Simpler ERP for all! Well, if you're a SAP S/4HANA customer

New sketches for next-gen platform roadmap

SAP is updating its next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, SAP S/4HANA. But is it enough to get the company’s huge installed SAP V3 base to bet the farm on an entirely new code base?

The company took the floor at its annual shindig TechED in Barcelona this week to introduce several “key simplifications and innovations” in the SAP S/4HANA roadmap. It is not clear at time of writing when these go live.

But from the list supplied by SAP it seems that speed, efficiency and cost savings rather than a new line of business features are the main themes:

  • Optimised working capital with new accounts payable and receivable cockpits
  • Decreased stock buffers with a simplified data model in inventory management for real-time, high-volume processing
  • Increased visibility with real-time insight into stock and material flow
  • Reduced manufacturing cycle time with streamlined material flow for internal requirements and material requirements planning
  • Augmented reactivity with real-time monitoring of production orders for flow and critical issues
  • Improved operational decisions with easier simulation of supply alternatives
  • Lower procurement costs with standard integration to the Ariba Network
  • Better customer service with a new sales order fulfilment cockpit to help identify bottlenecks and issues instantly

SAP says 1300 customers have signed up for SAP S/4HANA in the eight months since it was launched in February 2015. A tidy number, especially if these are customers' migrations as opposed to greenfield sites.

However, the company has some 300,000 customers and many – maybe even most – will be perfectly content with their SAP V3 installations. They will remember the implementation headaches, the heartaches and the eye-watering expense in getting to that pleasant state. Few will be in a hurry to jump from that mature, proven software platform and into uncharted territory. Roadmap or no roadmap. ®

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