SAP has announced the general availability of its S/4HANA 1902 release. The update sees a range of improvements across broad functionality that S/4HANA already offers. In an accompanying video to the blog, Sven Denecken, SVP of product management and co-innovation for SAP S/4HANA Cloud highlighted his top ten features for the new release. This includes updates to:
- Finance: S/4HANA now delivers functionality that enables companies to define, automate, process, and monitor the close process.
- Supply Chain: A new SAP Fiori Inventory KPI Analysis’ app, assists inventory analysts by tracking inventory changes against KPI’s, quickly highlighting trends that may be of concern.
- Quality Management in Warehousing has improved to enable more frequent inspections during product touch points.
- Asset Management. It is now possible to mass generate orders for maintenance modifications.
- Sourcing and Procurement. It has improved the analytics in the SAP Fiori App. It now enables users to better monitor changes in purchase order items. This also includes the ability to drill down into detail and initiate changes.
- Service: It is now possible to import contracts from external systems using a SOAP API. Though there is no detail about which external solutions are currently supported.
- Professional Services. SAP has improved the localisation features in timesheets. It is possible to track details for their work location of an employee rather than just their home country
- Situation handling. This is a new feature that allows specific users to be contacted if certain procurement events occur. For example; if a supplier fails to confirm a delivery date.
- SAP Enable Now. The in-app user assistant, SAP EnableNow, is now integrated to S/4HANA. This allows organisations to provide relevant help content within the solutions
- The final feature is not one within the update but rather helps customers with their implementation projects. It is now possible to use Cloud Application Lifecycle Management (CALM) for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. CALM uses the SAP Activate methodology and this assists customers with a step by step process for their implementation projects.
Improving revenue recognition
These are not the only features available in 1902 and as usual SAP does not disappoint with the volume of changes in its latest release. The release notes themselves highlight three new features for the release. Two of these are mentioned above by Denecken: Service Contract Management and the Advanced Financial Close.
The third is Contract-Based Revenue Recognition. Within the finance application this allows the creation of revenue contracts corresponding to provider contracts. It is possible to create performance obligations based on the provider contracts and to recognise the revenue as those obligations are fulfilled over time. This improves the revenue recognition especially for service contracts.
The full release notes for just detailing Whats new in SAP S/4HANA 1902 cloud run to 540 pages. There are also further updates that include functional areas such as :
- Asset management
- Human resources
- Professional Services
- R&D Engineering
- Sourcing and Procurement
- Supply Chain
In addition to all of this there are improvements to localisation. This now includes several enhancements for compliance in Brazil. Other countries with localisation updates include: Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia,, Norway, Romania. Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey and UAE.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
This is another significant update from SAP on its strategic cloud ERP. As its functionality grows it will be increasingly common to hear of more migration projects to the cloud. The breadth of the updates if far larger than that recently announced by Infor for its LN product or Plex who also issues a product update.
SAP, criticised a few years ago for its lack of Cloud ERP strategy, is clearly making up for lost time. It has put its development efforts into delivering the complex functionality that customers need. As it improves its solutions to help enable the intelligent enterprise more companies will look to upgrade.
Yannick Peterschmitt (SAP S/4HANA Product Management) highlights this by saying: “The Intelligent Enterprise is the next frontier for SAP customers. It is about automated processes, empowered employees and revenue creation and all this with ease and intelligence.”
The real challenge for SAP is whether it can win customers from other vendors rather than just convert its own.