case Study

What This Article Covers

  • Snow Peak’s Claims
  • SAP Marketing’s Hand
  • No Real Implementation Details

Introduction

Snow Peak is a Japanse company that sells outdoor gear. The implementation was not only for S/4HANA (for which they claimed Enterprise Management or the overall suite) but also SAP Hybris and SAP Business Objects. Making product suggestions was a main focus on the project.

Claims

Snow Peak claimed the following benefits from the implementation (as they implemented multiple SAP applications, all of these benefits are not necessarily specific to S/4HANA):

  1. Improved ability to analyze customer behavior and obtain results.
  2. Inspired and equipped employees to come up with new solutions to help the business.
  3. Optimized inventories and increased sales.
  4. “A huge digital transformation is occurring within Snow Peak since we introduced SAP software. The knowledge that our staff members have accumulated has been made visible and can be shared” – Tohru Yamai, President – Snow Peak.

Snow Peak moved off of a Microsoft ERP system.

SAP Marketing’s Hand

At least 1/2 of the case study write up by SAP is either bragging about Snow Peak or about SAP that doesn’t have anything to do with the case study. One good example is this:

“To achieve the necessary centralization and unification of data, the software had to have comprehensive, integrated ERP functionality that covers all aspects of the business.”

So a few things to note:

  1. It is highly questionable as to whether ERP systems or S/4HANA for that matter unifies data. For example, in just the example systems provided, there is data that would be in Hybris, S/4HANA and Business Objects. So this is multiple locations of storage of data — how is that unification? Snow Peak goes on to say that it unifies all of its ERP data in one place where it can be accessed and analyzed in real time.” However, if that is true then what data is being analyzed in Business Objects? Doesn’t that data also exist in S/4HANA? So then the data is not unified.
  2. S/4HANA does not have more functionality than ECC. In fact, it has less. Functionality has been removed from ECC to S/4HANA.
  3. This case study write up entirely leaves out that S/4HANA still has much of its functionality that is not ready to be implemented.

Marketing Domination of the Information Presented

The marketing domination of the information presented in the case study is a concern for its credibility. Other statements are problematic.

“The company is well on its way to optimizing inventory now that information about customer demand and production is integrated and available immediately, allowing planners to see where shortages loom in time to head them off.”

Now, this seems to imply that this is a new capability. However, this same capability existed in ECC. Again, S/4HANA does not have functionality that ECC did not have. Demand and production were already integrated. As it was in Microsoft Dynamics. If the company replaced Microsoft Dynamics with S/4HANA, they could not make the statement that demand and production were not integrated into Dynamics as well. They also cannot argue that inventory was not updated immediately. All inventory or stock position has been updated immediately for many years in all ERP systems.

“Customers are benefiting directly from this technology as well. For example, when customers buy apparel, the software tracks the sizes they try on and the guies them immediately to hte right size the next time they purchase a similar article.”

Why is that impressive? Is that a technology unique to SAP? Is this a computationally intensive or complex bit of functionality? This appears to be a feature of Hybris, not S/4HANA — and this is the problem with multi-application installations that are categorized by SAP under S/4HANA.

No Real Implementation Details

There are no implementation or implementation timeline details about the case study.

Conclusion

This is the type of company that would implement S/4AHANA, but the case study discusses things in S/4HANA as if they are new. Most of the statements come across as quite uninitiated and seem to imply that a lot of innovative things happened on the project when these are quite generic capabilities. There is also the question of whether the overall suite was implemented. The only information presented that it might have been is the description of inventories.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

How to Understand the Deloitte S/4HANA Case Study

Executive Summary

  • Deloitte released bizarre information regarding what appears to be a faux S/4HANA implementation.
  • Why S/4HANA is a strange choice for Deloitte’s business requirements.
  • Is Deloitte gearing up for even more than 33,000 customizations as with ECC?

Introduction

Deloitte offered the following information on its S/4HANA implementation.

“Deloitte was an early adopter of SAP’s R/3 ERP system back in 1995 despite it “not really being designed to be used by a professional services firm,” Bray said. “So guess what? We customized the hell out of it,” he added, with more than 33,000 SAP finance customizations made over 20 years.”

