A new and highly transparent offer from Swisscom makes it much easier for companies to transition to S/4HANA. Swisscom SAP Chief Solution Architect Jörg Knaus explains the unique advantages of the portfolio for customers.
Text: Andreas Kunkel, Photo: Swisscom,
Mr Knaus, in one of your tweets you refer to the current Netflix series ‘Biohackers,’ in which innovations that came onto the market only a few years ago are already considered outdated. Should we expect similar half-lives for business software?
Fortunately, no. Many customers have been using SAP R/3, for example, for a more than 25 years. However, they are also working on a system that dates back to a time when urgent messages were still sent via pager. In other words, the advantages of the technical developments of recent decades cannot be used as optimally as the market actually expects.
So it doesn’t make sense to expand existing systems with newer modules?
Of course it does. I must compliment the developers of SAP R/3: their solutions continue to work well to this day. But there will come a time when these solutions will no longer be able to provide the required performance because there are simply too many inherited burdens. That is why a new product is needed, namely S/4HANA.
You say that switching to SAP S/4HANA will help overcome a creeping innovation gap.
There is often a difference between what companies do and what they could actually do. Innovations are not an end in themselves. Rather, they should be implemented as part of a process – with software that fully supports this. SAP S/4HANA is one such enabler. Many of our customers are therefore introducing it to coincide with upcoming changes in their business models or organisational structures. This will give them the agility they need to adapt quickly and confidently to today’s customer expectations and market conditions.
Nevertheless, some customers worry about the possible risks of such a switch.
SAP systems mustn’t break down. Guaranteeing this is part of our job. You can compare these fears with concerns prior to an operation on the heart of a company. In addition, there is often pressure to change the system over a weekend, for example. This problem can only be solved with good tools, a proven approach and experience.
Especially since an “operation” must be prepared well.
Yes, that’s why we scan and test the systems carefully in advance. To pick up on the earlier metaphor, we take an X-ray to see where and how we should start. There may also be fundamental innovations that a company wants to implement in its business activities. Both form the basis for a common roadmap.
What makes Swisscom better than competing providers?
We know and work with SAP S/4HANA. Since it came on the market, five years ago, Swisscom has already helped more than 40 customers deploy S/4HANA. Our approximately 400 SAP specialists are extremely well trained, and some of them have been working on SAP implementation for 20 years. There are also national advantages: we are physically close to our customers, we speak the same language and we understand the concerns Swiss companies have. This is particularly important for sensitive topics such as security.
You also aim to provide a new degree of clarity and transparency in the range of services on offer.
Yes, we have fundamentally revised and redesigned our portfolio. Because individual projects are by their very nature developed for a specific situation, there is a risk that new requirements will have to be discussed and implemented again and again during the course of ongoing measures. That is why we offer clearly structured and comprehensible product modules. This helps our customers understand what is critical to address and which services will ensure they can meet their goals. They can then decide which modules they need and which they don’t.
You don’t want to bundle together packages that blindly cover as many options as possible.
Swisscom offers companies a streamlined package of minimum services and clearly comprehensible and easily calculable additional options. The package is SAP-certified and can be found on the SAP website. This is unique in Switzerland. Of course, each customer and each desired conversion remains individual. But thanks to the system’s modular structure, we can effectively adapt the procedure to the respective requirements while still remaining transparent. This creates security for our customers.
Aside from the financial and programmatic transparency, does that also apply to manpower?
We create a very clear picture of what resources will be needed, including in terms of how many of the company’s employees will be required and to what extent. Time and again it turns out that one of the biggest problems is a lack of resources. That is why we also support our customers in this area by providing the necessary manpower. Nevertheless, the training courses we offer are also very important.
Through the SAP S/4HANA Transformation Factory and S/4HANA Lean Conversion, Swisscom offers all the necessary steps for easy migration, bundled into a uniform portfolio that is uncomplicated, secure and resource-saving.
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