Published on May 24, 2021 – Alexander Greb, Vice President & Global Practice Lead Intelligent ERP, Value and Innovation Consulting at Westernacher
Every once in a while, we come to the point where new technology acts as a game changer and turns our world upside down, in business and in private. Digitalization is one of these events and as former technological revolutions have shown, it is essential to draw the right conclusions: Digitalization is not about continuing to do the same things you always did just a bit better, but doing things you were not able to do before based on the capabilities of these new technologies.
It makes no sense glorifying 20-year-old systems, since their technical limitations dictated the way you work with them. SAP S/4HANA, our fully digitized ERP suite, provides you with capabilities that enable you to up your game and become an Intelligent Enterprise.
One of the most important capabilities, made possible by this digital core, is “Insight into action”.
But what does this mean?
Pure “insight” gives you the ability to get a comprehensive, real-time view of your situation. This includes information about your liquidity, order stats, assets, customer satisfaction and more.
Of course, you were to a certain extent able to get this information in legacy ERPs, but this was based on a static data snapshot made of pre-calculated aggregates within your database.
This kind of data not only is outdated but imprecise. Well-founded management decisions are difficult since you are working in a foggy environment that definitely limits your ability not only to react to unforeseen events but to recognize them as that.
The unified data model in SAP S/4HANA enables the “Single source of truth” and calculates KPIs on the fly by not using aggregates with undetermined timestamps but actual line items. By this, the digital core enables your KPIs to reflect reality “as it is”. You see your inventory in real time. Right now and precise.
But the data model itself is just the foundation of these new kinds of insights. To make them operable the embedded analytics provide you with the right tools to attain “attention support” and guide you to the occurrences where it matters.
The same rules apply to finance, where the universal journal embodies former separated tables and ledgers and enables you a “soft close”, an on-demand consolidation that provides your executives with all the relevant information for their management decisions. In current COVID times and lockdowns, this has helped many of our customers to steer their enterprise through rough waters.
But still, “insight” alone is not enough when you have a break between your analytics system and your transactional system as given in legacy ECC systems. Whenever you are forced to leave your analytical basis you lose context and orientation. Furthermore, any automation, decision support or AI is unable to give you a hand since you have a media break between these two disciplines and your transactional support isn’t able to connect. This is where the “… into action” part comes in, guiding you to realization of your decisions and operations in workflows and highly automated intelligent processes.
See for example the cockpit of MRP Live in SAP S/4HANA. Former MRPs are black box batches that run through the night, set your planning straight and present results in the morning with the exception list – you are then left alone in solving these problems. The Next-gen MRP in SAP S/4HANA converts these exceptions in solutions based on the scenario-building and simulation capabilities of MRP Live. Automatically.
Another example is the Demand Driven MRP, a component of SAP S/4HANA that checks your demand and replenishment situation each night and offers you proposals for optimal heights of buffers and inventory that you can put into action via a click. What used to be an inventory optimizing project you did once a year in Excel without system support has now become an automated, routine process that provides you with the best delivery capacity while at the same time optimizes your assets and liquidity.
Abilities you need in times of lockdowns, unsure supply chains and financial uncertainties.
These are just a few examples how our next-gen ERP SAP S/4HANA enables capabilities like “insight into action” which is true decision support at its best and provides tangible innovation that turns you into an Intelligent Enterprise, ready and prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.
We at Westernacher Consulting are dedicated to guiding and supporting you on your way to becoming an Intelligent Enterprise.
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