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Using the Elephant in the SAP Room Constructively

The fact that S/4 Hana, as a completely new technology in the SAP universe, will have a fundamental impact on the current state of organizations has been known since its introduction in 2015. Since then, the topic has been an invisible elephant in the room for many companies.
Rico Laukner
April 2, 2024
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

This is because many users shy away from the necessary disruptive adaptation of their organizational structures and processes that have evolved over decades. Yet the switch to the SAP technology of the future, which has no alternative, offers considerable potential for success in addition to a number of challenges. Many processes in companies and organizations have grown over time and often reflect the technological possibilities of their time. Over the years, this has resulted in nested systems with interwoven processes that raise numerous questions in connection with the switch to S/4.

Avoid actionism

However, the high level of complexity and increasing pressure to act should not be met with actionism. In order to lay the foundations for the many upcoming technological and process-related decisions, a solid starting point is required - usually an analysis of the current situation with basic recommendations for changes and target processes. A product-neutral view from the outside, for example from an external process consultancy with experience in the industry, is certainly useful here. However, theoretical considerations have their limits and should always be accompanied by the essential questions: How do I move from an existing complex system and process landscape to a new future-proof, scalable and resilient environment with the required scope of services? And where do I start?

First Things First

The best place to start is at the beginning. The first step is to clarify what the new system and process landscape must be able to do and what role SAP should play in this. However, you should not be guided by the impulse to map existing functionality 1:1, but rather ask yourself which of the organization's core tasks need to be solved. This approach can lead to different perspectives and points of view. SAP is undisputedly the business integration platform and the benchmark for the internal networking of processes (FI, CO, MM etc.). At the same time, however, the need for networking with the "outside world" is increasing. An increasing number of applications for highly specialized processes - both from specialized SAP partners and from the non-SAP world - suggests intelligent networking of SAP and other systems.

Whoever says SAP must also say BTP

If SAP is to play a key role in the future, it is important to consider which requirements can be mapped in the standard scenario. The option of integrating special systems and carrying out in-house developments should be realized outside the SAP standard - strictly according to the motto "Keep the Core Clean". SAP provides its Business Technology Platform (BTP) as a helpful tool for this. It can be used to implement the required customer-specific processes in a state-of-the-art development environment in an agile manner. Here is a practical example: Snap Consulting offers a digital supply availability check and ordering option for hospital pharmacies from pharmaceutical wholesalers. This function was previously integrated into the SAP scheduling and ordering process in the customer system. With the possibilities of SAP BTP, it has now become a cloud service that is functionally self-contained, centrally available to all relevant SAP customers and only exchanges master and transaction data via a few interfaces. The customer's core SAP system remains "clean" - the functionality is always up-to-date in terms of technology, data and processes in the SAP EU Cloud.

Moving from pressure to action

A brief summary of how the pressure to change can be used constructively: With clear expectations, allow an external view from outside to take stock, analyze the current situation and make basic recommendations for action. This will create part of the basis for developing your SAP strategy. But from the outset, focus on specific products that you consciously select based on criteria such as maximum SAP integration. Use their expertise and best practices for the future mapping of your own processes. Formulate any necessary tender in such a way that you can gradually build up your new IT landscape and its processes internally and externally - in line with your vision - in a sustainable and future-proof manner!

Click here for the partner entry:

SNAP Consulting
Rico Laukner

Business development and project management, Snap Consulting

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.