What Deloitte is both admitting to is that R/3 was never a good fit for its business requirements.

Using Software That is a Poor Fit For Business Requirements

Is this the type of advice that Deloitte gives to its customers? That they should purchase software that is such a poor fit for the business requirements that the customer will have to “customize the hell out if it?”

The number of customizations at 33,000 is so high that this is further evidence that Deloitte did not select S/4HANA for its match with business requirements. It was so many customizations it leads to the following quotation from Deloitte as an explanation:

“Namely, long run times, maintenance issues, little flexibility due to the number of customizations, and outages. Now it is looking to fully upgrade to the next-generation S/4HANA suite, which is built on the software vendor’s in-memory HANA database.”

What Deloitte is talking about is problems with SAP ECC. Would Deloitte have offered this information if they were not implementing S/4HANA?

Also, why does Deloitte have such long run times with ECC?

Deloitte Gearing Up for Even More than 33,000 Customizations

There are several major issues with Deloitte moving to S/4HANA that are not mentioned in the article:

  • S/4HANA has less functionality than ECC. Therefore, Deloitte will have to perform even more customizations in order to get S/4HANA to work.
  • Every one of the 33,000 customizations that Deloitte added to ECC will break, and they will have to rewrite the customization to address new tables in S/4HANA.
  • S/4HANA is never an upgrade from HANA. While the term upgrade may be accurate in a general sense as is moving from one system to the next, it is not technically accurate in the sense of what will have to happen on the implementation. Deloitte is engaging in a reimplementation, not an upgrade. No ECC systems can be upgraded to S/4HANA.

Taken from an implementation benefit perspective, what Deloitte is saying makes little sense. However, it makes a great deal of sense from a marketing, sales and skills development perspective. This emphasized the point made earlier that companies that implement SAP choose S/4HANA regardless of the real benefits.

This quotation is quite interesting as well.

More Promises on Moving Away from Microsoft Excel

“Deloitte hopes that a shift to a fit-for-purpose system like S/4, which comes with integrated analytics, planning and forecasting capabilities, will help its finance staff to move away from a cultural dependence on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Bray said that the company currently has a reporting catalogue of more than 6,000 spreadsheets in the USA alone, and “I know we have over 3,000 reports in the UK too”, he added.”

This has been promised on many occasions in the past. Yet Excel continues to be universally used at companies that have implemented SAP. Also, this same motivation was most likely used to promote the move to ECC. ECC promised to remove the reliance on spreadsheets quite some time ago. Why didn’t that happen? And this is not only an issue with SAP but in companies that have applications like Tableau and other BI tools. Excel is simply intractable.

The concept is that with HANA as the database that will allow reporting to be much faster to run reports. However, speed is of report running is not the primary reason that data is exported and analyzed in Excel. The reason is that Excel is normally much easier to develop both the views that one wants to see, as well as applying formulas to perform the analysis. One of SAP’s newest applications called IBP, actually works mostly in Excel, although in a structured manner. In the area of financial budgeting, a company called Excel4Apps also works with Excel instead of attempting to replace it.

“Ten key financial processes will be brought up to date: client-to-cash, procure-to-pay, planning, forecasting, analytics, taxation, partner accounting, time management, asset management and record-to-report.”

This provides a rough idea of the scope.

S/4HANA Maturity Issues

Bray said that the implementation is generally going to plan, but admits “one of the problems we have had is the release cycles of S/4. Particularly in terms of [version] 1610, which came out late and did cause us a problem. So we have been using up a lot of our time contingency because of those issues.”

This is a bit surprising for Deloitte to admit this. They are admitting to problems implementing 1610 in this quotation. Deloitte is not supposed to release any information that could be construed as negative regarding any SAP application. Remember that Deloitte is partially using this announcement to help sell S/4HANA implementations.

