ERP as Software-as-a-Service – Benefits of S/4HANA Cloud

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Key Takeaways

⇨ SaaS ERP comes with a lot of benefits for companies and therefore we will see an increasing adoption of SaaS ERP systems.

⇨ SAP S/4HANA Cloud is the SaaS ERP solution from SAP, which differentiates not only with its rich set of functionalities, but more importantly with its overall product qualities and experience.

⇨ Leverage the SAP Activate framework to implement SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Why has ERP software become more relevant?

ERP software has been a success over the last decades and key ERP vendors, like SAP, have continuously adapted their ERP software to cater to changing market situations and customer requirements. The value proposition of ERP software hasn’t changed over the years. Companies still care about increasing their revenue, improving their profitability, and decreasing their risks.

There was always software available to support companies with dedicated business challenges, along with the option to develop their own software. However, ERP software creates a single source of truth for the company’s business data, facilitates business processes across distinct lines of business, and comes with best practices for a vast set of business processes. Vendors also provide software updates to cope with the current legal requirements in global markets.

The current market conditions are more dynamic and less predictable than they were over the last few decades. Therefore, it is crucial for today’s companies to focus on their strengths and innovations in their business, instead of building their own business software or putting lots of effort into integrating business software from various vendors. Therefore, ERP software is even more relevant today.

Why does Software-as-a-Service for ERP make sense?

Software-as-a-Service delivery models have been a big trend over the last few years. It relieves companies from operating and maintaining IT infrastructure and running intensive software update projects. There is also increasing confidence in the market that software vendors can deliver a more reliable and secure service, as they benefit from their learning experience of running the same software for hundreds or even thousands of customers.

Companies were reluctant to run their ERP system in a Software-as-a-Service model. Typical concerns have been that ERP systems run the core processes of a company and that companies need more possibilities to customize. However, this perception is changing. Companies realize that ERP vendors can provide a better service for a lower cost. They also see benefits in operating business processes based on best practices, which also helps to convince internal stakeholders to adopt standardized business processes. They see the benefits of having an ERP system that is always on the latest software version and thus can deal with the current legal requirements without running intensive update projects. 

Why SAP S/4HANA Cloud?

SAP has 50 years of experience in building ERP software and industry capabilities. This knowledge was used to create SAP S/4HANA Cloud as a SaaS ERP solution. SAP S/4HANA Cloud comes with a vast set of best practices for business processes in different Lines of Business along with the most extensive coverage in terms of local requirements in many countries of the world. SAP S/4HANA also comes with comprehensive capabilities to enrich the delivered functionalities with its own extensions.

Experience shows that customers who use the best practices and follow SAP’s implementation methodology, SAP Active, can implement the solution in a few weeks rather than in months. However, functionality is not the only aspect a company should consider when choosing a SaaS ERP system. Companies should also check if a SaaS ERP vendor can offer a 24/7 global support and can show relevant industry certificates in areas like data center operations, security and quality. The existing partners and other parts of the ecosystem are also important as proof points for the sustainability of a SaaS ERP solution. In summary, the complete set of SaaS ERP qualities and the overall SaaS ERP experience matters. 

Great framework to implement SAP S/4HANA Cloud 

One of the first experiences with SAP S/4HANA Cloud is its implementation. SAP has built SAP Activate, a framework to guide companies through the implementation process of SAP S/4HANA Cloud. The SAP Activate framework comprises best practices, guided configurations, and the proven SAP Activate Methodology.

  • SAP Best Practices are built on SAP’s 50 years of industry knowledge and experience. They are well-documented and ready-to-run business processes. In addition, there are also Best Practices available in the areas like migration, extensibility, or integration. All SAP Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud can be found on the SAP Best Practice Explorer.
  • SAP Guided Configurations improve the configuration of SAP S/4HANA Cloud for customers and partners through standard configuration settings and a guided step-by-step configuration process. 
  • SAP Activate Methodology is a proven project implementation method. It is structured in phases and provides guidance, tools, and documentation in each phase to speed up and improve your SAP S/4HANA Cloud implementation project.

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