Every ERP implementation is, in reality, a business transformation. New tools and capabilities introduced to ERP systems are not only fundamentally reshaping processes, operations, and strategies – they're influencing the future of business success.
But let's face it – most companies are starting to lose their transformation mojo. Implementation projects are highly resource-intensive and take months or years to complete. Getting the business excited about IT transformation – let alone a migration from a legacy SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA Cloud – is incredibly difficult. Even focusing on realizing value from beginning to end is nearly impossible.
I couldn't shake this feeling while listening to a series of presentations at the SAPHILA 2023 in Sun City, South Africa earlier this year. There has to be a better way to deliver high-value ERP implementations with more speed, impact, and value. Then Wassilios Lolas, Global Vice President of the Center of Excellence for SAP Signavio solutions at SAP, offered a glimmer of hope in his keynote:
"To be successful, organizations need data-driven insights to know how their processes are performing today, where and why changes are needed, and how to deliver them effectively. The key is to define new processes collaboratively between people from business and IT across all levels to drive better and faster outcomes and less resistance to change."
Conflicts That Hold Back Meaningful Impacts
If we look at how ERP transformation projects are often set up, different internal – and sometimes conflicting – perspectives inevitably emerge: C-suite, business users, and IT teams.
There is tremendous pressure from the C-level to change. For example, a CFO may want to move quickly and become more agile to better respond to changing market demands. Meanwhile, business users consider process agility as critical. But that priority is thwarted by IT's reality of enormous system complexity, a vast variety of processes, and a lack of transparency of how business processes and IT applications run.
While such disconnections are not surprising, they are undoubtedly damaging. According to Lolas, "Both sides can grow in parallel and, over years, lose control of where they are and where they want to go. This creates significant problems, such as not knowing where and how to start transforming, using time-consuming execution strategies, and focusing more on project delivery than securing real business value."
ERP Transformation Redefined
Given this reality, understanding how you run today is the basis for fixing past mistakes and avoiding them in the future. But that doesn't mean that massive amounts of money, time, and resources must be spent on an external consultant to facilitate weeks of workshops, business-wide discussions, and surveys to set up a business transformation model.
Instead, SAP Signavio solutions can accelerate the work of any phase of a transformation project – planning, implementation, and ongoing value realization – with a new plug-and-gain approach.
"The plug-and-gain approach enables organizations to radically speed up their SAP ERP transformation project. They can reduce efforts during the project preparation phase, from months, quarters, or even years to as little as a few days," Lolas states.
Compared to how transformations have been planned and executed in the past, SAP Signavio solutions can be a game changer. They can resolve the internal conflict holding back meaningful outcomes by enabling intelligent elimination of project uncertainties, quick access to relevant answers and recommendations, and consistent focus on true value realization.
SAP Signavio solutions offer project leaders a data-driven, transparent, and collaborative platform to use a common language when communicating to business and IT leaders the impact of the IT landscape on the flow of work. By connecting business outcomes with operational technology, the solutions eases the ability to get buy-in for change of any sort. As a result, organizations are well-positioned to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and customer behaviors.
For example, organizations can generate direct insights within hours based on the performance of the existing SAP ERP system, including:
Over 90 business processes with 1,000 process performance indicators and typical blockers
Benchmarking against industry peers to prioritize executive, business user, and IT needs
More than 1,000 tailored recommendations on how to fix or improve a process
Lolas explains, "SAP Signavio solutions are designed to provide information about each customer's process performance in a timely manner. The technology is based on our conversations with our consultants who have done hundreds of customer projects, asking them two critical questions: 'If something goes wrong in a process, where does it typically go wrong?' and 'If a C-level executive needs data, what is he or she typically asking for?'"
All this information helps organizations rapidly decide:
Which business processes to keep and which to change
How to fix a broken process immediately
How to transform processes in the context of a migration to SAP S/4HANA Cloud
And because this data is instantly available, organizations can share this information – even with the CEO and middle management – promptly from their existing ERP system, instead of collecting feedback through questionnaires or Excel sheets completed weeks ago. As the pursuit of value is continuous, SAP Signavio solutions are designed to provide ongoing process monitoring and optimization.
The Confidence to Transform Continuously
The landscape of technology implementations – particularly ERP migrations – has reached a critical juncture. As we navigate this evolving terrain, it's evident that prevailing challenges, including resource intensiveness, prolonged timelines, and diminishing enthusiasm, get in the way of delivering outcomes that are valuable to businesses and their customers.
But at SAPHILA 2023, alongside a roomful of attendees, I learned that there is a better way forward after all – one that embraces the plug-and-gain approach of SAP Signavio solutions. By harnessing the power of real-time insights and tailored recommendations, organizations can make informed decisions, streamline processes, and derive ongoing value from their SAP S/4HANA Cloud migrations with newfound agility and confidence.