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SAP S/4HANA Cloud: The extensible ERP solution you’ve been looking for

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Today’s business landscape is competitive. Organisations must differentiate their offering to win trust, providing seamless customer experiences all the while. However, with unique selling propositions come unique requirements, so when it comes to technology, customisability becomes a primary concern.

The good news: leading solutions have recognised the increasing need for user-friendly extension capabilities. Even something as multifaceted as SAP S/4HANA Cloud allows innovators to transform their ideas into realities.

Here’s what you need to know about achieving outside-the-box functionalities that set your business apart from the rest.

What is SAP S/4HANA Cloud?

In short, SAP S/4HANA Cloud is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that unites all your core business functions under one roof, providing anywhere, anytime access to accurate and up-to-date data. The fourth-gen, cloud-based version of SAP’s business suite, SAP S/4HANA Cloud offers in-built analytics and reporting, artificial intelligence (AI), and intelligent process automation.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud leverages the public cloud, a multitenant architecture managed by a third party – in this case, SAP. SAP delivers SAP S/4HANA’s functionalities over the internet, and because many clients access services via the same infrastructure, the costs are shared. The benefits include reduced expenses and greater agility, which Gartner estimates will help attract US$480 billion in global end-user spending on public cloud services in 2022.

Public cloud, personal solutions

Standard public cloud-hosted ERP might be the right choice for your organisation. However, that doesn’t mean you should forgo not-so-standard adaptations. SAP S/4HANA Cloud delivers the best of both worlds for companies that value agility yet have unique requirements. We’ll examine the types of extension tools available with SAP S/4HANA Cloud below. But first, let’s distinguish between core and extended ERP modules.

  • Core ERP modules help you streamline your business’s critical activities – many of which your competitors and other key players in your industry share. Think finance, customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), and governance, risk, and compliance (GRC).
  • Extended ERP modules help you address unique capability requirements that might be missing from the system’s core modules. Think of them like apps you install on your phone that add new functionalities or enhance existing ones.

What is extensibility, and why does it matter?

Extensibility is a measure of how easy it is to increase a product’s – in this case, an ERP solution – capabilities or features. Extensible products are designed with enhancement and adaptation front of mind.

Extensibility should be top of your priority list when selecting an ERP system. For one, extensible solutions are more easily integrated into your existing IT network. Plus, they can be altered to meet your specific needs, so you can uphold your competitive advantage today and expand or change your offering in the future.

In summary, extensibility supports agility. And according to a McKinsey & Company study, agile transformation fosters 30 per cent increases in customer satisfaction, efficiency, employee engagement, and performance. Plus, it enables the organisation to function five to ten times faster, leading to supercharged innovation.

Extensibility in SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Extensibility in SAP S/4HANA Cloud empowers you to tweak the software to meet your business needs. You can adapt things like fields, logic, reports, forms, user interface (UI), integrations, and business configuration, as well as introduce custom terminology and install third-party applications.

Extensibility in SAP S/4HANA Cloud can be categorised as either in-app or side-by-side.

  • In-app extensibility uses SAP S/4HANA Cloud’s built-in capabilities.
  • Side-by-side extensibility uses SAP Business Technology Platform to incorporate add-ons and integrations from SAP or third parties. This method of extension gives you the flexibility needed to keep on top of day-to-day operations – however unique your business model may be.

What is SAP Business Technology Platform?

SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) provides intelligent enterprise applications, analytics, integration, database and data management, and extension capability – all under one platform. Suitable for cloud and hybrid environments, SAP BTP offers hundreds of user-friendly, pre-built extensions for SAP plus access to add-ons from over 15,000 partners across 25 industries.

Together with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP BTP gives you access to the features and flexibility your business needs to thrive. You can connect business processes to optimise workflows across departments and teams, driving positive customer experiences and achieving desired business outcomes. You can refine your operations by integrating SAP S/4HANA Cloud with industry-specific third-party solutions without losing an all-important, consolidated view of real-time data and insights. And you can personalise add-ons with app dev capabilities to jump on new opportunities and innovate at rapid speed.

Whatever your use case, SAP BTP delivers.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud extensibility tools

In addition to SAP BTP, SAP S/4HANA Cloud users have access to a high-powered suite of extensibility tools, including:

  • Localisation Toolkit for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, which offers location-specific extensibility solutions
  • SAP API Business Hub, which gives you access to application development interfaces for SAP S/4HANA Cloud
  • SAP BTP’s Rapid Application Development by Mendix, which enables quick and low-code application development via a visual toolset
  • SAP Business Application Studio, which offers desktop-like app experiences with fully integrated debugging solutions and code editors
  • SAP Cloud SDK, which allows you to develop applications
  • SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation, which builds software robots that automate tedious, manual processes and tasks through SAP S/4HANA’s Bot Store content
  • Situation Handling, which allows you to configure situations that pick up on business problems across SAP S/4HANA Cloud, alert the relevant users, and propose resolutions
  • The Extensibility Cockpit, which enables you to identify extension points in SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Accelerate growth with an intelligent ERP that bends to your needs

SAP S/4HANA Cloud delivers far-reaching benefits, and for organisations that do things a little differently, the platform’s extensibility is one of the most appealing.

Contact the Discover Consulting team today if you are ready to innovate, accelerate growth, and future-proof your operations. We are available to discuss your unique needs and roadmap an intelligent ERP solution that empowers your people, satisfies your customers and propels your company to new heights.

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