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Looking Ahead to SAPinsider Vegas 2024 with Mitresh Kundalia

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Key Takeaways

⇨ SAP practitioners from all over the world will flock to Las Vegas starting March 18 to take a deep dive into the most important topics facing the SAP community.

⇨ Attendees should absorb and learn as much as possible and also get an opportunity to speak about some specific areas where you have expertise.

⇨ Speakers like Mitresh Kundalia will highlight the best ways that SAP practitioners can leverage the new capabilities of SAP S/4HANA.

SAPinsider Vegas 2024 is rapidly approaching. SAP practitioners from all over the world will flock to Las Vegas starting March 18 to take a deep dive into the most important topics facing the SAP community, network with peers and influencers in the ERP space, and generate significant business value for their organizations.

SAPinsider recently sat down with Mitresh Kundalia, principal consultant at Quality Systems & Software and one of the longest-tenured speakers at the SAPinsider Vegas event – 2024 will be his 21st consecutive speaking engagement. He gave a preview of his hotly-anticipated address and shared why he has kept coming back to SAPinsider Vegas year after year.

What opportunities should attendees take advantage of at SAPinsider Vegas?

You want to absorb and learn as much as possible and also get an opportunity to speak about some specific areas where you have expertise. Now new modules, new applications, new processes, and new products are coming from SAP. Things have dramatically changed over a period of time from R/3 to ECC to new G/L to technical upgrades and now we are talking about SAP S/4HANA and digital transformation. Five years later maybe we’ll be talking about human intelligence and machine learning and things like that. Trends have changed. We have to keep up. It’s all about networking, meeting people, keeping your connections live, reinvigorating and reconnecting with your old friends.

What are you looking forward to speaking about in your session at this year’s event?

Quality Systems & Software is a premier consulting firm, specializing in complex transformation projects. We work in the mergers and acquisitions space with a heavy focus on digital transformation with SAP S/4HANA. The message I want to emphasize is not merely a technical database conversion, but a fresh way of looking at the business by adopting simplifications. And one of the topics I wanted to present is about simplifications and improvements in the finance space in SAP S/4HANA. There are many improvements and simplifications made in functionalities. We want to make sure the SAPinsider community is aware of these.

In my presentation, I have listed the top 10 simplifications which any finance leader, CIO, or CFO must make sure that they get out of SAP S/4HANA. This includes the universal ledger, code-block simplification, ledger definitions, segment reporting, currencies, and many more. These are things that every finance analyst or finance director who attends our sessions should take back to their organization when they are considering their SAP S/4HANA project.

What struggles do organizations face in the move to SAP S/4HANA?

SAPinsider has published several research papers and many of the findings are very interesting. Let me mention a couple of them that I feel are relevant.

One is related to the technical nature of upgrades. Customers are tired of multiple and never-ending system upgrades. Every few months, SAP asks customers to upgrade their systems, but most of these upgrades ended up being technical in nature only, meaning you just upgraded all the systems but you’re still using old functionality. So, what is the use of upgrading from ECC to SAP S/4HANA if you’re not using the new functionality and simplified processes? We as a consulting firm are partly responsible for that as well. We should not just think of this as a technical underlying database conversion, but more like process simplifications, more like adapting the best practices which add value for my customers.

Another major reason that I hear customers ask is what is the ROI and business case justification for SAP S/4HANA. To paraphrase, ”Sure, SAP S/4HANA brings a lot on the table, but is it worth the cost?”

What improvements has SAP made in terms of finance with SAP S/4HANA?

What SAP has done is fundamentally simplify the underlying architecture of finance – with the structures and processes. To give you a very simple example, in the olden days, in the classic GL world, there were many ledgers (technically many tables behind the scenes) – six-to-right different ledgers for six-to-eight different purposes. With S/4HANA, SAP has simplified these structures and merged them into one. On the face of it, it looks like not a big deal, but think about the massive simplifications it brings to Finance processes. Isn’t it?

Just to give you an analogy: instead of working on 10,000 Excel sheets, you are now working on in 20. Because of this simplification, because of the new technologies, artificial intelligence, machine learning things have become even more powerful in the S4 world. Simplification is an enormous philosophy in SAP’s world and we from QS&S are a major believer in leveraging that.

What role do AI and automation play in the SAP S/4HANA finance world?

I don’t want AI and automation to be used as a buzzword because nowadays everyone is talking about machine learning, chatbots, and ChatGPT, et cetera.

AI is not for everybody. Sometimes customers also try to tell us they are thinking about AI implementation, but then we find out they’re not even using new GL, their Financials footprint is not consistent, and their global processes are not standard.

I always recommend progressing in a natural progression, for example, first standardizing global footprint, then migrating to the new GL, subsequently moving onto S4 functionalities, and then start talking about AI.

Of course, with simplified structures and increased horsepower available to you now in SAP S/4HANA and with this latest AI tools, it could be a humongous advantage for you, especially for a large volume organization like oil and gas and retail. We have a customer who is in the retail business and they get the prices from their all shops daily and it takes them more than eight hours to turn on the pricing calculations and get back to them before the next day’s shops open. With the SAP S/4HANA with the combination of horsepower and simplifications that takes an hour or so. We have many such examples of concrete and tangible examples.

Can you imagine what improvements these bring to the organization? Could you believe the ROI for the CIO? Can you imagine how powerful and beneficial this functionality is? Now they’re able to do even more analytics based on that and they’re able to deep dive into each shop’s profitability. So now they’re able to perform the real analytics and determine just because a shop has high volume does not mean that it profitable. So those kinds of detailed insights are only possible because of these new technologies which are now available.

What are some of the other key functionalities users should take advantage of in SAP S/4HANA finance?

I want everybody to understand that it is not just a technical upgrade, it’s a massively rebuilt software.

There are major new functionalities and enhancements in almost all areas of Finance – Core Accounting, Controlling, Profitability Analysis, Material Ledger, and more. There are significant improvements to Fixed Assets modules.

The core technical objects, structures, and major functions and processes are massively revamped and simplified. What started as a modest attempt to improve the system performance using the simplifications, has grown and expanded into a new paradigm mindset.

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