Where is ERP systems going? With growing opportunities and computerization of more and more business areas, user expectations of these solutions are growing. Manufacturers and suppliers, introducing modern systems operating in real-time, want to meet these expectations. The latest SAP S/4 HANA platform has taken the market by storm; one of the first implementations in the country is conducted by the Hicron team.
Expectations of everyday work tools are systematically growing: phones need to be more functional, laptops more efficient, and the software safe and fast. Where is, in all this, a place for ERP systems – stable, sophisticated solutions that support hundreds of business processes, improving management of even the largest companies?
Suppliers and vendors of this class of solutions keep progressing to come with new products that meet the expectations of business. On May 6, SAP officially announced the launch of the next generation of software: SAP S/4HANA (platform was launched on February 3). It is a successor to SAP R/3, functioning since 1992.
“The launch of the platform was received enthusiastically by the market, with more than 370 clients globally. There are works underway on the first deployments of this solution in Poland. One of these projects is conducted by a long-term partner of SAP – Hicron – who are implementing S/4HANA at Global Cosmed, distributor and manufacturer of household chemicals and cosmetics” says Iwona Stamper, Partner Account Manager at SAP Poland.
The introduction of S/4HANA was a great challenge for SAP AG. The enormity of the preparatory work in conjunction with innovative philosophy has resulted in the creation of new quality in the market for integrated enterprise management systems. Almost every developer in the company participated in creating this solution. They wrote down a total of approximately 400 million lines of code. Implementation of S/4HANA is considered to be the most important decision of development in the forty-year history of this giant from Waldorff. What are the novelties it offers to its users?
The main objective was to provide a solution that would work noticeably faster, allowing multiple users to simultaneously process large volumes of data without the need for cumbersome delays in system response. SAP R/3 – the previous version of SAP software – is designed to run on any database (AnyDB), but this makes the system less efficient and highly complex in terms of programming.
After nearly 20 years, SAP AG introduces a new generation of ERP based on the far more effective SAP HANA – data are processed in RAM (in-memory database), which in practice allows simultaneous support for multiple queries, thereby accelerating, for example, analytical applications. The speed increase of S/4HANA is noticeable. The database size needed to keep the system was reduced in comparison to its predecessor by 10:1.
“This solution is particularly valuable for complex systems available for multiple users, requesting numerous queries and fast response times. An example of the use of SAP HANA is its implementation for the NBA, the American Basketball League, which – thanks to the implementation of this platform – can now make fans around the world able to use its stats.nba.com service, offering unprecedented analytical capabilities and access to several decades of statistics” says Michał Guzek, Managing Partner at Hicron, a provider of IT solutions, which was the first in Poland to implement the S/4 HANA. “We see huge potential in SAP S/4 HANA, especially considering the relationship of the new platform with Big Data and the Internet of Things, which are becoming more and more important market trends.
The letter “S” in the name of the latest generation of SAP systems in English stands for “simple”, or “simplicity”. Another key objective of SAP was the establishment of a user friendly product, which will be equipped with a modern and intuitive SAP Fiori interface, giving users the ability to access the most important functions of the system via a web browser that supports HTML5.
Thus, the well-known (though sometimes rather complex) interface of SAP systems is gaining a new face, more attractive for the user, consistent with the principles of UX design, making another step toward simplifying process management, even in the largest enterprises.
Business is increasingly “further away from a desk”. The need to combine the stability and security of the ERP system collides with the need to continuously access data from different locations, also through mobile devices. Following this trend, SAP S/4HANA makes it possible to maintain the system in a private, public or hybrid cloud in terms most relevant to users.
“It is important that both new and existing recipients of SAP systems receive full technical and conceptual support on migration to SAP S/4HANA. The manufacturer, in collaboration with suppliers, puts tremendous pressure to simplify this process to the maximum, to best configure the system according to the client’s needs. We hope that the S/4HANA will actually change the image of ERP systems, combining the speed and flexibility with well-known characteristics of ERP systems: mapping of even the most complex business processes, stability and far-reaching optimization” says Michał Guzek of Hicron.