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Have you got the right mind-set to move to S4?

David Lowson
April 8, 2022

My observation is that attitude and commitment are bigger barriers to S/4 success than technology and project management (this might in some quarters be seen as controversial, especially by project managers).

I see that there are more S/4 project waiting to start, pausing or being challenged for these two reasons than those that are struggling with technical or resource issues pertaining to S/4 functionalities. Here I detail some of the issues I observe and offer some guidance on how to get over them.

Taking on the Difficult Issues
There are some issues in business, for example the alignment of product development and manufacturing departments , master data governance, etc. that are just plain hard to resolve. They always have been challenging and will always continue to be. Face up to them, either resolve them one way or another, this may include losing a little control or opening old wounds. And if they are unresolvable (some are) face up to the fact that you need an interim solution or at least land in a place that allows for resolution later. These issues will not get any easier. So offer a solution, which may or maybe not be perfect and push on.

Re-skilling Staff
There are S/4 projects not starting because the teams don’t have the correct skills, i.e. on premise but no cloud skills, or ABAP but not BTP, and perhaps, teams are worried about their roles being potentially under threat. My advice is: you need to move on and make re-skilling a prerequisite of the project. In the end you will need to get the new skills and delaying just increases the chances of someone else being brought in.

Opening up the Business Case
There are many clients with lots of analysis of what they have currently, saying there is no clear and compelling case for S/4. I am not 100% surprised. If you take your business to be what you currently do, and you do that quite well, why will applying a new version of S/4 make a transformational change? To get the business case over the line, you need to look at new ways of doing things and doing new things and offering new things.

The Quest for Perfection
Many clients are looking for 100% perfection in the plan, the business case and solution. But in reality, this is a little pointless as events will happen that change the plan, solution and business case within a few weeks of starting the programme. So get to a place where there is a buy-in to the big ideas, face down the people looking for perfection and push on, setting the expectation that you will adjust eventually.

It’s all too hard
Some ECC users have massive and very complex estates, and cannot see how to take the first step on an S/4 transformation that they instinctively know had to be done. In this case, as in the quest for perfection, my advice would be to start and to accept their will be interim states and imperfections along the way. Again events will probably take over, but if you are lost for ideas, take a core function (Finance is a good start) and then build on it from there.

I rather like the Status Quo
Not the long lived British rock band, but there are a lot of clients out there that really quite like how things are, and perhaps, would rather do another road map, or another market scan than get on and commit. This may be something that allows them to have an unchallenging relationship with their boss and peers. But in the end, this can be a bad thing, as it the end the status quo they enjoy will be challenged by another solution, or someone will say you are going to slow. It may be painful, but to make this a success you need to challenge a few things.
In summary more S/4 projects are not getting off the ground or stalling for these reasons than for reasons of resource issues, budget, business case or complexity, so following on from this team talk, get going!

Meet our expert

David Lowson

Expert in ERP Implementation, Package Solutions