Discuss business intelligence, integration, compliance and a host of other SAP-related topics – implementation, best practices and resources to negotiate the world of SAP better!

November 13, 2017

'Intelligent ERP' to empower enterprises in digital transformation

SAP's TechEd event organized in Bangalore in October 2017 presented us with amazing opportunities to showcase Infosys' thought leadership. A premier SAP technology conference for technologists, engineers, and developers, its theme this year was the Intelligent Enterprise. The event showcased S/4HANA Cloud and Leonardo-based solutions with a focus on machine learning and integration with open source.

 

As we are at the forefront of business and digital transformation for our clients, this event was a great platform to present the Infosys perspective on the adoption of Intelligent ERP to enhance user experience and innovation.

 

With the evolution of in-memory computing techniques like HANA, data processing speed has increased manifold. Likewise, the evolution of machine learning technologies like correlation analysis, supervised learning, unsupervised learning, IOT, blockchain, AI, etc., has created many new possibilities in terms of what SAP can do for business.

 

When clients embark on a digital transformation journey, they expect more from their SAP investment. In the digital era, they want their ERP to be more "intelligent", rather than just a "system of records:" They need their ERP Application to process huge volumes of structured and unstructured data, synthesize the information, make sense of it, and be able to take appropriate action.

 

Ashok Panda, Head - ValuePLUS COE, and Vittal Shenoy, Senior Principal Technology Architect and Head - New Technology Services, participated in this event and shared their point of view on 'How "Intelligent ERP" Powered by Machine Learning will Enable Clients in their "Digital Transformation" Journey'.

 

SAP S/4HANA is SAP's most revolutionary intelligent ERP system. Built on an advanced in-memory computing platform, it connects all enterprise processes to provide real-time information and insights while seamlessly integrating the enterprise with the digital world. SAP Leonardo, with capabilities like IOT, machine learning, blockchain, etc., is redefining what SAP can do for business. 

 

While intelligent ERP systems provide a huge opportunity to fast-track the digital journey, enterprises need to be aware of adoption challenges. They should also understand how to maximize business benefits and the potential impact on business.

 

Follow this link to listen to our point of view at TechEd 2017 on How "Intelligent ERP" Powered by Machine Learning will Enable Clients in their "Digital Transformation" Journey.

November 1, 2017

Demystifying SAP Leonardo - Building a System of Intelligence

"SAP Leonardo will unlock the full potential of the intelligent enterprise" - Bill McDermott

SAP Leonardo is a cloud-based intelligent system focusing purely on building "self-driving business" using digital business transformation. It integrates breakthrough latest technologies and services under one umbrella. It helps enterprise digitally transform SAP system as System of record to systems of intelligence. 

Beyond the IOT to Broader Bundle of Technologies  

SAP Leonardo is not a single tool, platform or system like SAP Cloud Platform, HANA or S/4HANA that enterprise needs to start the digital journey. It has innovative portfolio of technologies & design thinking as service to get started with the digital journey. The idea is that customer can take advantages of these emerging technologies at the same time bringing in the Design Thinking approach. It is imperative when working with a system of innovation or for a large transformation Design Thinking increases the success rate.  The combination together defines Leonardo.


How it is different than the other MI based products 

Combination with Design thinking approach enables a customer to quickly put together ideation, identifying the use case to solve & bringing technologies in an integrated way to deliver working prototype which business can touch & feel. 

In the age of digital, the transformation for business are no longer technology led rather they are Business innovation focused. SAP Leonardo enables customers to innovate easily without a much lower investment in technologies, data scientists & infrastructure.

Why now this 

SAP recognizes Digital Transformation within an enterprise requires a combination of next-generation technologies. It is utmost important for customers to build a system of intelligence by connecting it to a system of transactional records (ERP) to automate processes, enables connectivity and quickly adopt to game-changing applications - or develop solutions to power new business models. SAP understands and recognizes the need to have solution which are beyond SAP technologies and therefore it has

        - Invested heavily in cloud and IOT platform

Partnered with apple, google, Siemens ...etc

        - And enabling the platform to work on open source technologies 

Adopting SAP Leonardo services is a step towards embarking on the journey of creating a system of Intelligence - it is not a question of if but when 

1. It is the beginning of SAP Leonardo: Emerging technologies like MI and IOT has a traction in the Industry, but we are at an interesting position which is at beginning of an exciting journey to fully understand it's potential. 

2. Design Thinking led approach: It enables to navigate from ideation to rapid prototype, the concept of "Fail Early , learn Early" helps in identifying the right business case 

3. Go slow not big: "See, touch and feel" enables enterprises to embark on pilot to initially validate the solution and its feasibility within their business

4. Think holistically: The digital transformation for enterprises should be Business innovation focused, not technology focused. Enterprises that adopt "best in class" processes will experience enhanced metrics for cost and quality performance.


