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SAP S/4HANA which has existence since 2011 as SAP HANA has it inception as an advanced version on February 2015 by the New York Stock Exchange. It is a broad group of financial accounting and management remedies surrounding risk together with compliance management, treasury, and economic threat control, collaborative finance endeavors, accounting as well as financial close, covering financial analysis and planning all these are made possible by the hyper-efficient SAP HANA database memory in the software. The rising demand for this software in business has led to the extensive training to many beginners. By October 2015, over 1200 customers had purchased and implemented the software due to it flexibility to be customized to fit the financial needs of the premise, and in 2016 April the number had risen to 5400. The remedies have erased the traditional barriers that existed between, transactional, planning and analytical systems in business strategy because of it instant delivery of insights on financial information. India which is the pioneer country and other countries abroad that have recognized the software efficiency in financial management have endeavored to offer Certification of SAP Simple Finance through training (Sebastian G., 2018,np.).
The software is very convenient in the whole portfolio of financial management, but the adoption and recognition have been enhanced in some areas than others. For instance, the Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) enables the customer to improve profitability, transform functions and speed up the planning processes while the Accounting and Financial Close enhances the control and compliance, the capability to accelerate the closing of books hence minimizing the workloads in the method of accounting and financial close. Besides, the prediction of cash flow and management of risk and management of liquidity associated with treasury risk management has been earned by Treasury and Financial Risk Management which is integrated with the SAP S/4HANA. The version of SAP has been relevant and considered the most significant update of SAP ERP tactic and platform for at least two decades (Elahi, T., 2015, np).
Benefits of SAP S/4HANA to Customers
The conceptual adoption and implementation have been beneficial to the users in many ways and digitalized financial management making it not only convenient but also convenient. First, it can combine analytics and transaction hence enabling analysis, simulation, reporting, and prediction. The question related to finance is gathered and answered at the client`s disposal anytime anywhere as long as the customer implemented the software in the premises. The predictive, simulational and analytical nature of S4HANA data enables doctors in big hospitals to manage by keeping track of diseases through clinical indicators. The extensive data in the health center can be used to monitor results while prescribing the proper treatment. Such techniques have been employed by big organizations likeNational Center for Tumor Diseases to manage and counteract cancer diseases by identifying the patient`s particular molecular profile and integrating with the research findings and hence prescribing the best treatment based on facts ( Vosough et al., 2016, np).
Furthermore, the analytical transactions, as well as high-volume processes (OLTP and ALAP) respectively, is reduced and made easier by the SAP S/4HANA, unlike the traditional model whose data was redundant and thereby the new model creates opportunities by increasing enterprise `s volumes in the existing investment (Missbach et al., 2016,pp.8). The simplified version of has significantly decreased the footprint on the solutions almost ten times compared to the previous model, as shown by benchmark studies, and critical processes of the company have enhanced as a result. In the case of companies dealing with consumable goods, the software is instrumental in the sense that it improves customer satisfaction and helps the firm anticipate the demand and supply trend on the products and services.
The industry solutions and all types of businesses have registered an exemplary level of technological and innovative advancement that is facilitated by the faster processing of data and simplifications. Again, the re-integration of functionality that is industry specific with those created outside the industry aids the companies to function in a variety of contexts within the industry and facilitated the flexibility of the company to adjust to the situations and challenges (Nica et al., 2017,pp.1667). New applications in SAP S/4HANA architecture makes the system landscape convenient and hasten cloud deployment on the commercial scale being the simplified information model that focuses on a single approach on a business challenge creates a conducive foundation for implementation as well as of such like transactions. Construction corporations like Swiss Property can reinvent the wealth creation that is associated with real estate investment.
SAP S/4HANA has sophisticated automation for single based processing, predictive or simulative abilities and text mining that is tailored to deal with the contemporary challenges like industry 4.0, internet of things, big data scenarios, unstructured data among others. The management and processing of complex and voluminous data are possible with the use of the software. The IT to adapt and view configuration settings due to its ability to use a guided configuration that is relevant scope as well as allowing the clients to change enterprise configuration. SAP S/4HANA cloud platform which is leveraged to provide service can open to JAVA development and Cloudfoundry only to mention a few (Sun, R., Gregor, S. and Keating, B., 2015,np). The data from various sources are connected and leveraged faster and creates insights into actions that enable the business transactors to avoid performing exceptions by preventing them. The speed at which SAP S/4HANA performed transactions cannot be matched with any other software and hence enable the customer to get solutions on SAP Business Warehouse and will allow them to access Customer Relationship Management as well as the whole ERP framework (Fahn et al.2017,pp.94).
The Difference Between SAP S/4HANA Finance and Current SAP ERP FICO
SAP FICO is a functional unit of SAP ERP central that mandate a company to manage all the financial information in reporting and analyzing financial statements used in the decision making of the company. The two modules that makeup SAP FICO are SAP Finance and controlling,(FI) and (CO) respectively. The first one deals with financial reporting as well as all the accounting while CO concerns itself with both planning and monitoring of expenses. The modules due to the closeness in their functions have been treated as one although they were launched differently (May, N., Bo?hm, A. and Lehner, W., 2017.np).
