What is our primary use case?
There could be many use cases for this product. The use cases will be different depending on the industry where it is employed. It could range from the manufacturing industry to the retail industry. The actual use case could be anything.
The solution is deployed with two possible methods. One is the on-premises deployment (with AWS) and the second one is the cloud deployment. You follow the software development life cycle for deploying the solution. First, you do the project preparation followed by the solution design. This is followed by the actual realization of the design plan. In the final testing, you engage in three go-live activities. When this is successful, you follow it with an actual live deployment. With the go-live successful, there would be PGLS (Post Go-Live Support), which is nothing but the support aspect. So implementation typically follows the normal software deployment life cycle. The approach could be anything, like support could be a waterfall approach (project activities into linear sequential phases) or it could be a more aggressive approach.
What is most valuable?
Because SAP is a part of ERP the features range from finance functions to manufacturing functions to quality control functions to procurement functions — anything you might need in development planning. So you can have tight integration between all the functions in which a manufacturing industry operates to develop market and distribute its products. The S/4HAHA platform provides insight into the processes which can become part of robotic process automation. S/4HANA as a platform is enabled for artificial intelligence and machine learning. So you can use it to help simplify your workload with automation.
What needs improvement?
This is the latest offering by the SAP company. Of course, there are the pros and cons to on-premises deployment versus cloud deployment — especially as far as the infrastructure maintenance is concerned. There is not so much difference as far as activities are concerned. But having said that the cloud deployment is on AWS (Amazon Web Service). It is always the latest offering and the cloud is indeed today's emerging market.
From what I understand, SAP is already at work focusing on improving the CE (Customer Experience) and the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) as far as S/4HANA is concerned. They are working with having better robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, which can work with this ERP. So there are already new concepts on the way. They are making a lot of use of Python technology, and they are making heavy investments to make it much more user-friendly and customer-friendly. Automation is at the center of their development focus.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have had an S/4HANA implementation for some time.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability of the solution is fine. We have no issues with that.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
For scalability, the skill set required is very specific. You need someone who has a functional and business knowledge along with technical knowledge. A candidate or the consultant who has experience in the difference between the data technological concerns and the business trends can easily go through the entire deployment very easily. Having industry experience is very much required for deployment and scaling.
How are customer service and technical support?
As a consultancy, we provide some of the technical support for SAP. The support we provide is very much function specific. I am from a finance background. For finance-related support, I could be the key person in our company. For materials management, it would be someone else. Materials and quality management can be handled by a production management expert. One team member may be the marketing, distribution and logistics expert. Each subject matter expert will be deployed on the support of a particular ERP based on their areas of expertise. It is not a one-man show. One person can not run the entire support services as an expert in every area. It is very much specific to the role the candidate needs to play in addressing the subject matter as an expert in that particular function.
How was the initial setup?
As far as the deployment on AWS is concerned, it is the cloud deployment. It is a little complex. But once it is deployed, the post maintenance and the support services are very easy because the upgrades and maintenance are not handled manually. It is just like on smartphones where the patches get auto-upgraded. In the same way, the patches or the upgrades are automatically pushed to the ERP on cloud. So there is no manual maintenance required going forward. There is no downtime required. For these reasons, clients are attracted to going with cloud deployments. But others are still going with on-premises deployments for various reasons.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
There are a lot of competitors coming into the market. The main organizations as far as IT or information technology companies are involved already. We have Infosys, there is Oracle, there is Siemens, there is Accenture, there is Cognizant — all of these are from the IT organizations' perspective. From consulting companies, we have got the Lloyd Group, KPMG International (Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler), PricewaterhouseCoopers, and others who are all into this. There are other up and coming competitors and consultants like BDO Mauritius (Binder Dijker Otte). All these various kinds of organizations are good at deployment and the support of SAP solutions. The main difference is in their approaches to providing solutions that are on-premises or on the cloud.
What other advice do I have?
The advice that I would give to people who want to use S/4HANA on AWS is that a specific study needs to be involved in the implementation process. It is what we call a discovery session. The idea is to discover all the independent needs for the use of the product. This includes things like the size of the organization, the size of the industry, the number of users expected, the revenue, et cetera. It should also include projections into the future aspects of organic and inorganic growth. The budget may be the main issue for many organizations. The deployment plan should be created based on keeping all these discovered factors in mind. This can affect the deployment model or choices as to whether to go for SAP S/4HANA on the cloud, on-premises or if another ERP may be a better choice. But in any case, all the factors need to be taken into consideration. It is not a black and white decision.
On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate SAP S/4HANA as very near to a ten. Maybe nine because there is no competitor like SAP in the market right now to compare the product to and maybe there is room for improvement. I think that Oracle and Microsoft are looking to close the gap. But, looking at the current market share of SAP, it is at the top so it is near to a ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?
Amazon Web Services (AWS)