SAP recently announced a new way of accessing our S4 technology for Supply Chains, without having to already have the full S4 suite for ERP.
To find out more about this announcement, the advantages for supply chain professionals of this announcement, and how to access it I invited Sandy Markin to come on the podcast.
We had an excellent conversation and, as always, I learned loads, I hope you do too...
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To learn more about how Industry 4.0 technologies can help your organisation read the 2020 global research study 'The Power of change from Industry 4.0 in manufacturing' (https://www.sap.com/cmp/dg/industry4-manufacturing/index.html)
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As we know, companies have been facing a tremendous amount of complexity and disruption in their enterprises over the last year in particular. And, and this solution that we've announced is, the purpose of it is to really address that. By providing we call more modular and interoperable solutions and capabilities around the S4 digital core.Tom Raftery:
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening wherever you are in the world. This is the digital supply chain podcast, the number one podcast focusing on the digitization of supply chain. And I'm your host, global vice president of SAP. Tom Raftery. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the digital supply chain podcast. My name is a Tom Raftery with SAP and with me on the show today, I have my special guest, Sandy. Sandy, would you like to introduce yourself? Sure, Tom.Sandy Markin:
So my name is Sandy Markin, I'm part of the sap digital Supply Chain Solutions organization that was SAP for many years and focused on a number of different supply chain initiatives, currently, mostly on what we call cross portfolio topics, programs and projects. So I think that's one of one of the examples that we're going to talk about today.Tom Raftery:
Okay, so, yeah, we were coming on. I've invited you on the podcast today, because of a recent announcement by SAP. Do you want to give us a little bit about that, and then we get into it in more detail?Sandy Markin:
Sure. So the recent announcement is about what we call the sap digital supply chain edition for SAP S4 hana. And I know that's the most hopefully long title. But we can condense it and just call it the DSC edition for S4 for the rest of this discussion. And, yeah, we launched this back in February. And the concept is around what I call the strategic imperative for modularity. As we know, companies have been facing a tremendous amount of complexity and disruption in their enterprises over the last year in particular. And then this solution that we've announced is, the purpose of it is to really address that, by providing we call more modular and interoperable solutions and capabilities around the s for digital core. So that's just a quick sort of intro. So we can, you know, we can get into some of the details of this as as we go forward in the conversation.Tom Raftery:
Okay. So just because the audience for this podcast is, I got to think I don't know, because, you know, it's a podcast, so I don't get to meet very many of them very often. But I suspect the audience is quite broad, because we touch on everything in this podcast from the engineering and the planning, right, the way through to the delivery and logistics and the operations at the end. Maybe, and it's not entirely in SAP audience either. It's broader than that. So let's level set a bit by you mentioned S4. No, you know, I worked for SAP you work for SAP? We both know what s four is, but maybe not everyone listening does Can you give us a bit of a background? Or first what is it we're talking about?Sandy Markin:
Sure. So, SAP S4. Hana is our latest and greatest, if you will ERP enterprise resource planning system. So I'm sure you know, most people, if they've been paying attention over the last 25 or 30 years, they're familiar with SAP as an ERP company. Our ECC platform is the what we call our legacy solution for enterprise resource planning, everything from financial sales and marketing, distribution, manufacturing 1000s of 1000s of customers globally. And a number of years ago, we decided it was time to take advantage of some some newer technologies specifically around the the SAP HANA capabilities. And so we started developing s for HANA as the successor to the ERP. So this is now our primary solution for companies that want to I'll just call it digitalize their enterprises.Tom Raftery:
Okay. And you mentioned then a modular deployment. Can you tell me why would people want to move in the direction of a modular deployment? What's that about?Sandy Markin:
So I kind of threw out this phrase before the strategic imperative for modularity. You know, it's really In an attempt to address the complexities and the breadth and scope of what companies are undertaking today in terms of digital transformation, and I'm going to make the assumption that most people are familiar with the concept of digital transformation. If not, you know, send me an email, well, we'll have another conversation. But digital digital transformations are things that really encompass the entire enterprise. And through these particular, in the last year or so what we've seen is, many of these projects have been kind of slow now, because of the impact of the pandemic on you know, resources and companies had a sort of refocus themselves. And one of the areas that they've really refocused themselves on is their supply chains. supply chain is something that I think most people probably heard the term up to a year ago, but the in the last year, I think it's become something that everybody