Deloitte probably should have gone with a financial best of breed. But you can’t make very much consulting money implementing a financial best of breed and Deloitte does not have many consultants staffed that provide non-SAP or non-Oracle consulting. In their IT practice, Deloitte makes its money implementing SAP or Oracle. Therefore, unless Deloitte slips up, as they did when they mistakenly described the 33,000 customizations they performed when they implemented ECC, which is explained in more detail in this S/4HANA Customizations and Deloitte.

In terms of applying this case study to a real implementing company, the previously listed issues laid out in the article The Problem with S/4HANA Consulting Company Case Studies.

Conclusion

Deloitte explanation for using S/4HANA does not make sense and matches the logic of other self-implemented S/4HANA case studies by SAP consulting companies.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

Sabre S/4HANA Case Study

What This Article Covers

  • Sabre’s S/4HANA Implementation
  • Real Cloud Implementation?
  • Manipulated by SAP Marketing?

Introduction

Sabre is a travel information system. Sabre is one of the few implementations of S/4HANA in what SAP calls “cloud,” but which is more accurately described as hosted aka the private cloud.

Real Cloud Implementation?

For the implementation, Sabre used Virtustream for the private cloud. But this implementation can never be multi-tenant, so it is therefore not cloud. Private cloud is SAP’s way of renaming hosted to something that sounds closer to being a real cloud. There is a massive difference between a true SaaS/Cloud implementation and a hosted or private cloud.

Implementations of software must be multi-tenant, along with quite a few other criteria to qualify as SaaS/Cloud. The reason this is important is that if they are not, then the implementing company cannot expect to receive the benefits that have been well documented from true SaaS or cloud applications. SAP’s converge of the cloud is highly deceptive, and most of it is simply directed to confusing and deceiving both Wall Street and their customers. In many instances, SAP is either cloud washing as is covered in the Brightwork article Is the HANA Cloud Platform Designed for Cloud Washing? or actively attempting to undermine the definition of cloud, as is covered in the article Why SAP Wants to Undermine the Cloud.

Overall, there is little-published information about the implementation. Most of the information is inspirational in nature rather than helping the reader learn what happened at Sabre on the S/4HANA implementation. This case study shows the imprints of SAP marketing.

This S/4HANA implementation went live on April 2016 (calculated based upon other dates provided in articles).

Conclusion

This case study lacks credibility. The study has very obviously been aggressively manipulated by SAP’s marketing to essentially pitch S/4HANA to other customers.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

Sovanta S/4HANA Case Study

What This Article Covers

  • Sovanta’s S/4HANA Implementation
  • Yet Another Self Implemented IT Consulting Company S/4HANA Case Study
  • What Was Implemented?

Introduction

Another IT service provider. Sovanta is a tiny SAP consulting company based in Germany. They show technology consulting for SAP Fiori and SAP HANA (among other things), which are related technologies for S/4HANA.

Sovanta claims to have implemented S/4HANA Finance. But beyond that, there is almost no information about the implementation that can be found.

Conclusion

This is an unreliable case study as it was implemented by yet another IT consulting company that specializes in SAP.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

UNIORG S/4HANA Case Study

What This Article Covers

  • Uniorg’s S/4HANA Implementation
  • Yet Another Self Implemented IT Consulting Company S/4HANA Case Study
  • What Was Implemented?

Introduction

UNIORG is an IT services company based in the Germany. UNIORG primarily implemented the Business One ERP application (not be confused with “Business All in One” which is also the name of S/4HANA). UNIORG has roughly 170 employees. As with several of the other public case studies, UNIORG is too small and lacks the resources to even think about implementing S/4HANA.

At this point, one should note that a not insignificant number of the public S/4HANA case studies are from SAP implementation companies. In fact, we calculated that 31% of the public S/4HANA implementation 6/19 case studies are from this category of companies.

UNIORG went on to implement S/4HANA at another of the public S/4HANA case studies, which is the Sovanta case study.

Conclusion

This is an unreliable case study as it was implemented by yet another IT consulting company that specializes in SAP.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

Innovabee S/4HANA Case Study

What This Article Covers

  • Innovabee’s S/4HANA Implementation
  • Yet Another Self Implemented IT Consulting Company S/4HANA Case Study
  • What Was Implemented?

