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Strategies to Fast Track Your Anticipated Migration to SAP S/4HANA

Jack Roman
Vice President of SAP Practice

October 22, 2021

Over the past two years, amid standard market volatility, chemical producers have faced supply chain upheavals from trade disputes as well as uncertainty of public health challenges and lockdowns. Digital disarray became evident for many who recognized a lack of visibility and flexibility in their business processes during this time. If you are among those who found themselves in the dark, without a view into where the supply chain was slowed or broken, you are also likely to have found your organization to be lacking the actionable data and analytics that drive decisions, which ensure profitable prices and margins. Further, regulatory requirements, from the U.S. to Europe to Asia, continue to demand attention, adherence and reporting to regulatory agencies.

Hitachi Vantara can help your chemicals business to rein in business processes, performance and end-user experiences by easing your migration to SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (SAP S/4HANA). We offer strategies and solutions to help you gain all the S/4 HANA Platform has to offer, from digitalization to delivering real-time insights that reveal supply chain issues and forecast disruptions. More than 20 years of collaboration with SAP and our work with the platform have prepared us to streamline and fast track your implementation.

Are You Ready To Move From Digitization to Digitalization?

On the shop floor, many chemicals producers continue to pursue “digitization.” Manual or paper-based records, such as maintenance reports, are pulled into the digital realm using document capture or scanning, or inputting to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, for example. A step beyond digitization, “digitalization” delivers digital to business processes. Key processes and systems, when digitalized, bring flexibility, agility and potential for revenue-producing insight. Automation and IT sensors can routinely record operational rates and enable alerts of process difficulties. Hitachi’s approach is to help you exploit these capabilities, the problem-solving potential of digitization on the SAP for S/4HANA platform.

In the past, SAP provided an IT-centric approach to not just digitizing but also digitalizing the enterprise through its enterprise resource planning solutions. These earlier offerings were time-consuming implementations that could take years to realize. While today’s SAP for S/4HANA now offers a preconfigured chemicals industry solutions, you can look to Hitachi Vantara to reduce timelines and ease the implementation process while helping you adhere to SAP S/4HANA best practices.

Solving Pain Points of New Implementations, Migrations and Industry Issues

The domain expertise that Hitachi has gained through years of close work with SAP and its product development team informs our work to support your full use of S/4HANA’s business process capabilities. We accelerate your time to “go live” and optimal performance, delivering answers and assistance when you face challenges in deploying and getting the most value out of a new footprint and its toolset. Our use cases supporting the SAP toolset allow you to:

  • Work with a user-friendly operating system. Hitachi adds efficiencies using SAP’s new easy-to-use Fiori operating system, providing change management and Fiori activation kits to encourage your users to adopt the system.
  • Keep track of warehouses and transportation. Hitachi helps you leverage SAP’s embedded Transformation Management (TM) and Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) solutions. You’ll learn of any inefficiencies, which you can act on to boost return on investment (ROI).
  • Stay on top of supply chain activities. Hitachi provides a toolkit for integrated business planning (IBP) that focuses SAP’s features on your supply chain planning, including optimization of manufacturing and inventory levels.

To move forward with your migration to or new implementation of S/4HANA, the next step is to work with a partner who can guide you along the fastest path with the least disruption.

Hitachi and SAP: Close Partnership Speeds Setup

The long-term partnership between Hitachi, Ltd., and SAP involves collaboration and close communication, including more than 20 years of Hitachi delivering SAP solutions and using the Chemical Industry Best Practices Template. Working side-by-side with SAP’s product development team, we also assisted with testing and updates made to SAP’s preconfigured chemicals industry templates.

Building on this knowledge allowed us to develop Hitachi Chemicals Accelerator for SAP S/4HANA. Implementing our solution allows your administrators to quickly connect to S/4HANA tools and enables business process capabilities to further compress implementation timelines. Chemicals Accelerator works with SAP’s Fiori operating system to ease your administrators into use of S/4HANA. However, it is Hitachi’s focus on change management during implementation that saves time and avoids frustration in the process.

Why Change Management Is the Fast In Fast Track

As you move to bring the SAP S/4HANA footprint to your chemicals company or to upgrade your SAP legacy platform, you’ll see that the major value-add from Hitachi is change management. It is the crux of Hitachi’s approach and a position Hitachi took even when change management wasn’t popular. Hitachi’s methodology and deliverables developed into time-saving best practices over time. Our approach will educate your organization on the benefits of the new SAP while taking the project management perspective and making decisions on what truly benefits your return on investment (ROI).

With our Chemicals Accelerator solution, our focus is on improvements to the business process. We help you answer the questions: How do I get my employees comfortable with the technology or using that technology differently? What moves the process along quickly?

In fact, Hitachi’s approach halves time needed to deploy the S/4HANA solution, reducing implementation by months by using a “fit-gap workshop” approach. The workshop or design process involves your team from day one. They experience the S/4HANA interface and features throughout planning, so that at testing, your team is familiar with the application and its operating system. Issues that surface are addressed along the way, so delays to the “go live” date can be avoided.

Speed Your Move to SAP S/4HANA

There is a lot of data out there. The challenging part is capturing it — analyzing the right data and actually doing something with it – making it actionable. SAP S/4HANA makes these capabilities available with a similar footprint for enterprise level to midmarket and smaller companies. Hitachi provides the foundation for growth and further innovation through the SAP platform, keeping change management top of mind.

After a chaotic couple of years and with SAP ending support for its ERP software in 2027, now is the time for your chemical company to consider implementation of or migration to S/4HANA. And Hitachi Chemicals Accelerator for SAP S/4HANA will help you fast track that move.

Jack Roman is Vice President, SAP Solutions – Americas at Hitachi Vantara.

Jack Roman

Jack Roman

Jack Roman is Vice President of SAP Practice at Hitachi Vantara.