kind of understands, at least, maybe they don't know everything about supply chain, but they certainly know how it impacts their day to day lives. And so this is caused companies to put a greater focus on on how they, how they leverage their supply chains to serve their customers in in times of great need. And we don't anticipate that those times of great need are going to go away soon, or they're probably going to continue to happen on a fairly regular basis. If not a pandemic, there'll be some other event. So modularity allows companies to focus their efforts in those areas that really help them serve their customers better. And of course, supply chain is not the only one. But because this is a digital supply chain podcast, we're focusing on some of the areas that companies are, you know, really need to accelerate their digital transformation in order to, you know, make themselves more responsive and resilient enterprises, both today and in the future.Tom Raftery:
Okay, and if customers are on the legacy system that we have, as opposed to having upgraded can they take advantage of this offer?Sandy Markin:
Absolutely, in fact, this is one of the main advantages of what we've done with the with the DSC edition, we have, as I mentioned earlier, you know, 1000s, of companies that are still on the old legacy ECC system, many of them have started their s word journeys. So they're doing the whole enterprise digital transformation. But they want to accelerate their supply chain, and they don't want to wait until the, for example, the finance part of the project is done. So by taking advantage of some of these modular capabilities, and we can talk about specifically what those are in a few minutes, but by taking advantage of those, they can accelerate in in particular areas, for example, and production planning and scheduling, which, as we've seen throughout the last year, has been extremely important, you know, customers need to be more agile and how they plan and schedule manufacturing and utilize your manufacturing resources. On the fulfillment side, you know, can they can they quickly and responsibly fulfill customers demand as we see that, you know, changing and, you know, see all this volatility as a result of, of the disruption over the last year. And then finally, another key areas in transportation not, you know, it's great to manufacture the goods to get them, you know, ready to ship, but then you have to move them to the right place at the right time, you have to do that in an effective, efficient, cost effective manner. So these are three areas that we focused on. Developing and creating these modular capabilities that companies can can go ahead and take advantage of, while they're asked for our transformation is going on or even in advance of the rest of our transformation. And, of course, the first part of your question, Tom was, you know, what, if they're on ECC, what if we're on legacy system? Yeah, they will be able to integrate this back to their legacy systems. So, you know, they can take advantage of they get the best of both worlds, they get the the ability to transform their enterprises, the the ability to accelerate their supply chain transformation, and still maintain their existing environment for whatever time they they need to do that for various business or technical reasons.Tom Raftery:
Okay, and if they are in the middle of a transformation in another part of the business, like finances, as you mentioned earlier, so they have an S four already set up, but they want to accelerate the supply chain one, so they take advantage of this offer. Can they you know, combine the two s four systems into one afterwards? Are they then stuck with two s four systems?Sandy Markin:
Yeah, that's a great question. And that actually, that's one that a lot of people are asking. So okay, you've given us this modular environment, we can Implement, you know, warehouse management, we can implement transportation, we can do production planning and scheduling. What if at some point, I want to go back to what we call the embedded version, so this is the, you know, everything sitting on an S four platform. And yes, we are, we have created what we call the customer journey, and the customer journey will allow the customer to have options, they can, you know, they can start with a modular deployment, they can keep that modular deployment in place for some period of time, when they're ready to move off of their existing ECC system, they can move over to S for HANA and bring those modular versions with them, as you know, as their requirements dictate, or they can continue with the side by side module deployments for however long they want. So, we we don't box them in to to one path or another, you know, there are certain benefits to having the you know, the the single sort of embedded es four platform, but there are also benefits to the to the modular approach as well. So companies can you know, go in that direction and maintain it for as long as they like, I will also mention that, we will be introducing additional capabilities into the DSC addition over time. So, this is not a one time thing, there are other areas in you know, manufacturing and production engineering, other planning capabilities that will become part of this, this package, if you will, so, you know, the customer journey becomes critically important. In, you know, what is the long term view of of this of this industry?Tom Raftery:
Okay? And is this an on prem or a cloud? And, you know, if it's on prem, how does it fit with the company's ambitions to go cloud?Sandy Markin:
