UKISUG CONNECT 2021 – S/4HANA, RISE and customer relationships

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Despite the travel disruption caused by Storm Arwen and the Omicron variant, it was fantastic to see so many people from across the SAP community come together at UKISUG CONNECT last week. It has been a long and challenging two years. But from listening to many of the customer sessions during the conference it’s clear that organisations haven’t stood still when it comes to their usage of SAP.

In fact, our latest member research revealed that 26 percent of organisations are using S/4HANA, which is an increase from 16 percent from 12-months previously. So, while the pandemic has delayed some organisations’ plans to move to S/4HANA, in some instances it has had the opposite effect as it has led to organisations accelerating their digital plans. It was definitely very noticeable the uptick we had in S/4HANA customer speakers at CONNECT compared to previous years.

With the 2027 maintenance deadline for ECC 6.0 approaching much of the conversation was about ‘when’ organisations move to S/4HANA rather than ‘if’. Which brings us to the issue of skills and training, both or which remain a concern. The figures from our member research revealed that a third (34 percent) of organisations rated the level of training provided by their partner during their S/4HANA implementation as poor or very poor. Of those organisations yet to move to S/4HANA, 71 percent were concerned a lack of available skills will slow their migration.

Selecting the right partner, managing change (a topic I will cover in more detail in a future post) and putting training in place are all key issues. As a user group we have been working on providing content that helps address these issues and we also know that SAP has been putting pressure on partners to improve delivery quality. It benefits the whole SAP community if organisations have a great implementation experience. SAP needs to help partners provide a better training experience, and partners need to up their game. As customers, we also need to make sure partners are providing us with correctly certified consultants.

Training is critical to a smooth transition to S/4HANA – it’s a new system, where many of us will be following new processes to ensure we drive ROI, but this will falter if our people aren’t properly trained. We as users also have a responsibility to drive better and more tailored training. We can’t expect an excellent experience if we don’t spend time helping partners really understand our unique needs. As one community, we are perfectly primed to make sure we get training right as more and more of our organisations move to S/4HANA.


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