At the UK & Ireland SAP User Group conference in Birmingham it’s hard to avoid talking about SAP’s S/4HANA, the company’s newest iteration of its enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
Initially rolled out as on-premises software, users now have a second S/4HANA to choose from if they decide to embrace the cloud, something easier said than done for enterprises with legacy issues.
Speaking to Computer Business Review, Paul Helms, global head for SAP S/4HANA Cloud said: “The biggest challenge that I see on a day-to-day basis is dragging our customers, our partners and ourselves into the future, because it [cloud] is the ultimate way of consuming an ERP solution and a way of consuming 40 years of industry knowledge.”
For SAP S/4HANA Cloud it’s the customer mind-set when it comes to cloud technology that is one of the biggest challenges, as Mr Helms notes.
“Not everyone is ready to make that leap. There’re still trying to figure out how to fix what they did five years ago, rather than how do I enable tomorrow in a modern way.”
In a survey of 345 user organisation conducted by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG) ahead of Connect 2018, they found that 12 percent were using S/4HANA, with a further 58 percent commenting that they are planning to use it.
The survey didn’t ask about the cloud edition of S/4HANA, but its uptake is significantly lower.
“We need to have that mind-set shift, we are still in the early adopter phase; we need the early majority to start really picking this up.” He adds confidently: “They will.”
When the user group asked respondents why they would not be moving to S/4HANA, over 30 percent commented that cost is a key concern, while 20 percent responded that it will require considerable change management at their organisation.
Talking to Computer Business Review Paul Cooper Chairman of UKISUG told us that: “Change management and the cost of change are key things people face up to.”
He recalls back when users were moving to SAP PCC6, the main conversion pre S/4HANA, and how: “As a user group we worked alongside the SAP global upgrade office. We ran a lot of events helping people to understand the tools that were available to them to understand what the business case was like, what the benefits were like in terms of the additional functionality and different ways of working that would be available to them.”
Whether or not people fully embrace and decided to move to S/4HANA or its cloud edition, one thing is clear, talking to users about any kind of move is tough – and to the cloud is even harder.
There is something worth remembering here, something both Paul Cooper and Paul Helms told us about the cloud; not everyone is ready to make that leap and for some people moving to the cloud may just not be possible or desirable.