SAP S/4HANA: What real-time analysis could mean for Retailers and Consumer Products organisations

28 July 2015

Ana Porfido

Ana Porfido

S/4HANA Consultant

Now, more than ever, Consumer Products organisations and Retailers must react quickly enough to customer behaviours and trends in order to maximise revenue and purchasing intentions. In order to do so, they must be able to quickly analyse vast amounts of information from multiple sources so they can make key business decisions.

But whilst decisions about the optimum pricing conditions, new discounts or promotions, positioning of products in-store and stocks are worked out, the purchasing intentions and conditions have changed again and that precious window of opportunity is gone. Speed is at the heart of SAP S/4 HANA’s main features, along with simplicity. And simplicity means a single, real-time source of truth.

How can SAP S/4HANA help?

Real-time ‘what-if’

Considering the capacity of its database and performance, SAP S/4HANA will allow retailers and consumer products organisations to play around with simulations of various price schemes and compare them with their historical data before they can come up with the right decisions. A powerful predictive analysis engine is embedded in the same platform, which can go all the way from historical price schemes vis-à-vis new pricing conditions to the impact of these changes in tomorrow morning’s cash flow position. SAP S/4HANA’s Cash Management solution has been completely revamped and is now able to run simpler and faster, aggregating different data dimensions in a flexible way and combining previously siloed information. 

Boost profit margins

Data mining to pinpoint the products, or combination of products, that could boost profit margins, is part of the core functionality of SAPS/4 HANA. And this no longer is an exercise reserved for big data specialists. Business users can do it from any device thanks to its app-like user interface, accessed through a single entry point, which can be easily customised to suit the needs of a business role. The idea is to make the learning process within the system much more intuitive, allowing users to feel confident much quicker.

Personalised marketing

Price simulations can be combined with social media data to include real-time sentiment in the combo, blending structured and unstructured data to produce even more insightful results. This would help with the implementation of spot-on marketing actions, individualised promotions and products recommendations. All of these could be worked out by SAP S/4HANA on the go for those customers that shop from any mobile device or register in-store the minute they pop in, ensuring consistency across channels.   

Stock planning

Apart from managing prices and promotions with an unprecedented level of accuracy, it could also be possible to improve significantly on-shelves availability issues. For this purpose, the SAP S/4HANA single platform could retrieve information from the point of sale (POS) transaction data and provide full visibility of on-shelves and in-store warehouse stocks. This would help to minimise the frustration of customers when they don’t find what they’re looking for.

Promotions and rebates

The real time connection of SAP S/4HANA with the POS data could reveal how well new price schemes and deals are doing and compare that data with the planned forecasts of your promotions. Not to mention the wealth of information that would be available to determine the optimal assortment of in-store and warehouse products. In that line, more accurate slotting and marketing fees could be worked out for suppliers, helping big chains figure out the real contributions or bottlenecks created by rebates in real time.

The SAP Fiori experience

From a user perspective, the SAP Fiori UX interface reduces the duration of a task and the number of clicks by more than 50%, the screen changes in more than 90% and the number of fields that need to be populated by more than 60%. However, users can keep on working with the more familiar Gui screens if they wish so.

So....why SAP S/4HANA?

SAP S/4HANA will enable businesses to operate at full speed in the digital economy era. What could be more thrilling than doing business in an agile, aligned and predictive way? The direction towards which the consumer business industry is moving requires a business suite capable of dealing with an overwhelming amount of data produced or taken from different sources, in a smart and dynamic way. It should also enable a robust level of engagement of both business users and consumers.

Further reading

For a thorough list of FAQ’s its worth reading The SAP® Business Suite 4 SAP HANA® (SAP S/4HANA) FAQ by John Appleby

If you wish to check the SAP Gui and SAP Fiori UX with SAP Simple Finance user interfaces in action, this video shows the clearing of a payment done with both simultaneously.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race