How does moving to SAP S/4HANA impact your approach to Business Intelligence?

S/4HANA is the latest ERP solution from SAP and is the core of the ‘Intelligent enterprise’. Taking advantage of in-memory HANA technology, business processes can be radically improved, and analytics enhanced. How? In the video below, Richard Taylor, Partner at Birchman, discusses how moving to S/4HANA can improve your approach to Business Intelligence:

Full Transcript of the video:

When a company moves from ECC to S4/HANA it changes their BI approach. In a nutshell, the in-memory technology in HANA enables you to run your transactional reporting in real-time, as opposed to the old model of having to extract it to a data warehouse like BW. So, this changes the approach.

Unfortunately, what we see is a number of organisations leave the BI part to either a second phase or an afterthought, and that’s the real missed opportunity.

You’ll need to go live with S4 first, but we recommend that you try and minimise the delay between going live with S4 and having actionable business insight. Its this business insight that’s going to enable you to run your organisation efficiently and drive a continuous business improvement.

We also see that organisations have a lot of BI that is not useful or not used as much as it could be, and therefore we recommend that you actually start at the beginning and look at your BI strategy.

What is the BI that you need in your organisation to drive efficiency, to drive continuous business improvement, to support your business goals and objectives, and your business strategy? And what data do you need to support that strategy, and where have you got gaps? And then put a data plan in place that enables you to address those gaps.

If you look at this in the context of S4, as you move to S4, you get some significant improvements in BI. So, within the solutions, you’ve got embedded analytics, KPI’s, dashboards and reports; this is all real-time, based on real-time transactional data, and that can change the way that you operate your business processes.

 So, we recommend you start there, looking at how that changes your reporting approach.

The next step we recommend is to put SAP Analytics Cloud on top of S4/HANA, with a live connection; this will provide you with visualisation of the real-time data, and enables you to interrogate the data from a business user perspective in a variety of tools, whether that be dashboards, query analysis, or general reports. This is the low-hanging fruit in terms of moving to S4.

The next element is really then when you need to start combining data sets. And there’s a big advantage of using tools such as BW/4HANA and Data Warehouse Cloud, because they come with integration and business content that enables you to structure your data, so you’ve got consistency in terms of how you report.

We see organisations that are using a hybrid approach, so they’re using tools such as BW/4HANA and Data Warehouse Cloud for their SAP data, and then a data lake for non-SAP. And then, they’re combining and integrating these data sets as they need to for their reporting requirements.

In a nutshell, we are recommending that don’t miss the opportunity to focus on BI as part of your move from ECC to S4. Look at the strategy from a top-down perspective, really address your business needs from a business intelligence perspective in terms of how to help your organisation operate and drive forward.

And my final thought and comment on this is that – and not to try to boil the ocean – look at the quick wins from a BI perspective and work on an interactive approach where you’re building a continuous evolution of BI to meet your needs.

About Birchman

At Birchman, we help customers define their digital transformation strategy and roadmaps to deliver business change and transformation.

As an SAP platinum partner, we couple our Digital Transformation expertise with industry-leading knowledge and SAP experience to drive business-wide change. If you’re ready to transform your business, speak to one of our digital transformation experts here: