The latest SAP ERP release, S/4HANA 1909, is a solution for the future. It introduces machine learning for predictive analytics reporting as well as automation of selected processes (RPA). SAP opens its platform, so companies can integrate to other systems and data sources.
When SAP announced its new ERP suite, S/4HANA in 2015, CEO Bill McDermott called it "the company's biggest launch in 23 years - if not in its entire history."
The latest release, SAP S/4HANA 1909, provides yet another strategic boost to companies with the introduction of 'Intelligent Enterprise', which focuses on process optimization and capabilities to utilize operational data. In addition, the 1909 release's technical platform is open.
This means that it can be integrated into other platforms as well as collecting and accessing data outside the SAP ERP platform, for example via Internet of Things (IoT) and external data services. There is an opportunity to exploit the company's operational data in a better way. In particular, we find the following very interesting:
Off-the-shelf predictive analytics can be applied to data in SAP S/4HANA 1909 and predict in real-time based on selected operational processes. An example is 'Real Time Product Availability'. This algorithm is designed to foresee the availability of the products when creating a customer order.
Process automation - Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is built into SAP S/4HANA 1909. It allows companies to automate the tedious and time-consuming operational functions such as quote-to-cash, e.g. sales document workflow, or within Procure-to-Pay, i.e. intelligent approval of requisition; processes that are embedded in SAP S/4HANA 1909. SAP also gives the possibility for companies to develop and apply RPA.
S/4HANA 1909 has seamless integration with SAP Analytics Cloud. This enables companies to report on ERP data and other data, and also paves the way for using machine learning to develop predictive analytics algorithms if the off-the-shelf solution isn't sufficient.
Companies that are ambitious with their data - and there are good reasons to be - need to bring all types of data into play, not just operational data.
SAP S/4HANA 1909 also provides the opportunity to link operational data with data generated outside the ERP platform, creating a very solid data foundation for Data Intelligence.
By applying predictive analytics on a broader and larger data foundation, companies can gain valuable business insights, which can bring competitive advantages. This requires that algorithms are being developed uniquely for the specific purpose. SAP has opened its platform, so the newest technologies in machine learning can be applied to develop customized algorithms for predictive analytics, including both reporting and automation of tasks.
Operational data comes better into play in SAP S/4HANA 1909, compared to previous S/4 releases, and this allows companies to use operational data more intelligently. Here are some examples where customized algorithms create value:
Shop floor data. By linking data of a chemical liquid together with the maintenance needs of the machinery, in which the liquid runs through, companies can uncover which parameters impact the process, the temperatures, and the need for cleaning the machinery.
Research data. When analyzing test samples, many parameters are to be measured. These are analyzed individually, and in relation to each other in order to determine the required actions to be performed.
Construction Data. When companies can predict the price trend of critical building materials (e.g. steel), it becomes possible to predict more accurate prices of future constructions and determine the right price of the construction contracts.
ABOUT Rooftop analytics
Rooftop Analytics has many years of experience with both SAP and predictive analytics. We understand how data forms part of business processes and what opportunities and constraints this provides. Therefore, we are able to advise you on the use of predictive analytics based on your data inside and outside SAP.