Over the past few decades SAP has empowered us to deliver quality services to the business, customers and employees using its core ERP. Consumers use intelligent assistants and expects the same conversational interaction and intelligence with their business software. SAP Leonardo provides combination of emerging technology enabling enterprises to be much closer to a more exciting digital journey, where the current system of record can be transformed into System of intelligence. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and enterprises need to move rapidly in order to gain the competitive advantage over others and not investing in your systems is not an option anymore. 

Several organization are embarking this journey, the question for you is "are you ready"?  


September 7, 2017

Learn More - with AI-enabled Infosys Knowledge Management Platform




While the evolution of technology has made HR digital transformation essential, the shift to cloud has accelerated this by making best-in-class enterprise software solutions easily accessible. To reap the benefits of this digital transformation, organizations have to discard old school ways of executing change and gain agility. Leveraging multidisciplinary insights, skills and expertise using a capable knowledge management system is essential to stay abreast of evolving business needs. 


Infosys, as a trusted consulting partner with close to 30 years of predictable delivery, can help you assess and learn about your current technology landscape, find solutions, and prepare a roadmap for your digital transformation journey. To enable this, we have created the Infosys Cloud Assessment Readiness Toolkit, tailored to provide deep insights and help you make informed decisions about new investments, high-priority areas and leveraging existing investments.


Much depends on both speed and security in the software as a service (SaaS) business model. Infosys uses its expertise to guide you to find a comprehensive, multifaceted security program that best fits your landscape, while our ACT (Accelerated Cloud Transformation) methodology ensures speed. We will partner with you in every stage of the transformation, disseminating best practices and rolling out cloud-specific risk assessments and quality metrics, enabling seamless executions.


As new functionalities are continuously released and consumed with SaaS based HR digital transformation, it will be imperative to implement a knowledge management system that can enable easy accessibility to processes, best practices, methodologies and information sources. Design Thinking discovery workshops are a key aspect of our delivery, enabling stakeholders to approach their problems, pain points and questions outside traditional formats.


With advancements in machine learning and natural language processing, AI tools can now be leveraged to help record, search, filter and apply knowledge to create a knowledge management system that provides employees access to the right information at the right time. Infosys has institutionalized knowledge management as a core element providing the following key tools:


  • KShop: A content management portal for submitting, searching and rating K-Assets.

  • Konnect: A professional networking platform to connect with people, discover expertise and share knowledge.

  • KMail: An automated email response system for communities that helps develop a dynamic knowledge repository to promote learning and re-use.


With Infosys Nia - the Next Generation Integrated Artificial Intelligence Platform, we can help organizations collect and aggregate organizational data from people, processes and legacy systems into a self-learning knowledge base. Repetitive business and IT processes can be automated, freeing up human effort to solve higher-value customer problems that require creativity, passion, and imagination.


Data about employees' career goals, competencies, performance and interests can be analyzed to provide insights into the learning development needs of employees and suggest courses accordingly. Incorporating AI in continuous learning can enable the workforce to continuously upgrade their skill sets and competencies, thereby helping organizations to stay relevant and ahead of the competition in the ever-changing environment. The key to success in the digital world is continuous learning and engaged knowledge management. Infosys Nia, designed on three core platforms - Data Platform, Knowledge Platform and Automation Platform - can help organizations to automate, amplify and reinvent.


Infosys is a Gold-level sponsor at SuccessConnect 2017 event hosted in Las Vegas. I look forward to meeting you at our booth no. 26 and discuss how we can Learn More together!




August 24, 2017

Enable Innovation and Design Thinking - Do More with Infosys

Leveraging our extensive experience gained by catering to various industries across the globe, including Fortune 500 companies, Infosys has built a very mature HCM practice. Our expertise, accrued over time developing various methodologies, tools and accelerators for our clients, has helped us consistently achieve delivery excellence and provide business value and cost savings.

Infosys is also a "global services partner" to SAP, collaborating on technology, consulting, joint investment, and innovation. This partnership allows us to proactively provide ideas that can improve the ways in which our clients compete, operate, and stay relevant in the marketplace. Our innovation capabilities and core expertise in the HCM domain have equipped us to operate as a catalyst for change for our clients.

Infosys draws on our experience to provide organizations remarkable change management prowess through these capabilities:

Design Thinking

Infosys enables the HR transformation process through our "Design Thinking approach" that enables collaboration and human innovation. This approach allows us to engage with our clients with an open mind and discover directions afresh, ensuring that the outcome is user-empathetic. It also enables us to streamline and harmonize complex business processes. Our approach is designed to aid the transformational journeys clients are embarking on today and enable them to achieve key objectives:

·         Reduced TCO through mobile enablement, use of new technologies and facilitation of increasingly different ways of working.

·         Increased collaboration and innovation by leveraging new technology capabilities.

ACT Cloud Methodology

ACT (Accelerating Cloud Transformation), the cloud transformation methodology from Infosys helps enterprises in faster product deployment, roadmap definition and value realization through:

·         Harmonized and agile based implementation approach for cloud deployments.

·         Full support for initial deployment and continuous business innovation for all phases of deployment - integration, data migration, testing, training and transition.

·         Broad coverage of solutions including public, private and hybrid clouds.

·         Solutions to enable co-innovation with customers.

SCP Solutions

Our custom-built solutions developed using SCP (SAP Cloud Platform) have enabled our customers to achieve wholly integrated businesses with the highest levels of optimization and agility. Our SAP-certified solutions are scalable, secure and modular:

       Policy portal provides employees role-based access to context-sensitive personalized policy information.

       eDocket application provides reliable document management to upload, view, validate and approve documents.

       Approval center is a single-stop approval management solution for everyday approvals.

       HR analytics provides real-time data visualization for HR analysis.

       Vacation bidding for submission and approval of vacation bids for logistics clients - reduces cost and inefficiency in vacation bidding process.

Our use of best practices, fit-to-standard analysis and agile project management have had immense success in accelerating project delivery. Our solutions and methodologies have provided consistent product delivery, reduced complexity and increased quality by establishing a common framework and language for all SAP and SuccessFactors projects. Infosys helps your organization do more together through our scalable solutions that provide support for projects of all sizes - from small fast cloud deployments to comprehensive global deployments on cloud and hybrid environments.

Infosys is a Gold-level sponsor at SuccessConnect 2017 event hosted in Las Vegas. I look forward to meeting you at our booth no. 26, showcase our unique frameworks, methodologies and our design thinking led approach and explain how we can be #MoreTogether.

Engage, Collaborate, Innovate - Connect More with Infosys

As organizations, with increasingly diverse, multi-cultural workforces manage and engage a globalized millennial workforce, old school methods like emails and town hall meetings are proving inadequate. Organizations are finding methods for effective employee management as unengaged employees are less happy at work, less productive and at higher risk of attrition.

 

It is critical to create continuous engagement to allow leaders, managers and employees to communicate and collaborate freely. This allows organizations to harness collective knowledge and expertise of a diverse workforce. Social media tools like Yammer, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook and SAP Jam offer platforms to actively engage, recruit and harness the right talent.

 

In this rapidly digitizing world, organizations have to be perceived as promoting open communication, collaboration and free exchange of ideas.

 

Social media-enabled platforms can be effectively leveraged by organizations for:

  • Brand building

  • Attracting talent

  • Recruiting people with the right expertise

  • Finding people with relevant skills(within the workforce)

  • Collaborating on projects outside the organization

  • Innovating and crowdsourcing new ideas

  • Promoting social learning

  • Motivating employees with recognition on social media

 

With SAP Jam as a social collaboration platform - a core product offering from the SAP SuccessFactors HCM suite - Infosys can help you improve communication and collaboration among employees or cross-company external groups. Key goals can be announced, tasks assigned, priorities set and deadlines and auto reminders enabled with ease. Employees can post blogs or upload videos, files and more, which over time will add to a database that can be leveraged for future assignments.

 

We can further integrate learning solutions to collaborate around LMS courses with quick access to instructor-provided course recommendations and schedules to promote social learning. Another key challenge faced by organizations with a globally diversified workforce, is finding the right people with the relevant skill sets and expertise, from both within and outside the workforce. Infosys can help integrate LinkedIn profiles with your HCM solution to leverage existing employees or post job requisitions to prospective talent outside your organization.

 

We, at Infosys, have had remarkable success leveraging social media for our own HCM. Institutionalizing Yammer as the primary social media platform for connecting and collaborating with our employees resulted in significantly improved employee engagement, innovation and sharing of ideas; and in turn, better employee satisfaction and productivity.

 

Updating HCM to deal with the complexities of the evolving workforce is the need of the hour and the edge that organizations currently need in dealing with the changing business environment. From providing the flexibility to recruit, manage and engage the modern workforce to delivering strategic value, Infosys SAP SuccessFactors offerings can significantly help HR be #MoreTogether and contribute to organizational growth.

Infosys is a Gold-level sponsor at SuccessConnect 2017 event to be hosted in Las Vegas. I look forward to meeting you at our booth no. 26, showcase our solutions and share how we can Connect More.

Continue reading " Engage, Collaborate, Innovate - Connect More with Infosys " »

June 1, 2017

Understand key watch outs and mitigations for your SAP S/4HANA Central Finance program

 In my last blog titled Leverage quick wins with Central Finance solution in SAP S/4HANA I had explained the quick wins which can be leveraged by enterprises embarking on a digital transformation in Finance with S/4HANA. However, before embarking on this least disruptive option for S/4HANA adoption it is important for enterprises to gain a good understanding of some of the key watch outs, challenges, product nuances and current limitations of the Central Finance (CFIN) solution. These would enable them to prepare a future proofed plan of the project timeline, scope, solution and roadmap. In this blog I have captured some of these key learnings and challenges along with potential mitigations based on our CFIN client implementation and Proof Of Concept (POC) experiences. I will classify these experiences and learnings based on primary four categories below:

I. Project Plan and Approach
II. Solution Architecture
III. Product Issues
IV. Skills and Resources


I. Project Plan and Approach


• CFIN should always be planned as an interim or medium term solution in the roadmap for transformation to a single Finance instance with S/4HANA. Also in the long term the S/4HANA CFIN instance can be leveraged to build and deploy a global template for Finance transaction processing in S/4HANA
• Harmonized and optimized enterprise structure and master data design are key foundation for a scalable CFIN solution. Sufficient time needs to be provisioned during design phase of CFIN for these activities. 
• Co-deployment of CFIN and Global template build introduces dependencies and additional complexities which need to be considered while preparing the project plan.
• Realization of non-standard functionalities in CFIN is development heavy and scope needs to be tightly managed. Also extensive involvement from SAP for product support needs to be planned for such non standard functionalities
• SLT (System Landscape Transformation) does not support all non-SAP databases for real time replication to CFIN system. Hence a POC is recommended at a early stage of CFIN program to evaluate alternate tools like BODS (Data Services)/Web methods etc. to be used for replication of documents from non-SAP source systems/databases, not supported by SLT, to CFIN system

II. Solution Architecture

• Based on the current product features in S/4HANA 1610 Enterprise Management (EM), CFIN solution can primarily be leveraged for below functions:
o Enterprise level financial reporting at a detailed line item level for heterogeneous landscapes
o Centralized group wide reporting and monitoring functions like credit management, financial planning, financial consolidation etc.
It cannot be leveraged for centralized transaction processing scenarios like Centralized Invoice Processing, Central Period End Closing, and Central Asset Accounting etc. in a distributed Finance landscape. Primary reason being there are no reverse postings possible from CFIN system to source systems. Also a open item replicated from source system to CFIN system cannot be used in subsequent follow up transactions like Invoice, Clearing, Payment etc. in the CFIN system. This is planned in subsequent release of S/4HANA EM
• Finance Enterprise structure elements (company code, controlling area, operating concern etc.)  should be optimized, harmonized and finalized at the start of a CFIN program. This would avoid a lot of rework at later stages of a finance transformation journey
• Since primary benefit of CFIN is integrated financial reporting for a heterogeneous landscape decision on the reporting framework and structures as per statutory and management requirements, needs to be done at a early stage of the CFIN design phase
• Design decisions on key Finance foundational elements like Document splitting, Parallel ledgers, Account Based COPA etc. needs to be taken during CFIN design phase. Most of these design decisions are irreversible and hence need to be taken after a detailed analysis, since a lot of complexity and efforts are involved for any retrospective change in future.
• Guiding principles for master data transformation and cleansing to be defined at early stage of CFIN program. CFIN solution with MDG (Master Data Governance) should be leveraged for harmonizing Finance master data objects like profit centers, cost centers, Chart Of Accounts from decentralized systems. This will avoid the added complexity and cost involved in harmonization of master data in a later stage of a Finance transformation program
• Fixed asset postings from source system can only be replicated to a General Ledger account in CFIN system and not to Asset sub ledger. Due to this asset based reporting is not possible in CFIN and needs to be considered while finalizing the solution design
• With multiple OSS notes being released every month by SAP on CFIN, upgrade of the target CFIN and source systems to the latest service pack or installation of latest version of OSS notes is must.
• Data migration strategy for historical data load should be restricted to only GL balances and not line items since the initial load of FI documents in CFIN system is not triggered through SLT but via RFC to source systems. Line items load could result in performance issues in such a situation

III. Product Challenges

• SLT does not support out of box Master data replication from source to CFIN systems. Recommended to evaluate other tools like BODS (Data Services) for master data replication with additional developments
• Replication of project data (WBS elements) and is not supported out of box. Custom development required in SLT and S/4HANA CFIN system for replication of these objects on a real-time basis
• Challenges in out of box replication and transformation of Costing based COPA data from source systems to Account based COPA in target CFIN system. Custom enhancements required to support replication of Costing Based COPA documents from source to Account Based COPA in target CFIN system
• Replication of documents without document splitting activated in source system to New GL with document splitting in target CFIN systems is not supported out of the box and requires complex custom development
• Although standard reconciliation reports have been introduced for CFIN in S/4HANA 1610 EM, based on our experience these are not robust and user friendly. Also these do not support source non SAP systems. Infosys proprietary reconciliation tools can be leveraged for improved auditability and traceability in CFIN
• Lack of data validation and integrity check for business mapping maintained in MDG. If certain data (e.g. UoM) is not created in CFIN system but mapped in MDG, document is still successfully replicated in CFIN system without giving any error.
• GL open items from open item managed GL accounts are not replicated as line items during initial load. This is a product gap which was corrected by SAP through a customer specific OSS note
• Replication of reversals and clearings of documents where original document is missing is not supported out of box in CFIN. SAP product support required to resolve this issue or manual workaround required to manage these postings during balances take over

