As we enter the final months of the calendar year, one thing’s for certain: We all operate in an incredibly dynamic, constantly shifting environment. Market foundations are shifting – sometimes it’s technological, other times geopolitical or demographic in nature. Their are always plenty of signals, if only you can identify them among the noise.
We -- every employee, in every company -- need clarity if we’re going to operate, much less successfully compete in today’s world. With the right insights, individuals can cut through noise, find the signal, understand what’s going on, identify what might be coming, and act accordingly. Some might call that a superpower. Really, it’s the cost of doing business now.
Today, we released SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1811. This latest release of our flagship intelligent cloud ERP better enables businesses around the world to do what they do best: serve their customers. As I share 10 key advances in this release, I would like to highlight two critical topics: insight and connectivity. ERP has always enabled businesses to take action through business processes and fulfill business goals. Its increasingly important though to match that action with insight and connection. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle.
Connection without insight is just a vast amount of data. Insight without action is “so what?” territory. And, action without connection – to equipment, vendors, or customers – results in minimal impact.
Automatic Calculation and Posting of Purchase Order Accruals
Imagine: You are a finance professional preparing for period end closing activities.
What’s possible: With automatic calculation and posting of purchase order accruals, you can be confident that liabilities to third parties are being properly accounted for thanks to a new accrual engine with flexible configuration options for calculating and posting accruals.
Impact: Enjoy tighter governance and compliance with greater efficiency in closing processes thanks to intelligent automation.
Supplier Performance Prediction
Imagine: You are a purchaser responsible for key raw materials orders ahead of the holiday rush and know that if the supplier is late delivering, it might have significant downside impact on your manufacturing.
What’s possible: With machine learning-powered supplier performance prediction, you can ascertain a reliable delivery lead time estimate while creating the purchase requisition or purchase order.
Impact: When materials arrive on time, production can continue as planned. Inventory planning reliability is improved, allowing you to better manage working capital and resolve potential supply shortages before they impact production.
Asset Management – Actual Cost Analysis
Imagine: As a plant operations engineer, you are responsible for the smooth operation of a plant production line. With an unlimited budget, that might be pretty easy, but no one has a truly unlimited budget. What you do have though, is one piece of equipment that always seems to be temperamental.
What’s possible: With actual cost analysis in SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1811 you can easily identify the maintenance activities leading to the highest costs.
Impact: You can now maximize the efficiency of your maintenance spending with easy comparisons between total corrective and preventative maintenance costs. It is also possible to analyze critical costs by a variety of facets such as order type and location, to gain more insight into your maintenance spend.
Interest Rate Overview
Imagine: As part of your company’s treasury group, you oversee a portfolio of assets, all of which are in some way are dependent on various interest rates.
What’s possible: Thanks to the interest rate overview app in SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1811, you can quickly gain insight into interest rate-related financial risks such as current and historical interest rates, maturity profiles, and total debts by key date, among others.
Impact: Treasury and risk managers now have a single dashboard for tracking interest-bearing debt and investment instruments. And, it’s easier than ever to stay informed of financial market impacts to your business.
Imagine: You have broad purview over the entire supply chain, including your company’s warehouse operations. Because your warehouse needs have grown steadily, you have a variety of manual connections across inbound, outbound, and internal handling processes.
What’s possible: Manage stock on the bin level for better visibility and connect inbound processing, through internal inventory management, to outbound processing. This complete warehouse solution connects you to suppliers and customers and maps your physical warehouse structure down to the bin level.
Impact: With a fully-connected warehouse system and real time insights, you gain better understanding of inventory levels, more control over stock movements, and simplified data connections that support day-to-day warehouse processes.
Imagine: Your sales team has just booked a large order. You need to ensure the order is fulfilled and shipped in a timely, cost-effective manner.
What’s possible: With SAP S/4HANA 1811, you can take advantage of new transportation management capabilities for order-based transportation planning.
Impact: Efficiently plan transportation and trigger delivery creation, seamlessly tying together order-to-cash activities. Your customers enjoy an improved order and delivery experience, increasing customer satisfaction and safeguarding future order potential. At the same time, an earlier view into transportation needs – based on sales order data – allows you to reduce cost and capacity constraint risks.
- APIs, APIs, APIs
Imagine: You are responsible for making sure business systems talk to one another. Or, you’re a sales professional that is expected to enter the same order in two or three different systems. Either way, duplicating data is a recipe in frustration.
What’s possible: With the latest release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we’ve added still more APIs, including a robust set of APIs focused on the sales line of business. It is now possible to create, manage, and delete sales orders with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, using a 3rdparty system. Buyers and suppliers can exchange documents using web-based services.
Impact: Reduced transactional friction makes it easier to accomplish your job and eliminated multiple manual data entry points reduces the opportunity for data entry error. Furthermore, with documented APIs, you can utilize a variety of tools to tailor your solution to your specific business needs.
Intelligent Suitability Matching
Imagine: As a professional services project manager, you are responsible for ensuring staffing of select customer engagements. Like many companies, your formal employee skills catalogue is not always comprehensive or entirely up-to-date. This can make it difficult to accurately and successfully staff engagements.
What’s possible: With intelligent suitability matching in SAP S/4HANA 1811, professional services firms can incorporate previous experience from past projects to supplement skills found in the employee fact sheet. Furthermore, availability matching checks if the effort distribution requested by the project manager can actually be fulfilled.
Impact: Clients are happy because their projects are being delivered on time, with skilled consultants, and professional services firms are able to more efficiently utilize their resources while keeping key clients happy.
Extended Control of Project Budget Consumption
Imagine: As a project financial controller, it is your responsibility to ensure projects stay within budget while still enabling the project team to complete its work.
What’s possible: With the extended control of project budget consumption card you gain increased visibility across projects and greater insight into individual projects at a glance.
Impact: With easier to access project financial information, you can more easily spot and eliminate budget overruns while new configuration flexibility means it’s possible to define thresholds used for warning and error messages in a more granular fashion.
Product Compliance – Integration with Product Master and Sales Order Fulfillment
Imagine: Your company has a vast portfolio of products, some of which have certain restrictions placed upon them in terms of sales. Determining which products can be shipped to which customers can frequently become a time consuming, manual process.
What’s possible: In SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1811, you can distinguish compliance-relevant products and easily check sales documents blocked for compliance reasons such as product registration requirements or hazardous material handling requirements.
Impact: Companies can efficiently process sales orders with compliance-restricted products and easily trigger extended compliance processes where necessary. This helps to ensure companies manage their compliance risks effectively while still making it easy to resolve compliance-related activities.
With the 1811 release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we continue to deliver on the promise of helping companies transform into Intelligent Enterprises. Learn more during a live chat on Tuesday, November 13th -- register for free, here. Next week, we'll share even more details as during the public announcement of the release. Stay tuned!
Want every detail? Check out the new feature scope description [pdf].