SAP S/4HANA is written natively for the SAP HANA platform and represents a wholly new generation of SAP Business Suite that is marked by simplifications, exponential enhancements in efficiency and astounding new features like planning and simulations which can be used even in several conventional transactions. This ground breaking version indicates a shift from conventional transactional systems which only record or store data and moves towards providing users with decision support in real time based on data from external and internal sources.
SAP S/4HANA implementation
While it is hard to generalize the implementation times taken by enterprises across the world, statistical data from current research has shown that customer companies which have migrated pre-existing SAP Business Suite on HANA have taken an average of six months to do so. One has to remember that this is the first primary step in migrating to SAP S/4HANA. This is a great result in terms of migration speeds for SAP S/4HANA migration.
What Simple Logistics brings to the table
SAP S/4HANA Simple Logistics is touted to integrate aspects of multiple SCM applications. Given below are some such hybrid features spanning across various SAP applications in a single system such as:
1. PPDS and GATP of APO: HANA has been embedded with the distinct ability to run highly complex algorithms as Advanced Planning and Optimization or APO does utilizing live Cache. APO features include Production Planning and detailed scheduling or PPDS, and Global ATP or GATP as a part of Simple Logistics. All of this is running on the framework of HANA. Global ATP has the primary features of advanced BOP, location and material substitution, and Multi-level Explosion (MATP). Simple Logistics is also said to have substitution functionality. There is also scope for Demand Planning and Supply Network Planning in SAP’s brand new Integrated Business Planning or IBP, while still running on HANA. This leaves an even wider scope for the future of APO.
2. EWM: Extended Warehouse Management or EWM has been launched as a decentralized application for warehouses of high volume. This also comes with high levels of operational complexity along with value added service. EWM has the capability of being run on the HANA framework and is an integral part of it. This is clear from the SAP roadmap for S/4HANA and it also provides highly advanced warehouse process enablement. Customers are able to run their warehouse in EWM as well as ECC WM — and this depends upon the transaction volume and operation complexity as per the particular warehouse. The future of ECC WM holds a lot of promise.
3. TM: This is Transportation Management which is an individual application architected for Logistic Service Providers along with Shipping Services for advanced transportation planning, and various tendering processes. The SAP S/4HANA roadmap also has listed in it, the functionalities of TM.
S/4HANA has the unique meshing of Simple Finance and Simple Logistics along with the integration of Product Lifecycle Management or PLM along with other applications. The single system of S/4HANA acts as a vessel for such applications. Here, the support is provided by ERP ECC when acting as an interface for other systems such as TM, EWM, and APO. It is challenging to maintain consistency between the systems with regard to transaction and master data while interacting with each other. This is a clear indication of SAP trying to bring about turnkey solutions for Businesses worldwide. By expanding the capabilities of Simple Finance and integrating it with Simple Logistics, the Business Suite becomes a seamless product reducing complications and enhancing end results. SAP intends to implement similar integrations between its products to cater to entire domains with just a single software suite, thus making add-ons completely unnecessary and irrelevant.
Scheduling throws up issues when the client uses both TM, and APO GATP, but these are currently being minimized by the progressive integration of various applications within a single system.
SAP S/4HANA Simple Logistics represents a quantum leap in terms of insight oriented Business applications and is being adopted by global enterprises at astonishing speeds. It looks to be feature rich with several opportunities for expansion of scope and with built-in adaptability for various Business environments. This move to introduce SAP S/4HANA Simple Logistics is part of a meticulously orchestrated move to bring about massive changes in the way companies do Business. The aim here is to free up employees from merely dealing with transactions and extracting insights from the Business data themselves to actually harnessing direct Business data insights and implementing them in real time.