IV. Skills and Resources

• With new scenarios and features being added continuously by SAP in CFIN and with not many enterprise level customers as early adopters, it is very important to leverage SAP Customer care, Value assurance and other services from SAP throughout a CFIN program for rapid resolution of product issues
• Adequate representation required from Business and internal IS in early phase of the project to support organizational design and learn the new technologies and solutions. This will mitigate the risk associated with change management at a later stage
• The required technical skillsets within IS in niche areas such as BODS (Data Services), MDG (Master Data Governance), SLT (System Landscape Transformation), Fiori, embedded BI reporting , HANA CDS view design etc. need to be identified and provisioned upfront in a CFIN program




May 22, 2017

Data Quality as a Service - Infosys DQneXT


Previous Blog : We discussed "Data Quality as a Service - The Challenge and The Opportunity"


Infosys Data Quality Solution - DQneXT

"DQneXT" is Infosys's comprehensive Data Quality solution that addresses many of the Data Quality requirements of an Organization. The DQ solution is based on SaaS model, multi-tenant and hosted on Infosys's SAP Cloud Platform. The architectural advantage of this solution in comparison to a traditional DQ tool are as illustrated below



Typical Data Quality Program

Infosys - DQneXT

*      Typically On premise

*      Multiple tools for profiling, enrichment & deduplication

*      Rules are created for every customer

*      Timeline for implementation of 3 domains is 4-6 months

*      Mostly target master data

*      Annual License cost is applicable

*      Cloud based multi-tenant solution

*      SaaS based solution that works on subscription model

*      One stop shop for profiling, enrichment, de-duplication and more

*      Starts with a rich library of Rules 

*      Timeline for onboarding is in days

*      Goes beyond master data to handle transaction & configuration data

*      Flexibility to pick and choose services & pay as you go


 Services offered under DQneXT

Infosys offers a combination of several services that are typically desired by most Organizations in a single packaged application. These services are typically employed at different stages of the data quality program from Data Discovery to Data Archival. The different packaged services and their relevance in the data quality life cycle are illustrated below


  • Data Profiling Service

Data Profiling is a basic service aimed at providing insights into the current quality levels of data. This leverages a rich repository of rules for each domain consisting of frequently used business rules, industry standard rules and technical rules that drive the data maintenance in SAP. These profiling services help understand the status of enterprise data quality and help establish the cleansing requirements for the data. The data can be analyzed along various dimensions like Accuracy, Consistency, Completeness, Integrity, Duplicacy, etc. The data quality is measured against defined thresholds and represented in business friendly dashboards. There is provision for report extraction for business review and corrections.

  • Data Enrichment Service

Data enrichment service provides the capabilities for ensuring the identified issues with data are fixed using automated fixing rules. They can be leveraged for bulk and routine fixes where a large number of records have similar issues. The pre-determined fixing rules and capabilities help shorten the data remediation cycle times and helps prepare data for "Fit to Use"

  • Configuration and Data Management Service

This is a special service aimed at next set of capabilities that help proactively identify and resolve issues with configuration data quality that impacts business process and transactions. They are used for early detection of bad data in transactions that could be due to configurable, obsolete or restricted data that impacts the end processes and could cause downstream impact to business.

  • De-duplication Service

The de-duplication service is an essential service that finds use in duplicate identification and survivorship. Typical used cases are

(1) Identifying duplicate records from historical data and

(2) Prevention of new duplicates at the point of creation of data

The one time identification of duplicate data helps get rid of duplicate records in system and identify the surviving records. This cleanup helps in making unique data available to business transactions for consolidated reporting and analytics. Similarly, the prevention of creation of duplicate data helps in keeping system clean going forward basis and yielding better search results improving the overall health of organization's data.


Key benefits of this solution

The DQneXT solution / service offering has been designed keeping in mind the evolving trends in the industry leveraging the SaaS based offering on cloud called DQaaS. This has significant benefits compared to the traditional approach of on premise DQ tools pre-dominant in today's market.

  1. Client need not invest in expensive infrastructure, licenses and sign up for annual maintenance services
  2. Works on subscription model with flexibility to choose required services without having to pay for unwanted modules/services
  3. Packaged services with comprehensive offerings including profiling, enrichment, proactive problem identification and de-duplication
  4. Quick Client on-boarding process with pre-set processes that can be realized in a matter of few days
  5. Pre-delivered rich repository of rules consisting of master, transactional and configuration rules
  6. New rules added to the repository on an ongoing basis become available to the Clients at regular intervals without any significant cost or effort


Conclusion

Infosys DQneXT provides muti-dimension capabilities for identification and resolution of the data quality problem that Organizations try to address through multiple industry standard licensed tools. This provides a cost effective and efficient alternative to the businesses that are adapting to the cloud based services.



