S/4HANA Upgrade Proves Less Than SIMPLE

TAKE NOTE (Insights and Emerging Technology)


With SAP sunsetting SAP ECC in 2025, the company is keen to push its customers to the S/4HANA platform, which will run exclusively on SUSE Linux. However, the complexities caused by the heavily customized nature of most enterprise-level SAP implementations are causing significant issues for many users attempting to migrate, and this situation is exacerbated by inadequate support from SAP.

Two entirely separate surveys of SAP enterprise users have pointed to several trends in technology strategies undertaken by users of the German software giant’s products.

Tricentis recently surveyed 848 SAP installation project leaders to assess enterprises SAP transformation priorities, and perhaps unsurprisingly found that 35 percent of respondents said the most pressing issue was the move to S/4HANA.

Interestingly, only 19 percent thought that to move their SAP workloads to the cloud was of paramount importance. It can be assumed, therefore, that most will deploy S/4HANA in-house before potentially shifting their SAP stack onto public clouds.

ECC instances are generally too large to move onto public cloud services in an economically viable manner, with an SAP ECC module like the SAP Finance app taking nearly 600GB of disk room, while the equivalent module for SAP S/4HANA is around 40GB, an article on CIO notes. That’s due to the removal of many aggregate tables as well as other structural improvements that the HANA database system offers.

WHAT ABOUT 2025?

But according to the survey published by Rimini Street, many SAP R/3 or ECC project managers are planning to extend their installations in their current form well after 2025.

Fifty-three percent intend to keep SAP running “at least until 2025” and 26 percent will do so “beyond 2025”. That’s possibly due to the poor service that SAP gives its customers (at least, those surveyed by Rimini Street), with a miserly 5 percent only stating that the support fees paid to SAP were “well worth the value we receive.”

In short, SAP customers seem to be sure that if their migrations to SAP S/4HANA get into difficulties, SAP won’t provide sufficient help, support, and guidance to make the transition smooth.

When asked “What are your biggest challenges with SAP support today?”, 20 percent complained that SAP responded that they should solve the problem by applying a support patch or update. Many SAP implementations are deliberately not updated or patched due to the highly customized nature of their installations either breaking or preventing the update.

With the average cost of a re-implementation of SAP Business Suite 7/ECC 6.0 to SAP S/4HANA at over US$30 million, and allegedly variable quality in expensive help and support, no small wonder that many are treading water, and intend to continue doing so well after 2025.

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UNDER DEVELOPMENT (Insights for Developers)

An Introduction to S/4 Simple Logistics

S4 Enterprise Management

Last month we started to look at the redesigned S/$ HANA Subsystems. We saw how SAP completely resigned and simplified finance with SFin. OK, let’s continue this month with a look at Simple Logistics, sometimes referred to as Slog or SAP S/4 HANA Enterprise Management.

SAP S/4 Enterprise Management

Although many businesses running on ECC have migrated to SAP HANA for their database (AKA SoH – Suite on HANA), The S/4 solutions rely upon HANA. S/4 HANA offers simplifications in functionalities and data models across all the modules. This includes logistics functions. SAP Simple Logistics is also known as SAP S/4 HANA Enterprise Management, comprised of essential modules in SAP ERP Business Suite, including manufacturing, contract management, sourcing and procurement, demand planning, supply chain, and material management.

Organizations can manage their logistics processes with better efficiency and performance with the following:

  • Order management and billing will enable you to conduct end-to-end order-to-cash processes, while letting you take action for exceptions. You can also reduce your total cost of ownership resulting from data model simplification. In addition, you will have support for the most current versions of features like SFIN Revenue Accounting, FSCM Credit Management, and more.
  • Procurement will help increase the efficiency of processes such as procure-to-pay, spend KPIs, and new analytical apps.
  • Inventory management offers a streamlined data model that increases throughput. The module also offers flexible analytics at the lowest data level.
  • Material requirements planning enables a fast MRP run and a simplified model for MRP controllers to make better decisions.

The S/4 Simple Logistics Changes

Meeting inventory challenges and customer demands is a difficult balancing act. In addition, as technology advances, expectations for superior performance increases. Simple Logistics enables you to meet these challenges easily with the following module changes or enhancements: (Each one of these could be its own blog, so please remember this is a high-level overview)

The first level of change relates to the master data. The general idea is that with HANA, SAP could attempt a more massive processing and yet provide better performance.

The S/4 Enterprise Management Customer Master:

The whole perspective of managing customer and vendor master in S/4 is by using the business partner approach. Hence the traditional transaction codes like XD01, XD02, XD03 or VD01, VD02, VD03 are redundant in S/4. Similar is the case for XK01, XK02, XD03 and MK01, MK02 and MK03. Hence the enterprise migrating to S/4 must ensure that they properly analyze this and use SAP S/4 HANA conversion pre-checks.

The S/4 Enterprise Management Material Master:

The biggest single change in the Material Master is that the material number field has been extended up to 40 characters. This was earlier 18 characters in ECC. Hence an enterprise with multiple systems in landscape exchanging material data must take this into account.This requires IMG activation (see below)

S/4 Entrprise Mangement - Activate 40 Char Material

Other changes in S/4 HANA…

  • Foreign trade fields in material master is not available. Global Trade Service (GTS) is the recommended solution.
  • Material type SERV has been introduced in S/4 HANA for service materials.
  • Product Catalog functionality is not supported. SAP recommends using Hybris as the suggested functionality.
  • Logistics batch management functionality have new transaction codes – MSC1N, MSC2N, MSC3N, MSC4N.

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Dig Deeper – S/4 MRP Live

Q&A (Post your questions and get the answers you need)

Q. What is the “MRP Live” concept that was continually spoken about at Sapphire?

A. The new concept of MRP on SAP HANA, or MRP Live, aims to change all this fragmentation and impreciseness in MRP. Faster than traditional MRP, MRP Live supports requirements planners to fire off materials plans on shorter planning cycles so that material supply and demand is visible almost on a real-time basis.

In classical MRP, the application server calls the RDMS many times to read the data and transfer it to the application. Tables are read sequentially. In MRP Live, the many tables are read in parallel and this process does not involve a lot of transfers back to the app server – instead the material shortfalls all are calculated in the database.

MRP Live enables planners to identify and take actions on urgent issues with more insights and more promptly. The MRP Cockpit offers several dashboards that also support planners in monitoring supply key performance indicators (KPIs) such as supplier delivery delays, shipping delays or stock-outs

MRP Live on SAP HANA is however somewhat new and is not as feature rich as MRP on traditional SAP ERP system, or MRP Classic.

Check out the Wiki – https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/ERPMan/MRP+on+HANA+FAQ

Cheers!

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