So, we certainly have the the cloud first mentality is, as everybody knows, so we offer it, we offer this in a private cloud deployment, we also offer it on prem. So with companies have both have the choice as to which direction they want to go in. And of course, they can go hybrid, if they want to do you know part of it, private cloud and part of it on prem? For for certain reasons. For example, if they want to implement production planning, in a plant, they can do that, they can also use we call the hub scenario, which will allow them to connect to multiple earpiece systems. Or if they want to, you know, implement warehouse management in the warehouse, they can do that on premise as well, or they can just do the whole thing or any of them, if you will get any combination in a private cloud environment, which will give them you know, more flexibility, lower t CO and also but allow them at the same time to take advantage of customisations they may have done in their legacy environment, this is a big advantage of the the private cloud, if you will, the sap private cloud edition is it's not necessarily you know, starting all over again, it's it allows customers the ability to take advantage of existing customization they may have done in the past.Tom Raftery:
Very good, very good. If people are interested to find out more, you know, what, what are their? What are their next steps?Sandy Markin:
If you're an SAP employee, certainly, you have access to all of the internal information, you know, internal exam pages, we have a site setup for, for this solution with presentations enabled materials, news bytes, we did a video earlier this year with our digital supply chain head of development France hero. So all of that is there, both internally and as well as we have External links on SAP Comm. And we will also be publishing a lot more of this around Sapphire. I think hopefully, this podcast is something that people will be able to take advantage of as well. So there will there are multiple channels of information of communication and going out to the market as well. Okay, super, super.Tom Raftery:
We're coming towards the end of the podcast. Now, Sandy, is there any question I've not asked you that you wish I had? Is there any aspect of this that we've not covered off that you think, you know, people should be aware of?Sandy Markin:
Yeah, there's a couple things. First of all, you know, we've talked a lot about modularity and specifically you know, in certain areas of production planning, warehouse management, and transportation. Now, anybody that has done a an implementation in supply chain is aware of the fact that, you know, these capabilities also need to be tightly integrated into the core. And so in order to have the benefits of this modularity to be sustainable, these solutions also have to be interoperable. They have to integrate with, as I mentioned earlier, with the either the legacy ECM The system or the f4 system. So interoperability is a key point here, I just want to make sure that everybody understands we're not putting these things out on an island standalone, they will still integrate with your, with your ECC system or your your esperano system. The other thing that I think is probably a question everybody's mind is, you know, how does this fit in with the, the overall SAP portfolio in digital supply chain, and while this is, you know, one offering, this is highly relevant in other areas. For example, in our in our native cloud solutions, like integrated business planning, digital manufacturing, cloud, intelligent asset management, you know, we look at our portfolio as a total, you know, end to end set of solutions. So we have a process that we call plan to fulfill, which takes the the customer all the way from the original planning, through the manufacturing fulfillment, and final delivery, and even the asset management process. The digital supply chain edition for us rohana fits very nicely into that end to end process it again, will integrate with integrated business planning, it will integrate with intelligent asset management, and other areas, particularly digital manufacturing. So, it's it's a key part of the overall portfolio and with tremendous value add, in terms of the integration with with other solutions that we provide.Tom Raftery:
Okay, fantastic. Sandy, if people want to know more about yourself, or about the DSC edition for S4 HANA, where would you have me direct them? ,Sandy Markin:
Well, I they can find me, I'm on LinkedIn. So they can certainly contact me on LinkedIn, just look up Sandy Markin, or they can contact me directly at my SAP email address, which is Sandy dot Markin at SAP com. And, you know, those are probably the two places that you're most likely to find me and about the edition, I would just go on sap.com, type in S4 SAP digital supply chain edition for S4 HANA, and our main page will come up with some information about the solution. And there will be much more to come as we move forward. You know, this was our first release in February, we're expecting another release in the third quarter of this year with more capabilities. So and more announcements around Sapphire, with new packaging and pricing. So you know, there's there's more to come. So keep checking back if you don't see exactly what you're looking for the first time.Tom Raftery:
Okay, and I'll put a link to that page in the notes of the podcast as well as that people will have easy access to it. Great, Sandy. That's been fantastic. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.Sandy Markin:
Thank you, Tom.Tom Raftery:
Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to sa p.com slash digital supply chain or, or simply drop me an email to Tom Raftery at sa p.com. If you'd like to show, please don't forget to subscribe to it and your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.