Introduction

Innovabee is an IT services provider based in Germany. As with WiPro and Convergent IS, they list S/4HANA as one of their consulting offerings, and they have a S/4HANA blog at their website. In one of the blog posts titled “Forrester Study Shows: the Database SAP HANA is Top!”

Innovabee claims the following.

“The Forrester Wave” of August 2015, databases of various providers were analyzed and analyzed for their dissemination and their performance. The result: in both categories, SAP HANA is ahead of all its competitors.”

Therefore, it would be difficult for the position to be held that Innovabee only implemented S/4HANA for its inherent usable capabilities. With the implementation, Innovabee now has its case study. As it is the source, one can be sure that the resulting information from the case study will be positive. The more positive the information that Innovabee provides, the more S/4HANA implementations that Innovabee can sell. This naturally introduces considerable bias into any information that Innovabee would release. For instance, it would be unlikely that Innovabee would state that they failed or ran into issues in their implementation when they are offering S/4HANA implementation service.

Even if it were true, would they admit to such a thing? Even if they wanted to how would this impact their relationship with SAP?

As with several of the other S/4HANA consulting company case studies, Innovabee is also a very small consulting company and would not have been the typical target for ECC. It is well known that ECC and S/4HANA have a certain amount of overhead that is not economical for smaller companies as discussed in the Convergent IS case study.

Therefore, the most likely explanation is that Innovabee implemented S/4HANA to be able to implement S/4HANA for other companies.

Innovabee went live in 6 weeks. This is yet another in the list of an unheard of implementation timelines of even the FI/CO module in ECC. This brings up questions of what was actually implemented if it was actually just a demo system. However, the case study does not provide enough details to really know what Innovabee did with S/4HANA.

This implementation went live in June of 2015.

Conclusion

This is an unreliable case study as it was implemented by yet another IT consulting company that specializes in SAP.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

European Schools S/4HANA Case Study

What This Article Covers

  • European School’s S/4HANA Implementation
  • A Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools Using SAP ERP
  • What Was Implemented?

Introduction

European Schools manages a nursery, primary and secondary schools in 7 European countries based out of Brussels. ES operates somewhat of a co-op of 15 different entities. Therefore, the implementation involved these 15 entities on accounting, controlling and procurement.

This implementation was the longest timeline that I could find published. A 1-year implementation is on the shorter side for ECC, and for S/4HANA, being so immature this is still also quite short considering that European Schools is more of a co-op.

The implementation scope was the following:

  • General Ledger
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Asset Accounting
  • Funds Management
  • Cost Center Controlling
  • Purchasing Request
  • Purchase Order
  • Contacts
  • Request for Quotation
  • Goods Receipt
  • Sales Order Processing
  • Billing
  • Dunning
  • Instalments
  • Master Data Administration
  • Net Salary Processing

This is one of the more credible public case studies of S/4HANA. It has the added benefit of being one of the few case studies to explain the actual scope of the implementation. And it is also one of the few to explain the benefits received as the following quotation attest.

Functional Impact

  • We moved from 27-step invoice validation down to a best practice 3-way match (Purchase Order – Good Receipt – Invoice Receipt).
  • With the new tool we have gained better overall vision and management of the budget planning as well as budget consumption. In the past we needed to make manually separate and cumbersome consolidations – now we have consolidated ad-hoc view over all entities at any time!
  • In the past the paperflow of documents did not allow view of current approval status – now integrated workflow system allows tracking of the process steps and current status of approval!

Technical Impact

  • Data Base Instance: reduction from 15 instances to one single instance!
  • Time for Creation of Reports required by regulations: from up to 10 days down to less than 5 seconds.
  • Users in Live System: 160 in 15 entities throughout Europe using various languages (English, German and French).”

Conclusion

Once again, as a school, it is not a normal target for an ERP system. But this case study at least has some details and can describe some of the actual benefits of the implementation.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

LaTrobe University S/4HANA Case Study

Executive Summary

  • The S/4HANA LaTrobe University’s S/4HANA is one of the case studies promoted by SAP. However,  many of the items reported as part of the case study do not hold up.