Next Blog : We will discuss "FAQ's on DQneXT "


May 10, 2017

Digital Disruption & SAP S/4HANA: Journey so far and the way ahead

 

As I write, this is no more a buzz and we are standing at the dawn of the digital disruption. The impact of the digital technologies can be seen around in our personal lives too. How we communicate, engage and interact with one another. Convergence of technologies like social media, mobility, analytics, cloud computing, business networks and embedded devices are leading the way.

This is not the first time there is disruption, Right from, the Industrial economy to information economy changes in 1940-1980, in 1980 onwards we saw, satellite systems for different business functions like, order management, inventory management, manufacturing, finance started integrating and gave rise to evolution of ERP suites, after 2000 industry started sighting changes in the business models because of the rapid expansion of the internet. And when now things have become digital, there exists opportunities to design and integrate these digital assets, which were earlier not designed to work together and produce business benefits. Technological innovations further paving the way for digitalization and leading to an era of digital transformation and, is now poised to create a spectrum of the opportunities to create new business models. But unlike previous disruption, this time it is rapid and demands the response from the organizations also similar in nature, to remain in the game.

Envisaging the fact of upcoming tsunami of digital, SAP Introduced SAP S/4HANA Finance in 2014 and a completely new enterprise suite SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management with a digital core in Nov 2015, in order to create a digitalization friendly platform. SAP's roadmap for the ECC suggests that support to ECC will cease to exist in 2025 and no significant changes expected in future ehps. Since the launch of S/4HANA, about 4200+  customers either adopted or in the process of adopting S/4HANA against the estimate of 50000+ by 2025. Out of the 4200 a good number is of the customers who are first time implementing SAP, thus the number of customers who actually embraced S/4HANA away from ECC is less. It is to be noted, many organizations were still transforming or had completed their transformation with SAP ECC and other peripheral SAP applications in recent times only.

But reasons for the initial slow adoption of SAP S/4HANA could be many - why to adopt, how to get there, availability of skill, product maturity, Business case, budget... and many more questions are there in client's mind. Research suggests that when it comes to innovation adoption, there can be four categories of the companies. Market Leaders, who actively go for the change and prefer to drive it. They look technology as enabler in the disruption. They accept failure as part of the process and move on. Fast followers react based on the success of the market leaders and the result of their experiments. But contrary to the market leaders, they do not want to fail and apply lessons learned from the market leaders to their roadmaps. Cautious adopters, as name suggests, take more measured approach spend time in studying and instead of transformational, they adopt approach of incremental innovations. Laggards procrastinate the adoption and wait for the trends to move beyond. They constitute 50% of the marketplace. Whereas fist three category constitute 5, 15 & 30% respectively. SAP S/4HANA adoption may also fit in the theory. In my experience too, clients who were not showing any interest in S4HANA last year, are now serious to discover and explore it for a business case.

Another dimension, do majority of the companies aware of, why they need SAP S/4HANA? or it is just that date of year of '2025' which is making them to go for it. Clients are exploring and also getting education about the various transition paths to S/4HANA, difference of features between ECC and S/4HANA, timelines and cost of implementation/conversion. They are looking S/4HANA as an upgrade from ECC, however current situation demands different approach. I think, if companies do the same things after adopting S4HANA, which they were doing with ECC, that is not transformation. Merely replacing ECC by S/4HANA will not add as much business value and unleash the benefits of the digital core.  The current trends suggest, with digital transformation, companies have to get into the transformation mindset and have to create new business models along with the new products and services. Companies have to align with innovation scope, explore options in design thinking workshops and come out with a roadmap for a digital journey. Here SIs, SAP with S4HANA will help companies to reinvent their business models.

 

It is widely established that, we are well in the disruption and the norm is, disrupt or will be disrupted. There is no denial that ERP is the DNA for every company and thus adoption to S/4HANA becomes crucial for every organization. Studies shows that average age of the companies have decreased. Companies have to reinvent themselves to stay in the business. What is going well now may not work in future. The definition of "end" is going to change when we talk about end to end. Companies have to look SAP S/4HANA as a platform to start their digital transformation journey and have to focus on B2B2C instead of B2C.

SAPPHIRENOW 2017, Orlando is just around the corner now, and is the opportunity for the companies to visit our booth #700 to get more insights on how Infosys can help them in their digital transformation journey using S/4HANA. Infosys has S/4HANA Adoption service offerings and tool set to help client adopt S/4HANA either by S/4HANA Conversion of their ECC systems, Consolidating ECCs using Landscape Transformation and adopting S/4HANA or whether to go for Hybrid or Greenfield implementation. Come to Infosys booth, and we can showcase, how our clients have adopted S/4HANA in different ways and how we can help you with our automated S/4HANA Assist tool to perform S/4HANA Assessment.


