Business Benefits of SAP HANA for Finance Processes at SAP

Christian KLEIN

Posted by Christian KLEIN on

Chief Operating Officer & Member Of The Executive Board Of SAP SE

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We are proud to say that we are running the company based on a highly integrated landscape, with reporting that is really coming from the transactional system. This allows for a truly 360° view of the company for real-time decision making. Ultimately, SAP has greatly benefitted from implementing HANA and S/4HANA in three key ways.

Flexibility
A big improvement is flexibility within the system. This flexibility provides a single source of truth that is reliable and useful. S/4HANA Finance as our real-time finance platform serves as our global single source of truth at SAP. It helps us to keep financial and managerial accounting automatically in sync without the need for time-consuming reconciliations, and enables seamless drill-down and drill-through between both worlds. Financial steering with integrated planning, predictive forecasting and simulation helps us to move from data sheet-centric to business-centric planning and forecasting. The ‘reporting on the fly’ capability on lowest granularity level of posting with all our attributes allows us now to create new analysis and answer new questions instantly.

This liberates operational business users in the system, changing the way we make decisions. We can explore our data freely and make predictions for our future with the Digital Boardroom. Pipeline, financial, HR, opportunity, CRM – everything follows the same HANA-based logic. All data is available anytime, anywhere, on any device. This contributes to an unbiased conversation during meetings and saves time.

Throughput
The second big change is system throughput. This benefits many areas, but in the example of closing, it allows us to shrink processing time dramatically. Since migrating to S/4HANA, for 3 years now we have been able to close on a subsidiary level in 3 days and for the entire group in 8 days. SAP is top in fast close according to the German Finance Magazine. The faster close means we can start our next forecast that much earlier. The net result is we’re getting better and quicker insights to the business. That makes us much more valuable – and a valued business partner.

As an added benefit, our controllers have more time for quality control and value-adding core analytical tasks and decision support. This new capability to do simplified real-time reporting has enabled us to transfer many reporting duties in a self-service manner to the lines of business. By reducing the time our people in FP&A spend on producing reports, they have a higher capacity to analyze the data and advise the businesses on performance improvements.

User Productivity
The third important change is productivity and efficiency. Fiori, our improved user interface, provides an efficient, simple way to use analytical and transactional applications. This is a huge productivity gain. That interface is very intuitive for the casual user and offers a broad functionality for the expert user. For extensions, we make use of the SAP Cloud Platform.

The flexibility provided by S/4HANA also saves time. For example, when managing working capital, we can generate real-time insight into cash collection patterns that may pose a risk, and our account executives can use the insight to make different payment arrangements with customers.

Think about what that means for doing business in volatile environments. We proactively track the performance of our receivables profile to detect risks early. With this information, we can then mitigate impact through the tightening of payment terms or revenue cycles. We can now support a collaboration that wouldn’t have been possible before, because the groups overseeing these processes had been working in ‘siloed’ worlds.

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