As organizations continue to develop and refine their digital transformation roadmaps, a central component of the transformation revolves around Intelligent ERP deployment. While SAP announced that its end of support for ECC 6.0 was pushed to 2027, customers continue to formulate strategies for shifting their business systems to SAP S/4HANA. The extension provides customers the opportunity to further refine their approach and ensure the organization is appropriately prepared to manage and minimize the disruption.
While the main drivers of a digital journey remain focused on enhancing the customer experience (CX) through popular channels such as marketing, product selection and supply chain efficiency, there are additional avenues of transformation, such as user experience (UX) that are often overlooked.
The internal users of a digital ERP system are the most critical group of individuals during any transformation initiative as they can make or break the adoption of digital systems. Solution adoption is widely achieved through organizational change management (OCM) efforts, which are key drivers in successful transformation efforts. However, companies that are truly “going digital” need to consider the positive impact a transformation can have on their internal people and not just on their end customers. To be clear, there are numerous advantages that digital ERP solutions such as S/4HANA provide for internal functions. Advancements in AI/ML, along with re-imagined processes for cumbersome activities such as closing the financial period, are areas of true business impact. But what about the lines of business that haven’t been transformed? What are the customer service representatives, credit analysts and other user groups gaining during major shifts in the technology landscape?
Enter SAP Fiori. Thousands of pre-delivered Fiori Tiles are an out-of-the-box deliverable with an S/4HANA application, yet the true adoption of Fiori has, in our encounters, been scarce. One reason for the low adoption rate is the sheer effort it takes to rationalize which apps in the library are relevant for a business unit. Often, we have found that Fiori is undervalued due to its perception of being an all or nothing UI. It is true that any customization to the back end would need to be retrofitted in Fiori but what are we losing by not exploring the positive impact that effort can have?
What most fail to realize is that Fiori provides significant flexibility from design to deployment which can truly make a difference in the way we work. Take, for example, a recent customer of Protiviti’s who wanted to improve the process for checking a customer’s credit limits. Despite going through an SAP Central Finance Transformation, the process for one finance credit analyst to check one customer’s credit information was to review data via five screens and two different systems. This organization went on a journey to centralize and streamline their financial processes, but somehow the credit analyst’s work process got more complicated.
The reality is that a function such as credit check is not as exciting a topic as digital commerce. What we all too often fail to realize is how critical a function like this can be to the survival of our valued people and our customers’ loyalty. The likely scenarios that play out in my mind go something like this:
Customer requests extended line of credit à credit analyst can’t process the request immediately due to backlog of requests à customer buys product from someone else
Customer requests extended line of credit à credit analyst speeds through the check approving incorrect limits à company is now at risk by offering credit to an unapproved client
Our client understood there had to be a better way. Through an effort to understand the process, capture the requirements for customer credit check and validate the necessary data objects, they were able to take the five screens and two–system process down to a one-screen, one-system process for all credit check needs. By deploying this solution, the organization has accomplished several things:
- Users are now exclusively leveraging SAP Central Finance as their core digital solution.
- There is a standard process for how a credit check should be performed and controls are in place for authorizing credit extensions.
- Credit checks can be performed for customers in real time, ensuring products can be purchased in a timely manner.
- Internal excitement around what other functions could be enhanced with Fiori has organically made its way to the C-suite and has increased user adoption of the new system.
The key takeaway from this experience is that the tools required for transformation at any level are available to an organization invested in S/4HANA. While not all improvements will come standard, there are numerous ways in which you can enhance the way your people can leverage the tools provided to ensure they continue to serve your customers in the most efficient way possible. Fiori is one of those tools that helps increase user adoption, reduce workload and process complexity and free up time for your resources to focus on higher value tasks.