Where are we with SAP FSCM in 2012?

27 January 2012

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

Over the past couple of years I have written many blogs, articles and papers on SAP FSCM. I've worked closely with the SAP Product Management team that covers SAP FSCM and also had the privilege to work with many great customers, both large and small, in different industry sectors. During this time, SAP FSCM has evolved into a strong and expansive suite of modules.

Background

The first thing to point out is that the scope of the term "SAP FSCM" has slowly grown. A few years back SAP FSCM represented four core modules:

  • Collections Management
  • Credit Management
  • Dispute Management
  • Biller Direct

To learn more about these processes the blog 'What exactly is SAP FSCM?' is a good reference document to understand the challenges a business may be facing and how these modules can overcome some of them.

Collections Management is perhaps the heart beat of the SAP FSCM solution. It replaces manual processes and when demo'ed to a Credit Collection team this is the module that provides the most benefit to the team and therefore the one you receive the best feedback from. Check out 5 reasons why your Accounts Receivable team should be using a Collections Worklist within SAP FSCM.

In essence the traditional SAP FSCM covered the core Accounts Receivables process and did not touch the remaining part of the true Finance Supply Chain which covers Treasury and Accounts Payable. Over the last couple of years this has been rectified and SAP will provide a picture of the SAP Financial Supply Chain looking more like the following diagram.

MarkChalfen-SAPFSCM2012


Innovation

SAP has invested heavily in the development of the core SAP FSCM modules detailed above. This can be seen by the number of changes made within the recent Enhancement Packages. Significant developments were made in both Enhancement Package 4 and Enhancement Package 5. Enhancement Package 5 was released at the end of 2011 and the following blog provides a high level overview of some of the new functionality available within this release - Enhancement Pack 5 functionality within SAP FSCM.

Competitiveness


SAP FSCM is mainly of interest to existing users of SAP's Business Suite platform. It therefore has a massive target audience and as more companies upgrade to ERP 6 (SAP Business Suite 7) they look at SAP FSCM as a possible new enhancement to implement after the technical upgrade has been performed.

In the latest versions of SAP FSCM two large changes have been made to widen the potential client base.

  1. Collections Management can now use SAP data and non SAP. This allows companies that have a main ERP system and a couple of smaller non SAP ERP systems to use a single system to collect cash via SAP FSCM. This means companies who were considering using other cloud based solutions that could consolidate data from many systems no longer need to look outside of SAP for a solution.
  2. SAP FSCM can be installed across a two client landscape. However the core data needed to be on a 4.7 ERP system or above. Recently this has been increased to include 4.6 meaning that the considerable group of companies still on 4.6 could benefit from SAP FSCM.

With both of these factors and all of the recent innovations my belief is that SAP now has the leading solution for Companies that manage their Accounts Receivables in SAP. I would not be surprised to see Companies moving away from non SAP solutions to manage their Credit Collections process to use SAP FSCM. Check out Can SAP conquer the Credit Collections market?

Process enhancement

A single system cannot alone provide the potential benefits that can be achieved with SAP FSCM. In order to see the true benefits from a technical solution implementation is the required to change the business process and the behaviours of the Credit Collection team. Therefore it is always my recommendation that a business process change exercise is done at the same time as the technical implementation. It should not be done prior to the project, as the business will not have a full understanding of the potential technical benefits, and it should not be done after.

The following blog covers this in more detail - Just 1 tip for your SAP FSCM project

Re-branding

Throughout 2011, SAP further re-branded SAP FSCM. The core modules of Collection, Credit Dispute and Biller Direct were re-branded as "SAP Receivables Management". The core products still fall under the SAP FSCM umbrella however as the SAP FSCM product has grown SAP Receivables Management is a better description of where the products actually sit. Check out Is SAP Receivables Management more attractive to a client that already has a Shared Service Centre?

The product name also aligns closely to the Finance team "Accounts Receivable". Through different channels SAP have been pushing Shared Services and SAP Receivables Management is a great fit to align processes within a Shared Service Centre.

The future

Everyone always wants to know what is coming round the corner. As I mentioned before SAP has made a number of recent innovations within this suite of modules. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog (What new functionality should SAP look to implement in the future?) looking at what new functionality SAP should include in future innovations.

In 2012 I would add that SAP should look at adding some core ERP based reporting as a number of potential SAP FSCM clients are put off by the product as they do not use SAP BW. Customers either have to create their own ABAP reports or extract data into their own non SAP reporting systems. A common complaint I get is that with all of the new enhancements that have been made within ERP on the functionality a small amount of standard reporting in ERP would save them effort in non standard report writing.

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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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