Preparing for SAP S/4 HANA
SAP S/4 HANA is a giant step forward for the ERP market, with new architecture, impressive data power, automation and innovative applications. It creates a wide spectrum of opportunities and business intelligence that were not available before. Even if you are not convinced or has doubts in the ROI and the immaturity of the product, in the coming years (2025 or later) eventually SAP will end its support for ECC and it will become inevitable.
The HANA revolution has just started and I believe that now is the right time to jump to the water and learn all about it. It will require substantial resources and time to realize the potential of the new system, so preparing ahead will set you in the right place when the blooming of HANA will arrive.
My first advice is “start by obtaining HANA knowledge”, make it your 2019 new year's resolution, it is a key factor for making your S/4 HANA effective. Learn the new database architecture, the universal ledger, new programming concepts in HANA, the use of CDS views, new FIORI applications and new HANA releases. Even if from FI perspective you will be able to implement S/4 HANA with current ECC experience (with a few adjustments) and run it according to SAP best practice, without the functional and technical S/4 HANA knowledge you will find yourself with a Ferrari that drives like a Toyota (no offence).
The second tip is “adjust and think big data”. SAP S/4 HANA is designed to be “one truth” for the entire organization, it even aims to be your organizational BI platform. It is not trivial that a single table will hold a mix of FI, CO, MM, PCA, FM and other business data from SAP or other systems. It creates huge data base volumes, extended journal entries and flat tables unlike the classic database methodologies. However, the in memory column oriented database was designed for this purpose and as long as you deliver the data properly it can provide endless business insights. From FI perspective there are new transactions to analyze the data. FBLxN reports out -> new FBLxH reports in. The new FBL1H / FBL3H / FBL5H reports are very powerful, they can run on the entire data without any selection limitation, they are based on a pivot model with on the fly aggregation. These reports should become FI user's day to day tool. They include a new layout menu to easily add or remove fields, switch between layouts and drill down further to specific lines. I would even suggest blocking the use of the old FBLxN reports, as on large scale queries they will use a lot of system resource with slow performance and can cause many run time errors. Any data the users were used to get from FBLxN can now be retrieved from the new reports much faster and with much more insights.
The third tip regards to Fiori. I find it very challenging for both consultants and users to transition from the familiar SAP GUI and move on to FIORI. However, this is the direction SAP is heading to, this is where innovation hides and this is where you can find new added value for your clients. SAP issues new applications all the time and all current SAP GUI transactions are also available on FIORI. It is not a simple task to make users change their familiar SAP home page to a KPI based screen with all relevant applications and new FIORI reports – however, making this switch will enable them to focus on their business processes, to be alert to important business signals and controls and to upgrade their SAP experience.
One last comment about Business partner. In SAP S/4 HANA, Business Partner is the leading object and single-entry point to maintain Business Partner, Customer and Supplier (formerly known as Vendor) master data. From release 1610 the master data transactions FK01/XK01/FD01/XD01 and more became obsolete. From my experience, there are still many open issues with the migration to BP and I suggest to constantly look for new SAP correction notes. Another tip is to carefully review implications of moving to BP on authorization, mandatory vendor / customer field settings and relevant localization transactions.
These tips don't presume to cover the whole subject, but they are a good place to start. If you would like to get more information and learn about Allegro-Pro consulting services you are welcome to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAP Note 2713963 - FAQ: CVI - Customer Vendor Integration for system conversion to S/4HANA
SAP Note 2265093 - S4TWL - Business Partner Approach