Expanding Section: Interpreting the Public Case Studies

The public case studies are by far the large percentage of the overall case studies. Several things stand out about the public case studies.

The Limited Scope of Functionality Implemented

In all cases, the implementations are small portions of the overall S/4HANA functionality. Yet, in several of the case studies, it is stated that S/4HANA Enterprise Management (EM) was implemented. S/4HANA EM is the overall suite. The WiPro implementation is clear that nothing outside of financial functionality was implemented. However, the Swiss Properties case study is not at all clear what was implemented, and the statement that S/4HANA EM was implemented seems misleading as Swiss Properties does not have the workflows as a real estate company to implement very much of S/4HANA outside of the financial suite. Secondly, when Swiss Properties implemented, even less of the S/4HANA functionality outside of finance was even ready to be implemented. Kurlon would have the workflow to implement more of S/4HANA than either WiPro or Swiss Properties. Yet, there is close to nothing available about the details of the Kurlon implementation. In case studies such as New York Life, there is a clear intent to make it appear as if more of S/4HANA was implemented than actually was, which I have not included in this document, but is covered in detail in the article The New York S/4HANA Life Case Study. Companies like New York Life which implemented only a sliver of the finance module (such as the ledger) will never be able to see any return on investment unless SAP waived all license costs, all maintenance costs, provided a great deal of free consulting etc. (And we don’t know the state of the New York Life Case Study after this point as I brought up in the case study write up) And that gets to the next point.

Special Treatment From SAP

It is clear that many of the companies that make up the public case studies received special treatment from SAP. This is undoubtedly the case with all the implementations at the SAP consulting partners. This is a relatively inexpensive way for SAP to “seed” the market with S/4HANA stories. This is not a guess or conjecture. I have been in contact with consulting companies that have been offered very low-cost access to S/4HANA if they would implement the software, and then announce the implementation. However, while the implementations may have made sense for companies that receive special treatment, they don’t generalize to the broader market. That is SAP is not offering the same deal to non-SAP consulting partners. SAP eventually intends to use S/4HANA to drive revenues and they can’t give special treatment to everyone.

Non-Typical Nature of the SAP Customers Used as Case Studies

It is rare for a services company to implement ECC or SAP R/3. I have worked for many consulting companies, and there is very little to the systems of these types of services companies. They bill hours and expenses to clients. They have to buy things like computers and office supplies. They have to maintain HR records for employees. And like everyone, they have to pay taxes. There are inexpensive cloud applications that do all of these things that are fast to use. Consulting companies do not have a supply chain (they do perform what is called indirect procurement for office supplies, computers, etc.). Therefore, services companies don’t need ERP systems.