SAP FICO is an older version of SAP ERP while theS4 HANA is a modern version. The database design between the two is different with S4 HANA offering an advanced solution with the help of its components such as Fiori. While SAP FICO is restricted to only reporting and analyzing and planning and monitoring of financial statements, S4 HANA is a comprehensive software that deals perform many functions giving attention to the customers(Gualtieri, 2017, np). SAP FICO deals with such tasks as monitoring the cash flow, formulation, and analysis of balance sheet as well as evaluating income statements. SAP CO on the other side is mandated to deal with the internal requirements of the company like the formulation of cost center reports and aids in sales and profit analysis. The module stores the data of the company in SAP FICO while in S4 HANA the information of the company including financial information is transmitted on-premise or to the cloud. The functions and solutions of the company are integrated into the same software (Wang, Syaiful and Nurul , 2017,np.).
SAP S4 HANA is an in-memory database which deals mainly with the solution on financial management by offering a central view of financial information that is consistent with all the company`s activities in all the departments reducing expenses which have used in reconciling the functions (Plattner and Leurkert, 2015, np). It also enables one current finance to consolidate numerous back-end information resources. On the other side, SAP FICO is a component of SAP ERP central unit which allows the company manages its financial data, centrally deals with generating as well as analyzing statements that are related to accounting. S4 HANA can be both on the cloud or on-premise according to the needs of the customers while SAP FICO is restricted in on the assumption only (Lee et al., 2017,pp.1600). Without the use, S4 HANA SAP cannot dethrone Oracle in the database layer despite both technical and functional modules of SAP being used in the application as well as presentation. Therefore, the advanced version of SAP ERP that can overcome such a task is S4 HANA, that have made most industries move towards the cloud and have dethroned databases that are associated with Oracle from SAP customers.
S4 HANA is a faster database that cannot be compared to any database in existence while FICO is the functional module that is instrumental to any organization regardless of the kind of the database that the company is using. HANA was commonly known as pure or S4 HANA the extra option given to companies, and therefore no version of the two can replace another in the market. SAP S4 HANA enables you to create an integrated view of operational together with the financial data, provide secure, flexible and consumable reporting (Menon, 2016,np). It is also crucial in automating the process and providing an instant evaluation of the impacts of business options with real-time prediction, analytics, and simulations in a user-friendly experience. SAP FICO through sap finance upgrades the manner in which funding is managed in companies. It helps the firms to review the financial status of a firm in real time market (Howell, 2015, np.). The components that makeup FI module include asset accounting, asset payable, account receivable, general ledger and account consolidation.
Companies` Migration to SAP S/4HANA and Challenges Encountered
The Commonwealth Bank Group
The Commonwealth Bank Group is among the successful corporation that has employed the use of SAP S/4HANA in the running of almost all its activities. The banking institution based in Australia was established in the early 1900s with the current shareholdings standing at 800000 and over 52000 employees. Beginning as a central bank then Commonwealth Banking Corporation in the 1960s, the institution was privatized in 1991 (Lee, 2016, pp.57). It offers services to Australians that pertains all aspects of finance. With the use of SAP S/4HANA, the company has modernized customer services by contacting a comprehensive program that has enhance the manner in which the company does business with the client at the center. The platform that the software creates for customers is world class and was part of the organization`s strategic plan (Brunswiget al., 2017,pp.362).
The company has been the leader in customer satisfaction through the creation of variety. The end to end systems that simplifies banking and make the process more convenient. SAP S/4HANA is beneficial for the customers in that enable access to improved and new products, exposure to wide choice and favors flexibility by its real-time 24 7 processing. The firm has registered a 30% reduction in error processing within the network and 97% simplification on its products with 75% decrease in time to market commodities (Fleig, Augenstein, and Maedche, 2018, pp). The company has selected the SAP solution due to its advanced technology platform like SAP Net Weaver that was facilitated by the appointment of Accenture to aid its implementation. The integration of the two features led to the creation of customer systems like CommSec, CommSee, Customer Information Facility (CIF), CommBiz and NetBank that offers an extensiveindustry experienceon the satisfaction of the customers and their needs as well as the implementation of the whole changes (Vosough et al., 2016,np.).
The institution management has invested in the program preparation and research for two years to realize its fruits of $200 efficiency annually. The implementation is an ongoing process that focuses on the company`s its IT capability that entails reorganizing the functions of the company. The simplicity in IT management has guaranteed an advanced customer avenue platform, business services, operational profits as well as cost savings and the infrastructure. The agility, openness, and flexibility have enabled the customers to enjoy a friendly customer tailored banking (Roztocki and Weistroffer, 2015.pp,660).
