If HANA is the answer, what is the question?

19 May 2011

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

Having just returned from the SAP UK World Tour which included the key note speech by Vishal Sikka (@vsikka) it is clear that the answer is “HANA”. Sitting in the audience in the UK you could hear a pin drop as Vishal spoke passionately about the agile implementation of HANA at a number of core customers. The stats and figures spoke for themselves and anyone following the twitter feeds would have been impressed with what they were reading. The tool itself has only been implemented by a core set of SAP foot soldiers. The common message was SAP wanted its customers to set it a challenge to see if HANA was up to the test.

The technology and solution seem to speak for themselves and from what I have read and heard the product will slowly evolve and grow. With the examples we were shown, SAP’s customers should have some confidence around the solution and I can only assume that there will be plenty of interested parties.

However the main thing I took away from the session, and also the session by Carl Streatfield at the SAP World Tour, was that the ball is in the customer’s court now. SAP is laying down a challenge to you. All of the reports and processes that you have been told you can’t have in the past perhaps you can now. All of the flexibility of data and combinations of data that you could not get in a report you can now. Customers should not be concerned around the time it takes to create or prepare a report, and all data is now available with HANA.

This got me thinking – customers need to up their game. There are many customers who have highly qualified individuals churning data to create reports. Customers need to get these people and change their mindset to see if they can identify potential benefit.  If data and speed is no longer an issue business users can now start to add real value. Whilst customers may change their technology to adapt HANA they should also look to change what they do on a day to day basis. The simple opportunity of reducing headcount which currently perform manual exercises is one thing, but a braver tact is to re-engineer those business users who understand the data to make better business decisions. From a personal note I attended a track on PCM. By having product and customer information more detailed analysis can be performed on lower level costs enabling change to occur to reduce unnecessary costs or identify new revenue opportunities.

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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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