Continue reading " Digital Disruption & SAP S/4HANA: Journey so far and the way ahead " »

May 9, 2017

"Data Quality as a Service" - The Challenge and The Opportunity

"Data Quality as a Service" - The Challenge and The Opportunity


Overview

Enterprise data quality is no more an option. It is expected by Customers, demanded by business and enforced by regulators. Awareness on data quality and its impact on day to day operations and ultimately the business has been increasing steadily over last couple of years. Organizations have realized, good quality data is the foundation for an Organizations growth and sustenance in the long run. Poor data quality plagues the Organization in more than one ways and has direct and indirect costs associated with it. Data quality challenges impediment the growth of organizations and unreliable insights are persisted to other strategic initiatives that leads to lack of trust in enterprise data and can result in poor business decisions. Organizations have thus realized the need to manage Enterprise Information as a strategic asset and are finding ways and means to improve the value of this asset.

Though data quality tool vendors have been around in the market for a considerable duration, they have not been able to influence the adoption much. With growing economies, Organizations have had other focus and priorities like acquisitions, growth, market capitalization, expansion, etc etc. Slowly, the underlying problem with the data has grown multi-fold having escaped everyone's attention. This is seemingly apparent now as the businesses continue to grapple with "the data problem" that has reduced the operational efficiency, interfering with decision making and posing a larger threat if not controlled immediately.


The Challenge

Some of the key challenges associated with data quality include:

  • Data Quality is perceived to be one time initiative requiring significant time and money
  • Data assets lack clearly defined ownership
  • Most Organizations lack a well-defined strategy and governance for improving data quality
  • Ongoing data governance & sustenance is a key issue in master data & data quality programs
  • Data proliferation & duplication due to inadequate business rules and stewardship
  • Lack of consistent repeatable way to measure and score data quality


How big is the challenge?

Below are some snapshots of the key data problems and it's magnitude of impact on Organizations as estimated by some of the Industry's leading analysts. It clearly indicates the different nature of data quality issues and it's implications on operational and financial well-being of the Organization.



The Opportunity

As more organizations continue to focus on data quality, and as different departments within an organization continue to focus on their data elements, it presents a huge opportunity for the Vendors of the data quality tools and the service providers who help Organizations manage their data quality. Analysts estimate that only about 10% of Organizations have formal metrics for data quality, about 25% have informal metrics and rest do not measure data quality at all.

Gartner estimates that Data Quality Tools market is among the fastest growing in the enterprise software sector and continues to grow strongly year on year. It is currently growing at 13.5% and forecasts that this market's growth will accelerate to 16.7% by 2018, bringing the total revenues for Data Quality tools market to $2.24 billion.


Evolution of Organizational needs

In the context of the above opportunity, we see further evolution of Organizational needs that reduces the Total Cost of Ownership and at the same time deliver more comprehensive solutions that addresses different requirements in managing the life cycle of data quality. Some of the key requirements are

  • Look out for "Data Quality" as an end-to-end service 
  • Overcome limitations of licensed products. Ex Different tools for profiling and transformation
  • Need for continuously improving business rules to cater to the changing nature of business
  • Identification and archival of unused or redundant data on periodic basis for improved search and better performance
  • Proactively identify issues that arise due to configurations and suggest corrective course of action


"DQaaS - Data Quality as a Service"

With the advent of SaaS, the traditional approach of owning data quality applications on Organizations own computers or in own data centers is losing steam.  There is growing interest in the provisioning of data quality as a service and the vendors that provide this service. This is giving rise to a new breed of SaaS enabled services focusing on Data Quality termed "DQaaS - Data Quality as a Service".

Data quality software as a service (DQaaS) refers to data quality functions such as profiling, validation, standardization, matching, cleansing etc. delivered over web using a cloud-based or hosted model in which an external provider owns the infrastructure and provides the capabilities in a shared, multitenant environment used by its customers on a subscription basis. This provides a reasonably quick alternative to otherwise expensive and time-consuming deployments of data quality tools or the development of custom-coded solutions.


Next Blog : We will discuss "Data Quality as a Service - Infosys DQneXT"


March 29, 2017

Leverage Quick Wins with Central Finance solution in SAP S/4HANA


SAP S/4HANA Finance solution has revolutionized the way Finance functions are performed in a organization while addressing today's business trends and setting a new trend towards simplification. However most of the large enterprises have a complex and distributed systems landscape consisting of multiple SAP and non-SAP financial instances, set up based on multiple geographies, lines of business, business function (Finance, Logistics etc.). SAP S/4HANA Central Finance solution provides a least disruptive approach to these enterprises for S/4HANA adoption while also generating some quick wins!

