ASUG recently held a webcast for its members detailing some of the top insights from our 2019 State of the Community study. If you missed it, ASUG Members can always listen to the webcast, or you can download our infographic with the top insights captured in visual form.

We had a great turnout for the webcast, and attendees asked some great questions. Although we couldn’t address all of them at the time, I wanted to make sure we answered some that we missed. I also want to offer a few insights from the study that weren’t part of the webcast that may help you understand how your organization compares with others in the SAP user community.

More Questions, More Answers

Q: Any advice/best practices for preparing for an SAP S/4HANA transition? What are others doing to prepare?

A: Great question, and you’re not alone in asking this. Based on the research we’ve done across several studies, we have three tips:

  • Build your business case now, if you haven’t started already. This is a lengthy process that comes with plenty of complexity.
  • Grow your staff and skills now. It’s important to know what you have and what you’ll need from a people perspective to handle the migration.
  • Do the homework to figure out what needs to stay and what can go within your customizations. SAP’s Readiness Check tool is a great way to start on this. But you should also consider this an opportunity to do your own audit to determine what legacy code you can retire as part of the transition. Many of the first adopters of SAP S/4HANA have opted to follow best practices for their industry and have vowed to keep their instance as “vanilla” as possible.

There will be quite a few SAP S/4HANA presentations from experts and customers who have gone through migrations at SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference this year. You can even immerse yourself in a full day of learning about SAP S/4HANA at an ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar

Q: How is security going to change after an SAP S/4HANA implementation?

A: This is a simple question with a complex answer, because so much of that depends on the environment where you choose to run your instances of SAP HANA. Your security can improve based on a couple of factors. First, cloud providers have made great strides addressing security concerns, to the point where many of these providers offer a more-secure environment than a company might have the resources to manage in its own on-premise implementation. Second, many security breaches are due to either a lack of defined roles among the IT/SAP teams at customer companies or to legacy ABAP code allowing hackers a back door to enter critical data sources. A cleanup of custom code should help eliminate these potential risks and inspire teams to tighten up their roles today to handle this new infrastructure at their organizations.

Q: I would love to see more of a collective voice to get information back to SAP. Some of us have been on SAP for a long time and it would be good to identify trends and pain points that are consistently being reported. We need to push SAP for more innovation and to address these needs.

A: This is more of a comment than a question, but the point is well taken. ASUG leadership has regular conversations with SAP employees and executives, as well as with other global user groups. We represent the voice of the customer as we share what we hear from all of you. For example, we have pushed SAP to bring more clarity and transparency to the conversation on licensing.  We welcome your thoughts about what topics we should be discussing with SAP leaders.

New Insights Revealed

There was too much good data to fit into one hour-long webcast, so here are a couple of extra highlights that didn’t make the final cut:

SAP-Run Businesses Are Hiring

SAP customers are planning plenty of new initiatives in 2019, and they are staffing up to meet the internal demand. Seventy-one percent of ASUG Members plan to hire talent for SAP projects this year, and 61 percent of those are expecting to look to contract workers in some form. We’ve already detailed that some of the most skilled help might live in the contract world, and it appears that SAP customers are testing that hypothesis. The contract talent pool could be especially beneficial to help staff up for that SAP S/4HANA implementation you have coming in the near future, so it’s time to start shopping for those resources now.

The Last Stop Before SAP S/4HANA

We’ve been hearing from some that a possible stepping stone to the SAP S/4HANA transition could be to move first to SAP’s Business Suite on HANA. One use might be as a testing platform to work out any bugs before completing a lift-and-shift to the full SAP S/4HANA package. Yet only 25 percent of ASUG Members plan to take advantage of this option, and many may have been previously unaware that this is even available to them. If you’re considering whether this will work for your organization, you can read an article on implementing SAP Business Suite on HANA.

Make the Data Work for You

Now that you have seen the results for yourself, it’s time to take the insights you have found and apply them to your team. Have a conversation about where you fit in as compared with other SAP customers. Do your attitudes and behaviors need to change? Do you have the resources on-hand to make the next phase of your SAP journey a smooth one?

Finally, if you appreciate receiving insights like this, you can help us build more of them. We’ll be starting our 2020 State of the Community research in fall 2019, and all SAP customers and ASUG Members are welcome to participate. You could be among the first to receive a whole bundle of fresh new insights next year.

To catch up on what you missed, ASUG Members can listen to the webcast or download our infographic.