Introduction

LaTrobe University a university based in Victoria, Australia. LaTrobe is one of the few cloud-based S/4HANA implementations. This few number of cloud-based S/4HANA implementations is also found in the private case studies, which is contradictory to much of the information provided by SAP regarding the ability to run S/4HANA from a variety of delivery models including on-premises, public cloud, and private cloud.

“By the end of 2015, all of La Trobe’s SAP software will be delivered through the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC), hosted from a local data center.” – SAP

“With instant access to reliable information about grant money, researchers will spend more time on innovating for value. Consolidating data across the library, parking and other administrative areas will provide students with one centralized source for updated information, allowing them to focus on academics. Real-time data will also give La Trobe an immediate view into student performance, mitigating costly attrition rates.”

“regarding licenses, it’s cheaper for us to move away from on-premise and go to the cloud by a significant amount. With this investment, we’re getting a decrease in capital expenses and depreciation and a small shift in OPEX,” he said. “We’re being watched by many organizations in other industries. Within six to 12 months, I envisage some other organizations investing in this technology – and that’s exciting.”

LaTrobe states that it went live with SAP Finance in 20 weeks.

Universities Using SAP ERP

It should be understood that SAP’s historical penetration into the education market has been small. One apparent reason is that education does not require an ERP system as they do not manage physical product (aside from textbooks, computers, desks, etc.) Most of these things, except textbooks, are a poor match for a perpetual inventory system that can run MRP as few of these items are resold. This type of procurement is called direct procurement, which is where the entity consumes the procured items themselves. For this type of requirement, one can simply use a cloud inventory management system which can be obtained at a meager cost. At the time Latrobe implemented, SAP’s system was not integrated to the Finance module in any case so there was no integration argument for SAP to use to justify the purchase (something I will discuss in a moment)

How Much of the S/4HANA Must Remain Unused by LaTrobe?

Because of this, most of S/4HANA’s modules and functionality will stay permanently unused by LaTrobe. And this is because they lack the workflows to use these other modules.

Therefore, it was curious to learn that LaTrobe had already gone live with the MM or materials management (aka inventory management) module in ECC and the PM or project systems module. As S/4HANA was not implemented for these modules, it means that S/4HANA Finance had to be integrated into these modules. Thus, Latrobe was/is using a combination of S/4HANA Finance with ECC.

The Budgets for Universities Versus Private Companies

Another reason that universities are infrequent purchasers of SAP ECC historically is that universities typically do not have the IT budgets that large companies do have. And of course, University workflows don’t match up with the functionality of ERP systems.

LaTrobe had already implemented ECC, so S/4AHANA was considered an upgrade for them, but S/4HANA is not an upgrade for the following reasons.

  • Every company that purchases S/4HANA may get it deeply discounted, however, it is, not a free upgrade as were previous new versions of ECC for companies that already were customers of ECC.
  • ECC cannot be “upgraded” to S/4HANA. Instead, a new implementation must be performed.

I was unable to find the exact go-live date for S/4HANA at LaTrobe University.

Conclusion

LaTrobe’s S/4HANA implementation is one of the more credible of the S/4HANA case studies. Although the timeline of 40 weeks is indeed on the short side. This was most likely a straightforward implementation of a single module of S/4HANA Finance, yet a complication would have been the required integration to ECC MM.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

Convergent IS S/4HANA Case Study

What This Article Covers

  • Convergent IS’s S/4HANA Case Study
  • Why Did Convergent IT Implement S/4HANA
  • Leveraging the Complexity of S/4HANA?

Introduction

Convergent IS is a Canadian implementor of mobile and user interfaces. As of June 30, 2016, they had 35 employees.

The logic for Convergent IS to implement S/4HANA is very similar to that of WiPro and other SAP consulting companies on this list. That is Convergent can resell the implementation experience and explore that it received from its S/4HANA implementation to its customers. It also helps them get their name out in the marketplace.