Simply put, Central Finance is a deployment option for S/4HANA in which existing SAP and non-SAP instances are untouched, and the financial postings (financial accounting and controlling documents) in the existing instances are replicated in real time through tools like SLT-R (System Landscape Transformation Replication Server) or BODS (Business Objects Data Services) to a separate S/4HANA instance. S/4HANA Central Finance solution can also be considered as a separate product from licensing perspective since there is a separate license required to be purchased from SAP for this whole solution including the SLT-R tool in addition to a S/4HANA Finance add-on or S/4HANA Enterprise Management license.

Since the existing systems are untouched while implementing CFIN solution, it can be implemented within a period of 6 to 12 months, depending on the complexity of existing system landscape, Finance master data and reporting structures. Let us now look at some of the quick wins which large global enterprises with distributed system landscape can leverage with S/4HANA Central Finance (CFIN) solution

  • Integrated Financial Reporting over unified group data model is an extremely time consuming & complex activity for such enterprises with multiple versions of truth and lack of data integrity. CFIN solution primarily provides integrated enterprise level financial reporting on a real time basis at granular level leveraging S/4HANA Finance innovations like Universal Journal, Account Based COPA etc. in the Central Finance instance. Enterprises can reduce their reporting data footprint in short term by replacing their existing SAP BW/BI based operational Finance reporting solutions with CFIN based reporting in S/4HANA

 

  • Enterprises on the path of inorganic business growth through mergers, acquisitions and take-overs face significant challenges in integration of the legacy IT systems (SAP or non-SAP) of merged or acquired companies. CFIN provides such enterprises with a solution for rapid integration of financial reporting of the acquired/merged entities to quickly analyze the topline and bottom-line impact, instead of spending a lot of time and effort in system consolidation and process harmonization of these entities.

 

  • Since all the Financial documents (FICO)  are replicated in real time to the CFIN instance, it can be easily leveraged in short term for implementing some of the group wide centralized reporting and monitoring functions like
    • Credit, collections and dispute management with FSCM in S/4HANA
    • Intercompany reconciliation with improved ICR tool in S/4HANA
    • Dynamic and Integrated Financial planning leveraging  embedded BPC solution in S/4HANA based on actuals

However, it is important to note that other centralized transaction processing scenarios like Centralized Invoice Processing, Central Period End Closing, and Central Asset Accounting etc. are not currently supported in CFIN solution as of the latest version, S/4HANA Enterprise Management (EM) 1610. This means that the CFIN instance cannot be currently leveraged for implementing a Shared Accounting Services model by large enterprises to reduce their Finance transaction processing costs

  • With the out of box SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) solution available in S/4HANA Enterprise Management  (EM) 1610, the CFIN solution also generates quick win for harmonization and optimization of Enterprise structure, Finance Master Data and Reporting structures from multiple SAP and non-SAP systems in a distributed system landscape. This can set the Foundation for a future roadmap towards a single finance instance for transaction processing to realize cost benefits from implementation of a shared accounting services model (not currently possible with CFIN)


  • Since all the Financial (FICO) postings from multiple systems are replicated in real time in CFIN instance, it can also be utilized for real time financial consolidation with Embedded BPC functionality available in S/4HANA EM 1610. Even if other consolidation solutions like Hyperion, SEM-BCS etc. are in use, CFIN can help to accelerate the group financial consolidation with a centralized interface from a single instance for rollup of financial data to the consolidation systems, instead of time consuming file loads and interfaces from multiple source systems. CFIN solution can also provide a faster extraction of consolidated financial data for various external statutory and compliance audit requests.

 

Large enterprises with a heterogeneous system landscape should primarily look at CFIN as a short or medium term solution in their S/4HANA adoption roadmap for Finance. In the Long term such enterprises can evaluate the consolidation of their multiple systems into a single S/4HANA instance based on a harmonized process template. CFIN provides these enterprises with a de-risked approach for S/4HANA adoption for Finance in a shorter time frame with quick wins in reporting and other areas thus mitigating risks associated with a larger S/4HANA Global template build and rollout program. CFIN implementation can also help enterprises reduce the change management efforts by providing Finance business users a 'look and feel' of S/4HANA for reporting before adopting it for centralized transaction processing and critical period end closing activities.

As per various analyst reports, most of the S/4HANA adoption in the market is currently restricted to enterprises in small and medium segment. These enterprises have a relatively less complex landscape with majority of them having a single SAP instance. Consequently at present, CFIN solution adoption has been also relatively low in the market. However as more and more of the large enterprises with distributed landscape embark on a S/4HANA adoption journey, CFIN solution adoption is also expected to increase proportionally in the market.


Continue reading " Leverage Quick Wins with Central Finance solution in SAP S/4HANA " »

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