Get actionable insights and become more agile with SAP S/4HANA

BrandPost By Sarah Matthews
May 30, 2017

More than ever before, enterprises have an urgent need for real-time, actionable insights. SAP S/4HANA paves the way for “live”, real-time businesses that are intelligent, connected and always one step ahead.rn

In an increasingly fast-paced and dynamic environment, enterprises need the ability – and the right tools – to act in the moment. They need to respond almost instantaneously to customer demands, fluctuating market conditions, and broader economic trends. In today’s age, analogue businesses not adept at responding this quickly will simply disappear. It is a case of disrupt – or be disrupted.

Yet for many companies, business siloes, legacy IT and stand-alone analytics still pose steep obstacles to achieving this vision of a “live” business.

To address the challenge of making business come “alive” based on a simple, seamless concept, SAP developed SAP S/4HANA, the next-generation ERP suite.

SAP S/4HANA is based on in-memory computing and has embedded analytics that allow companies for contextualized decision-making and to act in the moment. With native integration into SAP solutions, SAP S/4HANA is also well-equipped for whatever the future may bring.

Foundation for fast transactions and analytics

SAP S/4HANA runs on the SAP HANA in-memory data platform, a powerful database with a greatly simplified data model: thanks to fast transactions, maximized speed and throughput it allows users to get whatever analysis at which ever level of detail they need within a split second, all through one single database – which make silo structures a thing of the past.

Once SAP S/4HANA is in place, enterprises will experience vast improvements in performance and efficiency thanks to more accessible data and significantly shorter processing times. Plus, with a single database, users can enjoy a streamlined, transparent, and robust basis for a seamless collaboration throughout the entire company ecosystem.

With embedded analytics, users can perform real-time process analytical and operational reporting on live transactional data. In-built virtual data models and predefined queries deliver data in easy-to-handle dashboards and reports. This eliminates the need for IT support. Data can even be tailored to specific roles and business needs. Whatever points are on the agenda, reports are available closer to the time of decision-making for truly actionable insights and impressive agility – including real-time modifications to processes like orders or payments.

Operational support based on current data

Thanks to the capabilities of this advanced IT architecture, IDC analysts Olofson and Marden point out [1] that instead of relying solely on long-term figures or even yesterday’s numbers, companies benefit from a fully new type of support for business decisions: operational support based on current data. Enterprises are thus not only able to process their standard transactions faster, but they also gain flexibility and adaptiveness in an increasingly dynamic marketplace. 

This is where SAP S/4HANA delivers the infrastructure to transform enterprises into flexible entities that thrive amidst change with the ability to think fast forward. The next-generation ERP concept empowers decision makers with unified functionality and real-time insights, enabling the company to act faster and be more responsive to customers.

But the road to becoming a live business is as individual as the company walking it, as these two case studies reveal.

Seamless efficiency – Lidl’s passion for precision

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The German grocery chain Lidl is passionate about process optimization. In the past two decades, Lidl has grown its presence from just under 2,500 stores to almost 10,000. So, it only stands to reason that small improvements at one site can have a big impact when rolled out on a global scale. When Lidl decided to replace its legacy merchandise management system, the company’s choice was SAP solutions based on SAP HANA.

“It is very important that SAP HANA provides us with a sustainable and stable platform that enables us to continually optimize our end-to-end processes and develop innovative ways to serve our customers,” explains Alexander Sonnenmoser, divisional board member for business technology at Lidl.

After a “big-bang” rollout in a subset of the company’s stores, the benefits of seamless connectivity were substantial.

Using SAP Retail solutions powered by SAP HANA, Lidl can now analyze point-of-sale (POS) data live and on-demand, replenishing 10,000 grocery stores in 28 countries faster than ever before. Lidl’s processes also got a whole lot leaner, as the new streamlined system allowed the grocery giant to cut its process steps by an estimated 20 percent for a tremendous acceleration in order processing.

But live businesses are not just simple carbon copies, as evidenced by the case of Piaggio.

Streamlined insights – transformative simplicity for Piaggio

The Piaggio Group is a leading manufacturer of two-wheel motorcycles, among them the iconic Vespa. In adopting SAP S/4HANA, Piaggio was primarily relying on the solution’s transformative potential.

As a global company, Piaggio’s customer base varies substantially, and so do the needs and expectations for their vehicles. Piaggio wanted to harness the power of SAP S/4HANA to deliver a relevant, real-time and personalized customer experience.

With capabilities, such as the SAP HANA platform and predictive analytics, Piaggio now enjoys timely customer insights on everything from design to safety, around the world and as they evolve.

Customer and sales data deliver dynamic information on design preferences. Plus, on-board journey data from smarter scooters lets riders view safety and status information while giving Piaggio a contextualized, real-time picture of technical performance coupled with riding habits – the hard facts for improvements in safety and comfort.

These insights can be tied into design and manufacturing, as well as marketing and sales, to boost Piaggio’s competitiveness and expand its revenue base. 

SAP S/4 HANA – incorporating efficiency and innovation

These two journeys illustrate how the enabling potential of SAP S/4HANA is both cross-cutting and highly individual for businesses today.

Seamless connectivity catapulted Lidl’s operations to the next level by providing massive gains in speed and efficiency. Piaggio, meanwhile, took a different approach, relying on SAP for rich customer insights that could quickly be implemented for product designs that would keep the company at the forefront of design and safety. This is the power of seamless connectivity and instantaneous, unified insights made possible by SAP S/4 HANA. No two journeys are the same, but the possibilities are endless.

To learn more on the topic of live business, download your free copy of “Connecting all parts of your business to run live”.  

For more information visit 

Further reading

Seamless business collaboration is possible – with the right IT platform    

[1] Carl W. Olofson and Matthew Marden. Innovating with Real-Time Data and Insights with SAP HANA for Better Business Outcomes and More Efficient Operations. IDC White Paper. November 2016.