Companies want to update their individual SAP strategy, automate business processes, implement new digital business models, and make their IT flexible and more agile. The Customer Focus Day SAP 2020, which was organized by the SAP Gold Partner valantic for the first time virtually on October 6, showed how this can succeed and what has to be adjusted.
Customer Focus Day SAP, which was fully booked, was chock full of solution strategies and practical cases for challenges with which all companies are confronted today. 20 SAP customers and experts spoke about topics such as process optimization, cloud, integrated planning, artificial intelligence, and end-to-end automation. Some of the catalysts that companies have to fine-tune today in order to remain successful on the market tomorrow. “Digital technologies have increased the speed of change enormously and without a foundation that works well, companies can no longer function properly,” emphasized Glenn González, CTO of SAP Deutschland, in the keynote speech that opened the Customer Focus Day.
SAP’s in-memory platform S/4HANA doesn’t play the only role in the digital transformation, but its role is decisive. According to a survey of the German-speaking SAP users’ group DSAG, 70% of SAP customers are ready to tackle migration to the new platform. And they have to do this, for support for the old R/3 and for ECC 6.0 will be discontinued by 2030. However, migration is not a sure-fire success and should be done according to a clearly defined strategy plan. “First, customers have to do their homework; that is, create the basis for introducing S/4HANA, otherwise the project is doomed to failure,” explains valantic Managing Director Thomas Latajka. For this does not involve just technology, it’s not a purely technical update to a new platform. “In the long run, we will be living out a transformation process, and the readiness to engage with it will determine success or failure,” says Rüdiger Hoffman, Managing Director of Linkit – a valantic company. In the long term, a new mindset is required, and this can only work top-down: The top management has to exemplify the digital transformation and bring along the whole organization with all its employees.
Jürgen Brunner, IT Department Manager at the Hochland Group, started the migration to S/4HANA successfully; he presented his large project in one of the twelve topic sessions. Hochland SE, headquartered in Heimenkirch in the Allgäu, is a food producer and one of the largest cheese producers in Europe. “We have been using SAP R/3 for 20 years and, after careful consideration, we have selected a greenfield approach. S/4HANA will create the basis for the challenges with which we will be confronted in the years to come,” reports Brunner. With a greenfield approach, you’re starting largely from scratch with SAP and you can also use the migration to automate and optimize processes end-to-end. However, we will also use brownfield from time to time. Without a strong partner and consultants, we could hardly manage such a complex project. “We organized a ‘beauty contest’ and selected valantic as our partner in the end,” explains Brunner. Most crucial here were valantic’s expertise and experience with S/4 projects, but the chemistry and gut feeling also have to be right.
IT Department Manager Brunner draws a positive interim conclusion: “I’m very proud that we at valantic have been able to work with valantic to blaze this courageous trail. We still have to fine-tune a few things, but currently most of the sub-projects are ongoing, some are almost completed.”
And it’s not just Hochland SE that has set itself up for the future with the help of SAP and valantic. Sascha Marzini (thyssenkrupp), Patrick Boucek (SAP), and Fabian Stocker (valantic) reported about the success factors for IBP implementation and lessons learned from the lighthouse project at thyssenkrupp. Henry Kulnick (Lorenz Nuss) and Markus Schneider (valantic) spoke about SAP EWM at Lorenz Bahlsen Snack-World and how they implemented the food industry’s high requirements intelligently. Markus Kufner (SAP) and Thomas Wieberneit (valantic) explained how artificial intelligence and chatbots from the the SAP Sales Cloud support the work of sales teams and increase sales.
Our e-book valantic: Customer Focus Day SAP provides detailed information about all practice cases, interviews, and expert tips. The video recordings of all twelve topic sessions on the agenda will also be made available.
Panel discussion with Rüdiger Hoffman (Linkit – a valantic company), moderator Helge Sanden (IT-Onlinemagazin), Joachim Hackmann (PAC/Teknowlogy), Glenn González (SAP), and Thomas Latajka (valantic).