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SAP transformation continues to require agility

Companies must remain flexible and should therefore rely on the cloud, automation, and AI-based support

05 December 2023Nicole Berg

Successfully preparing for future ERP decisions

Decisions about the ERP system used in the company are immensely important. After all, ERP has been an important linchpin for successful business processes for many years. In order to be able to react quickly to new requirements and make use of innovations in the future, companies must remain flexible. They should therefore set the course now for their successful SAP-based enterprise IT architecture and choose the SAP deployment model that is right for them.

Updated processes important for transformation

A recent survey by SAPinsider identified the main factors influencing the deployment of SAP S/4HANA in 2023. The result is no surprise: the end of maintenance for SAP ERP in 2030 is still an important driver for the transition to SAP S/4HANA for 42 percent of European respondents. For just under a third of respondents (31 percent), updated processes that better meet their individual needs and reflect legal requirements are relevant. Also an important topic: 31 percent of respondents want to improve the satisfaction of their end users with the SAP S/4HANA transformation.

In focus: SAP know-how and SAP security

In addition, SAP user companies have many other questions when it comes to deploying SAP S/4HANA. For example, whether there is sufficient SAP know-how in the company. Or whether the security of the systems is also guaranteed in the future SAP S/4HANA landscape. It is also important to check which business cases are worth moving to SAP S/4HANA and which are not. Finally, companies also want to use SAP S/4HANA to create the basis for digital business processes by integrating business platforms that enable companies to work better with partners and customers. For example, to speed up processes and data exchange or to jointly promote innovation.

SAP S/4HANA transformation: the clock is ticking

With so much groundwork to migrate to SAP S/4HANA, time is short. Prepare for your transformation with our expert guide.

Choice of suitable long-term infrastructure

Once the route to SAP S/4HANA has been determined, the question remains as to which deployment model is best suited to it and, at the same time, fits your own needs and strategy. But how do you choose the right deployment model? According to an SAPinsider study, this is a key point. Due to the longevity of ERP systems, it is extremely important to select the right target architecture at the start of the SAP S/4HANA project in order to avoid restrictions in business processes or high costs later on. Various solutions can be considered depending on customer requirements. SAP S/4HANA Cloud may be an option, as well as a public cloud environment with a hyperscaler or a private cloud. T-Systems builds on multi-cloud solutions and thus offers the customer flexibility and neutrality in consulting and implementation.

Neutral SAP assessment sets the course

To evaluate and implement the most suitable deployment model in the long term, our SAP experts first carry out an assessment to determine how the customer is currently set up, which non-SAP systems need to be integrated, and how SAP S/4HANA can best support its value chain. Upcoming digitalisation projects, in particular, can integrate cloud-native services with the SAP S/4HANA core – and be decisive drivers in the platform decision.

The goal: more efficient business processes

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The answer to the identified need may be a private cloud or a hyperscaler solution with AWS, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure. The recommendation for the infrastructure is always based entirely on the added value for the customer. What might these advantages be? T-Systems delivers multi-cloud managed services for SAP applications that help our customers improve the efficiency, security, and performance of their business processes. A self-service order portal reduces the administrative workload for the customer's IT teams. SAP automation thus enables the accelerated provision of systems and updates through automated processes. The AI Operations Framework ensures proactive error detection and rectification using AI and machine learning – and thus secure SAP processes. Zero Outage also improves the reliability and resilience of SAP systems.

Full flexibility thanks to multi-cloud

In addition to neutral consulting in the assessment, T-Systems can also take over the transformation to a private or public cloud and operations, realise implementation, and ensure reliable SAP operation. T-Systems Multi-Cloud for SAP Solutions offers predefined SAP templates for public and private clouds that meet the current requirements of SAP's reference architecture and are immediately ready for operation in order to carry out the cloud transformation quickly, in a high-quality and standardised manner. In addition, Managed SAP Services based on best practices and many years of experience with SAP projects worldwide, as well as many other optional service modules, are also on offer.

In general, the close partnership between T-Systems, SAP, and the hyperscalers is particularly valuable for customers. T-Systems is an integrator here, creating the basis for identifying new business opportunities, implementing co-innovations with customers, and successfully implementing digital business processes and new ways of creating value for our customers. This is demonstrated by projects such as Catena-X in the automotive industry.

A head start through automation

Whether in the public cloud or hybrid cloud environments: automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are particularly important when managing SAP applications. Against this background, T-Systems employs a so-called "self-healing IT infrastructure". The advantage: our SAP teams do not wait for customer systems to malfunction. Instead, intelligent tools and technologies such as AIOps help to identify potential incidents in the SAP landscape far in advance and eliminate them at an early stage.

In the area of SAP Cloud Application Management and Operations, automated measures are proactively taken to avoid incidents in 80 percent of all events that arise. The advantage: customers do not have to act and can instead concentrate fully on their business and value creation.

Quick help when things aren't running smoothly

With the help of automation, T-Systems has also improved the routing of service tickets: if the customer creates a ticket in a certain category, Service Management automatically checks whether the category is correct or whether the request should be assigned to a different division. In order to provide customers with faster feedback and further assistance, the ticket is immediately forwarded to the right contact person – thus improving the time to value. T-Systems' extensive SAP Knowledge Database forms the basis for efficient service processes.

Through automation, we ensure that our customers' SAP systems run stably and securely. Our reward for this: in the area of SAP Application Management and Operations alone, over 90 percent of customers extend their contracts with T-Systems.

Automation: more room for the human element

Automation and AI are the key to analysing and optimising processes, thereby saving costs and time. Automation takes over certain recurring tasks for employees. It will not, however, take people's jobs. After all, it will not replace human skills such as empathy, which is so important for employee management. For T-Systems, the goal is therefore to preserve humanity even in the age of AI and automation and to use technologies meaningfully, for example to support customers with their sustainability goals.

Promoting sustainability even more strongly

Speaking of sustainability: companies have now recognised the need to operate more sustainably. Climate change, species extinction, and environmental pollution demand a rethink. Sustainability is also high on the agenda at T-Systems. For example, we use intelligent dashboards to measure the energy consumption of our data centres and take appropriate measures to reduce it. The CO2 footprint can be reduced simply by cooling hardware more effectively.

At the same time, measures for greater sustainability are also becoming increasingly important for our customers. They are more often asking their IT service provider for sustainable managed services, environmental certificates, or climate-friendly energy concepts. This is because, as part of their ESG reporting obligation, they have to be transparent about how sustainable they are. T-Systems supports companies on their path to digital and sustainable development – with innovative technologies and in-depth SAP know-how. In this way, we are helping to reduce CO2 emissions and protect the environment.

About the author
Nicole Berg: Vice President and Global Head of Customer Application Operations

Nicole Berg

Vice President and Global Head of Customer Application Operations, T-Systems International GmbH

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