Afiniti Insights

Why Choose a Business Change Partner for Your SAP S/4HANA Project?

SAP ECC is often the foundation of an IT ecosystem. With SAP withdrawing mainstream maintenance for SAP ECC and other core applications of SAP Business Suite 7 in 2027 in favour of SAP S/4HANA, the race is on to make this move before the deadline.

The business case for moving to SAP S/4HANA is compelling: simply put business continuity is at risk if nothing is done.  Moving to SAP S/4HANA is also viewed as an accelerator for simplification, standardisation, process harmonisation and digital transformation. When these business benefits are added to the case – it becomes more compelling – and a real opportunity to transform to realise those benefits and deliver value into the organisation.

Typically, you will rely on a trusted system integration partner to support your SAP S/4HANA journey.  Selecting the correct partner is extremely important as they play a key role in helping identify, purchase, design, build, implement, support and run the SAP solution that will best fit your organisation.

Selecting the correct Business Change Partner often brings the opportunity to accelerate value into the organisation and ensure the people agenda is on equal footing to that of process and system.

A quick web search for “major SAP failures” returns thousands of results where change management deficiencies have contributed to the failure of an ERP project.  In one article, the writer explains in the 30+ ERP expert witness lawsuits they have been involved in, change management was a key failure point in each and every one!

Despite this, business change expertise is seldom cited as an essential attribute of a system integration partner.

…and that’s ok, because your system integration partner will be providing subject matter expertise for the technical and functional aspects of your SAP S/4HANA implementation – it’s what they excel in after all.

So what is ‘A successful SAP S/4HANA programme’? Is it ‘go-live’ being achieved?  From a technical perspective it likely is; if however success means adoption – that the organisation has embraced and embedded new ways of thinking and working – then the people aspects of change must be addressed equally to that of process and technology and data. 

SAP S/4HANA is a significant investment and its success depends on the organisation’s readiness and commitment to adopt and embed new ways of thinking and working.

The magnitude of change when moving to SAP S/4HANA should not be underestimated. Before a change impact assessment is thought about, we must consider:

  • A compelling story leaders share to gain commitment from their teams and communities is pivotal – such a large investment warrants airtime and priority from senior leaders
  • What opportunities exist from a culture, behaviour and mindset perspective
  • SAP S/4HANA will see obsolete transaction codes or new transaction codes being introduced
  • The introduction of SAP Fiori or mobility applications may present a different interface and user experience
  • Some existing functionalities may not yet exist in SAP S/4HANA which could lead to business process changes
  • SAP S/4HANA may also be leveraged as an opportunity for simplifications and the removal of customisations, which may be perceived as a step back to go forward.

Onboarding a business change partner allows you – the client – to have more certainty of successful adoption.  An experienced business change partner sits client-side and brings positive tension to ensure the people agenda of change has equal footing with process and system.  This includes:

  • Your project team is augmented with experienced change practitioners
  • A robust business change methodology is employed to structure activities
  • You have the right level of business change support for your project
  • The need for change is understood by the people in your organisation

Why choose Afiniti as your Business Change Partner?

At Afiniti, business change is all we do: we don’t have any other agenda, and we thrive on helping clients shape change, be ready for change, make change happen and ultimately make change stick.

We really are all about people: it’s people that will drive change and make the new way of working the norm.  Our holistic blend of change management services is part of an integrated approach to the people agenda of change. Using a tailored mix of our services to suit your SAP S/4HANA project, we will help you accelerate and embed change, driving your business forward to its potential future state.

Afiniti delivers its services through five disciplines – Project & Programme Management, Change Management, Communications & Engagement, and Learning, all underpinned by our own in-house Creative Design studio.

At Afiniti we:

  • Solely focus on people change (we are a speciality business change consultancy)
  • Possess significant heavy hitting and impactful SAP and business transformation experience
  • Introduce toolkits, frameworks, and approaches which accelerate and de-risk business change
  • Intentionally develop internal capability and consciously transfer knowledge and skills to our clients
  • Embrace lessons learned bringing a constantly evolving approach to each engagement
  • Have a highly capable team with the ability to flex to provide the right capability / expertise
  • Are independent and can scale as needed

If you’d like to find out more about how Afiniti helps clients plan, execute and embed sustainable change solutions, and how we can help you with your SAP S4/HANA change programmes, send us a message and we’ll get straight back to you.

Written by Gill Hughes      gill hughes

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