Next month’s 2023 ASUG Best Practices: SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) Conference will offer attendees valuable opportunities to exchange best practices and lessons learned with other customers, partners, and SAP representatives.

Peter Keller, SAP Enterprise Architect (EA) at SAP, believes that one of the most important functions of the upcoming in-person event (March 7–9 at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa in Glendale, AZ) is to provide a shared space for networking and discussion in roundtable environments.

That’s the thinking behind the two Power Peer Groups he’ll co-moderate, titled “Adoption of SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business Technology Platform - Best Practices and Lessons Learned” and “Enterprise Architecture & Adopting SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business Technology Platform.”

At the former session, Todd Lutz, Manager Global SAP Basis at Goodyear Tire, will join Keller to discuss what accelerators can help in the preparation and planning for the adoption of SAP S/4HANA and SAP BTP while leading a discussion with attendees about their experiences around SAP S/4HANA migrations.

At the latter session, Sylvain Garneau, EA for Resolute Forest Products at SAP, will join Keller to discuss the roles that Enterprise Architecture practices can play in the planning and execution of transformation activities on the way to SAP S/4HANA and SAP BTP migrations, involving attendees directly in the conversation.

“These are honestly my favorite sessions of the conference,” said Keller. “It’s not just us standing up front and telling you something. It’s more engaging.”

Design Thinking

In creating a space for discussing best practices and lessons learned, Keller, Lutz, and Garneau will each lead by example in sharing their stories with attendees, then heading up “design thinking-style” brainstorming activities to better understand business benefits, preparation procedures, and challenges around adoption that customers are facing.

Lutz will touch upon Goodyear’s current SAP S/4HANA projects and issues he’s experienced in gaining business buy-in, getting traction in resource cost approvals, and implementing further SAP S/4HANA migrations. A veteran of SAP technology who’s worked on SAP basis and database administration since the early ’90s, Lutz will speak to the challenges of combining or consolidating legacy systems amid the increased capabilities of systems like SAP S/4HANA, especially within large companies that must decide between integration, migration, and separation amid technology merger acquisition.

“Gaining collective thought from other businesses is very valuable,” said Lutz, remarking on past positive experiences at such sessions. “Other people were hearing what we were doing. They had other perspectives and strategies, and that helped to guide us in terms of thinking about things differently. And we were looking at what they were doing and saying, ‘That’s a good idea. Maybe we should be doing that.’”

Garneau will discuss his work as EA for Resolute Forest Products amid its acquisition by The Paper Excellence Group, building the practice and aligning enterprise and IT strategies.

“Finding a common language” between the business and IT sides of his business has been a significant focus for Garneau. He plans to ask attendees about their own EA practices and challenges, as well as how they’ve managed their day-to-day operations amid new technology on the market, the challenges of orienting businesses around either pursuing cloud-first transformation or implementing on-premises software, and the importance of considering full integration of all its solutions on BTP.

“It’s not true that all companies have 100% of their landscapes on SAP,” shared Garneau. “Companies like mine have many legacy systems in place, have perhaps one SAP instance or one S/4 instance, and so one has to ask: How can we drive the overall software portfolio of an enterprise?”

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