Diving in

S/4HANA Cloud

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Systems integrator Plaut Australia recently implemented SAP S/4HANA Cloud in its own business to overcome issues with legacy systems and to improve the efficiency of its operations. Far from being a long-term project, Plaut’s system was up and running in under 12 weeks, and CEO Sebastian Moore recently shared their experience at SAPPHIRE NOW. Freya Purnell reports.

SAP partner Plaut Australia had a number of legacy solutions across its finance and professional services sectors – a “home-grown system on life support”, said CEO Sebastian Moore. When the company decided to replace it, though Plaut was already running SAP Cloud for Customer as its salesforce automation tool, SAP wasn’t on their radar. Instead they evaluated six vendors, before learning that the release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud was on its way, and in September last year investigated the fit, and decided it was the best match for the company’s needs.

Phase 1 of the implementation involved the roll-out of the solution in its finance and procurement functions and went live in February, while Phase 2, which covered the rest of the company, including the professional services component which covers projects and costings, went live in June.

Winning attributes

Plaut was won over by SAP S/4HANA Cloud for its user experience, out-of-the-box mobility, its quarterly release cycle, and the workflow within the tool, which allows managers to be more productive by approving paperwork on the go. The company is expecting significant benefits from the implementation.

“We’re really good at implementing SAP, but we don’t want to be spending our time managing an internal environment, and we want to let others do what they are good at, which is managing the availability, disaster recovery and the security of our system,” said Moore.

Another area in which Plaut Australia expects to see improvements is in the transparency of its business.

“I felt with the tools that we had, there weren’t enough key people in managerial positions that knew where we were at any point in time in terms of KPI performance. That is now improving all the time as we learn about some of the reports we can see, and some of the ways we can use S/4HANA Cloud,” Moore said.

Through the implementation, Plaut gained more than a new core system to meet its needs. It also allowed the team to gain first-hand understanding of exactly how an implementation of S/4HANA Cloud will proceed for clients.

“We were able to really get under the covers of the software. It gave us an understanding of how that whole architecture works and what it takes to get develop new capabilities around it if you need them. We also learned how you can deploy it successfully on a more rapid basis,” Moore said.

“The extensibility of the application comes from the SAP Cloud Platform, where you can develop additional applications which will solve functional gaps you may have which are competitive differentiators for you in the market.

“For example, we have developed accelerators that we can now use for clients with current landscapes with MYOB or Xero, where we know how to rapidly accelerate the deployment of an SAP S/4HANA cloud solution purely because we have done that ourselves.”

These extensions can also easily be commercialised.

Advice for enterprises considering SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Moore said for organisations contemplating a move to S/4HANA Cloud, choosing the right environment for this platform is crucial.

“If it is a very large, complex organisation, you might want your satellite country on S/4HANA Cloud, and keep the ‘mother ship’, your large-scale, highly customised and configured solution on-premise,” Moore said. “Or you might be an SME, needing something out of the box but with the capability to have a bit more room to grow. Therefore S/4HANA Cloud is perfect for that, and that’s where we find ourselves.”

Moore said that over time, more and more organisations should consider S/4 HANA Cloud, given the rapid release of functionality that will meet more and more larger organisations’ needs.

He added that being willing to think flexibly about how the solution is implemented will also increase your chances of success.

“You’ll have internal resources that are used to configuring SAP, but there’s a lot less of that in the new world, so technical people need to keep an open mind. You’ve also got business best practice out of the box, so you’ve got to keep an open mind to say, do I really need to hang on to this business process I’ve kept for so long, or should I just follow a process that everyone else seems to use, because that particular finance or procurement process really isn’t a differentiator for my business.”

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