How SAP works to develop new solutions – my experiences

13 December 2010

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

I was lucky enough to spend 5 days last week testing and working with the SAP FSCM developers and product owners. We have been looking at the new functionality they plan to release after Enhancement Pack 5. Prior to the 5 day testing I have been involved with the Product Manager to go through the functionality with a customer to obtain a customer’s perspective.  Due to a NDA I cannot share what SAP plan to implement nor can I share when they plan to implement it. However I can share my experiences around how the team worked and why they deliver such good solutions.


The first thing I learned was that the work was being implemented using agile methodology. This has been warmly received by the whole team and it seems to be working.

Process knowledge

My experience of programmers, and this is very generalist, is that in the main most programmers do not have great process knowledge. This is far from the case within the teams I encountered.  Some of these programmers have been working in the Finance space for over 20 years and have worked on FSCM since it began. They really understand the business drivers and what real life users will do within a system. Having this amazing skilled workforce enables such stable and strong code and easy to use screens.


OK this is one of the things SAP does best. One module integrates and speak with another data moves seamlessly around and everything is captured. The new process I was working on was reliant on data from different modules within SAP. Whilst the solution was designed and implemented by strong SAP Finance and SAP FSCM developers, they had strong integration knowledge which was evident in the solution I tested.

Room for improvement

As with most testing cycles things will be missed and changes maybe required. The team were receptive to take on board the feedback that I gave along with some other testers from clients. As with the points above, due to their detailed knowledge they understood why the changes that were proposed were necessary. I never expected to see the final solution, however towards the end of the testing cycle some of our recommendations were already making their way into the test box. Hopefully when the solution is released, I can turn round and say, you see that field I helped design that.

OK, so there you have it a short and sweet view of my week testing some new SAP FSCM functionality. There is plenty more that I have learnt and see but I do not believe now is the right time to share this. As I write this Enhancement Package 5  is only days away from moving into Ramp up. For SAP FSCM users there are some significant changes within the core functionality and some brand new stuff which I will cover in the New Year. I would like to thank the SAP FSCM team for their time and for the opportunity. I know now that they read blogs and find it interesting to see what other customers and partners think of the solution and how it is used.


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About the author

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

Mark tells it straight - as an ex-boxer, what else would you expect?  Both his knowledge and experience of SAP products allow him to cut to the chase dispelling myths and hearsay.

As a result of working closely with various SAP Finance Product Management teams on product development, Mark understands these products inside out. This depth of understanding has led to him become a ‘thought leader’ in his field; after all, it is not often SAP consultants have helped shape and develop the very product they are selling.

Having such a strong relationship with SAP alongside being an SAP Mentor and Moderator means that Mark has an extensive network within SAP. For clients, this relationship proves to be a huge advantage and leads to configuration issues being resolved rapidly.

Mark has worked on short proof of concepts through to year-long multi-million pound global roll-outs. However, no matter how large or small the project, the true value Mark brings to his work is in the guidance he provides to senior stakeholders. In essence, he assists them to implement more effective processes and drive better behaviours within their finance teams.

Helping organisations transform their business with SAP S/4HANA is Mark’s current focus. The benefits of S/4HANA are numerous, including the simplification of tasks, embedded analytics and improved user engagement. Whilst the eventual move from SAP Business Suite into S/4HANA is inevitable, the journey to it is not always clear. Mark’s ability to understand an organisation’s needs coupled with his deep understanding of S/4HANA provides clarity and eases their transition.

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

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