Some evidence for this is that no S/4HANA implementation has been announced by a consulting company that does non-SAP consulting. If S/4HANA were being implemented for its inherent qualities of use, then one would expect non-SAP consulting companies to implement S/4HANA. But the opposite is the truth.

  • A 35 person company does not have a need for S/4HANA to run its business. Sustainability issues become obvious as companies below $150 million in revenue often run into maintenance issues as the IT budget is usually insufficient to support such a heavy application like ECC.
  • How will Convergent IS be able to support this application with such a small number of IT resources?

A 35 person consulting business can be run on Quickbooks combined with an HR application and time and expense and invoicing system. And Quickbooks with a SaaS HR application, and a SaaS time and expense and invoicing system is a problematic TCO to compete with. We perform consulting at Brightwork Research and Analysis and find a combination of Quickbooks and time and expense and invoicing system to work very well.

However, Convergent IS proposes a different reason for implementing S/4HANA. 

“Chatting with me at last month’s Annual Conference and Sapphire Now in Orlando, Syvertsen explains that Convergent has recently completed the first conversion to SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management 1511, Feature Package Stack (FPS) 01. “We’re delighted to be able to provide that new Fiori experience, the new intuitive analytics, the automatic problem reporting and the improved transaction processing with S/4HANA Enterprise Management to all of our business users,” he says.”ASUG

In interviews, Convergent IS does not play up the angle of implementing S/4HANA to get more business implementing S/4HANA. However, this was a driver. And on Convergent IS’s website, they promote their ability to implement Fiori, which is the UI front-end for S/4HANA.

Unsurprisingly, on their website, Convergent IS emphasizes on highlighting user interface aspects of S/4HANA. 

“He also encourages peers to involve business users at the start of the S/4HANA project. When you’re looking at modeling those processes [in S/4HANA], bring the business users in,” Syvertsen says.  

“Take full advantage of Fiori and take full advantage of SAP Screen Personas because S/4HANA is all Fiori to the extent that Fiori’s been built so far.” The focus for SAP with S/4HANA over the next one to two years is much less about recreating existing Business Suite transactions in Fiori and much more about redesigning new business functions.

Leveraging the Complexity of S/4HANA?

Convergent IS is a very simple entity. It is unclear how much modeling of processes is necessary. We did not “model any processes” when I started using Quickbooks and using time and expense and invoicing system. Instead we simply selected the application that we thought was a good fit, entered our credit card info, and began using the system.

There are very few choices to be made.

You can decide if you want to report your income based upon actual payments or based upon accrual. That is an important decision. However, aside from that decision, the setup of these systems is quite straightforward.

Small consulting businesses simply don’t have many setup or “configuration” decisions that need to be made.

“SAP Screen Personas and SAP Fiori are going to be your two keys to show your business that this S/4HANA upgrade isn’t just a technical upgrade that meant nothing to them,” Syvertsen says. “It is a genuine evolution and a material leap forward in the user experience and business power of SAP.”

  • Personas is not related to Fiori, and Personas, an earlier attempt by SAP to improve their user interface is no longer an active product. Therefore the statement that Personas should be used because it will interact with Fiori does not make sense.
  • This a comment that was made back on June 30, 2016, but Personas was already an inactive product even at that time. The number of actual Personas implementations is tiny; it is mostly limited to failed proof of concepts.

Overall the quotations from Convergent IS seem to promote the idea of the user interface being quite important. It is difficult to see this as coincidental, that these are the exact services in which Convergent IS specializes.

Convergent IS states that they implemented S/4HANA Enterprise Management 1511, but they do not claim implementation functionality beyond Finance. I will refer readers again to the article The Problem with Consulting Company S/4HANA Case Studies.

This S/4HANA implementation went live in March 2016.

Conclusion

Convergent IS’s never had any reason to implement S/4HANA. The case study is not believable. Convergent IS may be live on S/4HANA, but it was not to benefit from the application. Convergent IS is most likely simply using their S/4HANA system more for demos and to convince their prospects that they should hire Convergent IS to use them to implement S/4HANA.

This article is part of The S/4HANA Implementation Study. Please see that study for the overall conclusions.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.