Complicated and robust, this suite delivers a total solution with rigorous and exhaustive planning

What is our primary use case?

Our company analyzes material inventory and then processes the financial accounting which is handled by the system we created using the product.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that the reporting is fast. We can see the results from that in that our commissions come in fast. That is the main advantage.  

What needs improvement?

This is an integrated system so it is very complex. It is not like Windows or like Microsoft products where you can use Word or you use Excel and it is familiar and easy to use. The interface is something that is very confusing from my point of view. It can and should be simplified. It needs some work on the front end to be more user-friendly and customizable to the user's needs.  

It is not a very good product from the perspective of ease-of-use. Trying to implement it is like you want to prepare some food. You have raw materials like spices in a pile but there is no recipe as to how to mix them. It is a recipe missing the proportion to mix the spices in.  

In the case of S/4HANA, that recipe depends on how the organization requires it to operate. A better result depends upon the implementation partner's decisions in handling the wide range of choices offered by the product. If these decisions are not good, once the product is already developed, you may come to know after years of using it that it was not implemented optimally. Then you end up making customizations and work-arounds because of this initial implementation. That is bad practice. Customization and work-arounds will only lead to more complexity. It is a very big product that can not be understood in a short span of time and implemented quickly. Meticulous planning is ultimately important.  

A lot depends on the implementation partner and if they understand your needs. An implementation partner who rushes in too quickly with a solution can get it wrong and that can cause major problems in the long run.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We started the implementation of S/4HANA in 2017.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Any glitches and problems would all depend very strongly on the implementation, predominately. Our integration is very near perfect, but it needs a highly skilled team taking lots of time to understand and maintain it properly. Because implementation is less customized it is better than in most other industries. When it comes to our own industry and our own investment in our industry with our own company stressors, it has to be customized properly.  

One person will not be able to understand and manage all the processes of the modules. That is not practically possible to have that type of skill set. The product needs to be managed by a well-integrated team that can work together and separately with their own responsibility for maintenance and execution.  

Ultimately one person will need to have an in-depth knowledge of how the parts work together to orchestrate the result. All this has to come together at the time of designing. All of the team will be working with some lack of knowledge about the whole of the system or the in-depth knowledge of some other team member's roles. The integration of the team is as important as the integration of the product. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of S/4HANA is as good as it can be. The reason that we moved from our old ERP was a lack of scalability. That is exactly the reason. We moved to S/4HANA because we knew the scalability was good.  

We use it company-wide on a daily basis and across multiple websites now. If we need to it is possible to scale up from there in whatever way we need to.  

How are customer service and technical support?

Our specialized support team does sometimes work with SAP support. The support is good but it may depend on what you can provide. Sometimes we can trace volumes ourselves and we can get the solutions from that. It can often minimize the time it takes to get a solution. Using SAP to provide the solution takes more time. But sometimes we need them to keep moving ahead.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were having trouble with our other ERP solution which is a product that has not been very successful outside of Arab countries. That learning experience is why we are in a good position to implement S/4HANA as a better solution.  

How was the initial setup?

The installation setup requires specific knowledge of the system and how it works. I am not from the technical side myself but I know a lot of configuration is required. It is more-or-less complex depending on the scope of how the product will be modeled for use.  

What about the implementation team?

For the installation, we appointed a separate SAP IT partner. Along with that, our entire company was involved with implementing this project.  

It definitely requires maintenance from SAP support as well as our own specialized teams.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This is an expensive product.  

What other advice do I have?

My recommendation to people considering S/4HANA as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is to invest in it if they can afford it and need it. But, I strongly recommend that the implementation should be considered very carefully. SAP software is a very capable solution but it is only worth it if you approach it knowing that you will be spending three, four, or five years just to be able to understand it fully. It is not just an investment in capital, it is an investment in learning and time.  

It is definitely a good product. It is costly and needs a quality team for maintaining and integrating the product.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would have a hard time making a rating of SAP S/4HANA that is useful for every user. If someone already has some expertise in ERP expertise, it is different than if they have none. The solution itself can be a ten for one aspect of its function and it can be a three or four in other aspects depending on what the user needs and understands. Cost-wise it can be anything from one to ten depending on the value it provides to the organization investing in it.  

Personally, from the functionality point, I think it is one of the best products. The integration is good and the SAP team helps with their continuous support to help users reap the fruit of their investment in the software system. We took the time to have the knowledge of business and how the product could work for us to make adopting this product a success. In our case, I think the solution is around a seven-and-a-half out of ten.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

Version 1809
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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