What’s the difference between software releases and TV manufacturing?

10 November 2010

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

We’ve all been there - we need to purchase a new TV but hesitate because we know a new better quality TV will come along shortly with enhanced in features and functionality. So whilst looking around and comparing prices, there are really only 2 options: 

  1. Wait for when the perfect TV at right price is released.  Although for how long you’ll wait you’re not entirely sure. 
  2. Just buy one that fits your current requirements, and future needs.

One thing is for sure, whether its this year or the next couple of years, there will always be new product releases with new ‘must have’ functionalities. And this is what TV manufacturers do. They continue to enhance the quality of their products.

The same can be said of SAP and its varied products. Within SAP’s ERP solution there has been a lot of new, attractive, functionality released in recent time. Most of this has been drip fed via their Enhancement Packs. Check out this link - https://websmp104.sap-ag.de/erp-ehp - for more information. 

I see lots of similarities between software releases and TV manufacturing. A good TV now would be “HD ready” and maybe even “3D ready”. This means where the services are available the TV you have purchased can show HD quality TV or even 3D TV. In the UK only a handful of programmes are available on 3D, and there are a growing number of channels that are now produced in HD. (I can confirm there is a massive difference between HD TV and standard TV)

Within SAP, once you move to ERP6, you are in fact “HD ready”. You have the ability to switch on to “HD quality” products and functionality, or HD channels and programmes. You can simply activate the required functionality within an Enhancement Package to allow you to get the functionality you require. It is also clear that if your ERP version is an older version than that of ERP6, you cannot get “HD TV”. So a TV, or ERP system, that was say 7 years old, would not be HD ready. If you wanted HD TV you would need to upgrade your TV, or your ERP system.

Within my area of speciality, SAP FSCM, you can’t really benefit from the solution unless you are on ERP6. (You could ALE link your older version of ERP to a new ERP6 system and design your SAP FSCM solution). Within the various Enhancement Packages there has been plenty of fresh new functionality released and there is plenty more planned. Some customers might be put off by the fact new functionality is planned to be released. It is like knowing there is some new functionality that might be released for a TV. However we need to come back to the first line of the blog and a key word. The key word is “need”.

Does your business need SAP FSCM? Ask that internally and depending on knowledge of the  product you may get varying answers. However the question needs to be re-structured – “do you want to improve your cash flow and your accounts receivables processes?” The answer here would be more consistent throughout your business.

If there is a need to improve or change or enhance, then the time to do that should be now. The reason is pretty clear you can start to benefit from using the new solution, and changing your current business process providing tangible benefits sooner rather than later.  Yes there will be new functionality released, but this can be reviewed and added at a later date, the most important thing for your organisation is to better itself, to improve processes, reduce cash flow and have a more organised Accounts Receivable team.

My message is twofold

  1. If you want to be “HD Ready” and benefit from the potential that is out there in the new world, look towards upgrading or re-implementing to ERP 6.
  2. If you need to improve your cash flow, your Accounts Receivable process then consider the business benefits achievable within the current SAP FSCM solution
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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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