Keeping up with the pace of change in today’s marketplace can be extraordinarily complex, especially when relying on legacy ERP and other software. However, it is possible to take on every shift as an opportunity for growth. All that’s needed is the right technology that provides the data-driven insight, automation, collaboration, and inclusive user experience needed to evolve the business flexibly and responsively. For SAP customers, SAP S/4HANA is becoming an option as the 2027 deadline for ending SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) support looms closer. 

However, only 33% of SAP customers surveyed by ASUG earlier this year are live on the Intelligent ERP. Meanwhile, 6% of respondents indicated that they have no plans to implement the solution at all, and a whopping 61% are still on the fence. Change of any kind is challenging, but it’s clear that having the right technology foundation is a critical tool for addressing customer needs and market dynamics. This realization is what’s driving many SAP customers to shift their attention and resources to Intelligent ERP.

Redesigning ERP migration

Take, for example, Change Healthcare. After merging with McKesson Technology Services, the independent healthcare provider of technology services migrated its legacy ERP system in 2017 across five countries. This single decision prepared the company to face the most overwhelming year in its history: the COVID-19 pandemic.

By moving to SAP S/4HANA, the company was well-positioned to pivot and innovate solutions that:

  • Allowed their clients’ medical staff to function remotely and handle their overwhelming patient-care loads
  • Provided capabilities that allowed healthcare systems to run more transparently, even to the point of detailing the cost of a procedure early on to patients

“Change Healthcare is a clear example of why migrating before disruption happens is so important” observed Jim O’Donnell, an SAP alliance solution architect at Red Hat. “While absolute zero downtime may be technically unattainable, we work hard to ensure our customers do not experience the level of service interruption that impacts their users, processes, and upstream and downstream systems. We deliver this ideal scenario through an automation platform.” 

According to O’Donnell, the secret to many organizations’ success in migrating to SAP S/4HANA is setting a foundation that goes beyond modernizing their SAP software landscape. They also need the tools to lower operating costs, improve margins, make better use of IT staff, increase agility, and accelerate deployment. “Our approach is focused on reducing the cost and impact of routine database maintenance, which is common during a two-tier ERP migration. Whether our customer is using a patch or parameter for SAP HANA or another operating system, tuning, or hardware maintenance, the ultimate goal is fully automating as much as the migration as possible to lower (if not eliminate) risk,” O’Donnell shared.

It also seems that SAP customers are taking the benefits gained through Red Hat’s automation platform even further with the help of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Access to deployment automation capabilities from AWS’ launch wizard, guided assistance, and self-services enables fast deployment of SAP S/4HANA in the cloud with minimal technical expertise.

Moving forward, truly transforming

Without a doubt, we live in an era where even the most mundane and essential activities are now digital. However, digitizing pre-existing processes and business models is not enough to drive transformation that adds value to customers’ lives, employees’ work experiences, andbusiness growth.

What’s needed is a digital foundation that helps ensure everything that organizations do creates differentiating value, instead of solely changing how a company operates or engages and fulfills customer needs. Otherwise, businesses and their competitors are just doing the same things–even if those changes come at different speeds.

That’s the beauty of migrating to SAP S/4HANA with Red Hat’s assistance. SAP customers can quickly shift their mindset from pure digitization or true digital transformation, so they can innovate competitive products, services, business models, processes, and experiences that win their customers’ and employees’ hearts and minds.

The ASUG Best Practices: SAP for Chemicals conference is just around the corner. On Sept. 14 and 15, hear your industry peers and SAP experts on the latest trends and hurdles facing the chemicals industry today. Register here.

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