The installation of the software has rendered the legacy systems that have traditionally been used for over 45 years by the company and other sizeable monetary organization which not had the courage to adopt SAP S/4HANA. Therefore the Commonwealth Bank Group is placed at a strategic position and ahead of their rivals not only in Australia but also around the globe. The management of data systems and the use of insights from the research findings make the company up to date, and the modernized company was hence turning to be a destination for all the banking services(Bartolettiand Rymer, 2016,np). The software which has continued to be discovered and adopted by companies has seen the growth and modernization of the Commonwealth Bank Group. The combination of both Accenture and SAP S/4HANA has contributed to the transformation witnessed in the firm `s ability and agility that has seen an increase in efficiency, quick response to competition in the market and enhanced customer experience (Sebastian, 2018,np.).
Another company that has succeeded in the use ofy SAP HANA is CenterPoint Energy (CNP). The company is based in Houston, Texas, United States OF America and is restrained to serving a full, market on natural gas and Fortune electric utility. Predictive analytics in SAP S/4 HANA technology enable the customers' services agents in the company to identify the needs of the customers quickly and more efficiently. The calls can be routed to the relevant representatives of the company for attention and solution that is accessible from the nine systems that are integrated into one data warehouse. The company has recorded a 15% rise in the responses handled by the use of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) instead of an agent; credit goes to predictive analytics, a component of y SAP S/4HANA.
The productivity of the company has increased to 200% because of the easy access to the information in the SAP S/4HANA warehouse. The rate of prediction of data in the system has improved from 90 seconds to one second, representing a 98.8% increase rate (Fleig, Augenstein and Maedche, 2018,pp.230). The user experience through the adoption of Fiori as well as cloud offerings has significantly been improved. The real-time analysis and reporting that provides details of the company have given the company the morale to non-disruptively adopt and evolve along the recommendation of SAP S/4HANA. The values of the company that is exemplary and flexible have facilitated the transformation of the company in line with SAP S/4HANA doctrines and provisions.
Challenges Faced by the Two Companies while Adopting the SAP S/4HANA
Migrating to S/4HANA is very traumatizing for the companies because they require a business-linked roadmap that outlines plans for transitions to avoid business recession periods and operation risks. Any strategy needs resources that require extra budgeting. There three main scenarios and strategy involved in the movement to S/4HANA. First, New implementation also called green field for new companies which had not implemented the first version SAP ERP or those ready and willing to re-install the core solution. Secondly, system conversion where there is no system upgrade to S/4HANA. The process is tedious as it involves the transformation of data that require consideration before being done. Lastly, landscape transformation that includes migration of chosen applications and system consolidation to S/4HANA done when there is a need to combine SAP systems into one functionality (Menson,2016,np).
The significant challenges are in the architectural installation and activation of SAP S/4HANA components like CDS, HANA Studio, Gateway, Analytics, Fiori, among others. The new and updated versions and packages need to be installed as it is continuously released to make improvements. The system requires appropriate checks on the components versions as well as an enhancement or support packages, and hence the company should put in place strategies to keep in check the processes of SAP S/4HANA (Schneider, 2017,pp.165). Due to law regulation as experience in Mexico, localization, customization, and development of codes from standard functionality are difficult.
Change and migration from the traditional approaches to accounting for the adoption of SAP S/4HANA is easy to say but hard to adopt due to the human resistance to change. The consultants, IT specialists, sponsors, and directors, as well as the business analysts, should take the innovational and changes made in the business organization. The company on top of investing in the adoption of the new technology should also consider change management and how to go about it. The purpose of preparing for the smooth inception and implementation by the company is to is to align the firm`s stakeholders to the transition and innovation. Therefore little communication the parties involved may result in the friction towards the change and hinders the final objectives and goals of the company (Kolari?a and Vukomanovi?a, 2017, pp). The adoption of SAP S/4HANA requires prior considerations and preparation which may cost the company in motivating and training the personnel who are going to manage and facilitate not only the implementation but also the use. Being an innovation in business, their limited number of experts who can handle the comprehensive and sophisticated software and hence the organizations are reluctant to implement for fear of the unknown.
To sum it up, SAP S/4HANA is the current and most relevant software and advanced component of SAP ERP. The companies using this version of the SAP have registered tremendous improvement regarding csustomer experience, increased efficiency and advanced management of financial statements. Consequently, the productivity of the firms is significantly noticed. SAP S/4HANA has some importance that ranges from simplification and processing of data, prediction of solutions to problems, massive storage, and handling of information in the cloud to the creating custom tailored experience. There are distinctions between SAP S/4HANA and SAP FICO despite being the components and version of SAP ERP. SAP FICO is made up of two aspects as indicated by its initials FI and CO. SAP FI deals with the external requirements of a company like center reporting and analyzing of profits while SAP deals with internal elements of the company that involves the parsing of cash flow and balance sheet. The two concepts were launched independently, but the closeness in the usage has made it be treated like one. The SAP S/4HANA.
On the other hand is an in-memory database that is tailored to meet all the requirements of the company hence advanced in functions compared to SAP FICO. However, there are distinct challenges that come with the adoption of this software. For example, there is a reluctance to change by the stakeholders ranging from managers to sponsors who would wish to maintain the status quo that they are used.
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