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Metaphorically speaking, if digital core of S/4HANA is the nerve center of the enterprise then what is data? 

Answer-Nerve. Nerve needed to keep business process running in the enterprise within and across its organs (within digital core and across applications involved in the solution).

Good quality master data gives a solid foundation to a successful S/4HANA implementation. Further to propel enterprise throughout the lifetime it is critical to ensure consistent, current and relevant data supply and usage. Ensuring good quality master data can prove to be a keystone habit that can initiate a chain of positive outcomes for years to come.


If we analyze business processes running in today's enterprise (ECC) we will find these biggest challenges among other

  1. inaccurate or inconsistent data (example - inaccurate supplier master data in case of Procurement and Sourcing)
  2. Lack of Data ownership and process governance - questions such as who will manage, what data, and when
  3. Absence of data trace-ability and analytics
  4. Data not harmonized / information stored in multiple information systems


SAP MDG can help you overcome these data challenge associated with Business Partner, Supplier, Customer, Material and other domain specific solutions. Examples in Financials are CoA, G/L Account, Profit center, Cost Center etc. and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Via MDG Solution extension from Utopia along with SAP MDG's extensible application framework. SAP MDG act as "Single Source of Truth" for Master Data which provides centralized governance to keep one version of data flowing across the enterprise.  Capabilities in these data domains to author, collaborate between data owners and achieve highest data quality by using cleansing of data are important ones. You can take advantage of master data consolidation framework from MDG which provides an ability to identify, match and merge records and to create best record. Mass processing functionality helps you in handling bulk changes in much simpler and efficient way.

 

Inbuilt Data Replication framework (DRF) help you replicate data from MDG to other downstream SAP or Non SAP applications. Standard out of the box rule based workflow templates are available. Also ready to use integration with Business rule Framework (BRF+) helps setting up varied validation and derivation rules.


SAP NW MDM is on its way to sun set as per SAP's roadmap. NW MDM is a java based tool and SAP MDG is a business suit component of SAP S/4HANA which is on ABAP stack. We have observed that customers are moving from NW MDM to MDG as a preferred master data governance solution.There is no direct migration from SAP NW MDM to SAP MDG. The framework is completely different and there are no re-usable components between the two solutions. 


Standard data Migration approaches to be used to migrate data from NW MDM to MDG. Depending upon complexity, volume, target system etc. considerations ETL tool can be decided. What is important here is to identify which of these applications are playing source system role for initial data load to MDG in your target system landscape. 


There can be different starting points for Customers who wish to use SAP MDG in their target S/4HANA system landscape. Some of these are mentioned in picture below.


























With S/4HANA, customers use Standalone Deployment or Co-deployed on S/4HANA deployment options for SAP MDG. Each deployment option has its own advantages. A careful evaluation need to be done prior to deciding on strategy.

























MDG Hub deployment:


In this deployment, the standalone S/4HANA (or Suit on HANA system) is used for the activation of business suite component - MDG. This refers to the centralized HUB mode for the master data creation. This deployment is usually preferred option in case of heterogeneous environment where there is no single global system which can be representative of the entire set of systems.


The MDG hub will be the central system as "Single Source of Truth" where organization will have the Cleansed, harmonized and consolidated reference data and master data from the system landscape. Pros and cons of MDG Hub deployment are summarized as follows



Pros

Cons

MDG upgrade is not dependent on Global ERP upgrade

A separate HANA database and system  for MDG is required

Decoupled from Global ERP system maintenance cycles

Data migration to MDG hub from source systems is required (Initial data load at the time of implementation)

Allows fresh start with cleansed data (No prerequisite to cleanse data in downstream application first before implementing MDG)

Configurations needs to be migrated from Global ERP. Further, it is required to be maintained in sync (ongoing Customizing Synchronization)


Co-deployed Mode:


In co-deployed mode, MDG is activated on S/4HANA system itself. This option is well suited in simple system landscape involving an S/4HANA system and few downstream applications which receive their data from the former. S/4HANA system will have the global set of the reference data for the entire landscape receiving data.


Co-deployment option will bring benefits of out of box reports and analytics capabilities. The upgrade will happen hand-in-hand with S/4HANA system but customer can take advantages of integrated data models. Below table gives Pros and Cons of this mode.


Pros

Cons

No separate System (Hardware) for SAP MDG required.

MDG upgrade will be dependent on S/4HANA system

No replication of master data to S/4HANA (No cost of implementation and monitoring of replication interfaces)

Additional efforts needed to cleanse and consolidate existing data

No separate HANA DB required for search & Duplicate check

 

No additional Data migration to MDG, since it gets data from S/4HANA 

 



Lastly, these three important aspects you need to consider as well -  


SAP MDG product versions and availability:  SAP MDG is a business suite application and can be activated on SAP S/4HANA or SAP ECC. There is a product availability matrix provided by SAP to decide applicable version as per the current version of SAP ECC or S/4HANA.

Reporting or analytics for MDG: SAP MDG in any deployment option has 2 types of reporting associated with
  • In-built standard MDG Change Request based Analytics- This requires the standard BI content activation within MDG system which would enable MDG Change request based analytics activated. Out of the box MDG analytics offer reporting based on time and status of Change Requests
  • Reporting capability based on HANA analytics - MDG reports can be designed and modeled using HANA Analytics. HANA Analytics requires additional software component.

Integration scenarios for MDG: MDG as a business suit component offers Web Services which can be consumed by the inbound interfacing system to trigger change request in MDG. Outbound system integration - MDG offers services in form of Data Replication Framework (DRF) which uses the standard ALE functionality of S/4HANA. It also offers outbound web services. When MDG is on S/4HANA system it can replicate all the data to the active table in S/4HANA system. Thereafter, the standard integration methods of  S/4HANA can be leveraged (Point-to-Point or Middleware based).

Co-Author : Amit Patil (Amit_Patil03@infosys.com)
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Once again in May 2019, SAP has made it to the top-tier quadrant of leaders offering WMS product in Gartner's 2019 Magic Quadrant of Warehouse Management Systems. This endeavor to become top-tier supplier of WMS product by SAP has long evolution story of about 2.5 decades.

Circa 1993, SAP R/2 had first introduced the warehouse logistics functions in its ERP and since then there is no look-back for SAP in the warehouse management solution space. While establishing today itself as one of the top contender in WMS market, SAP's journey is looking ever exciting and promising towards achieving the ultimate objective to become number one product in this space.

Even though a little late entrant in WMS product market arena, SAP has continuously kept ramping up its warehousing solutions. Be it SAP WMS which was evolved from ERP suite products of the nascent SAP R/3 versions 2.0 to 4.7 and now today offering the most advanced next gen warehousing solution SAP EWM 9.5.

In 1995 with the SAP R/3 release 3.0, its primal warehouse solution was mainly inward-looking when it had introduced the material supply to production via Production Supply Area (PSA) concept and thereby providing integration of raw material storage with production planning (PP). With such a lean version of production material supply concept in the beginning years, today SAP EWM can handle the most complex production shop floor integration with manual as well as automated storages.

First time when WM truly came out of the egg shell was with introduction of SAP Release 4.5, when separate module of Logistics Execution was born having three distinct components of warehouse management (WM), shipping (SHP) and transportation (TRA). Slowly SAP introduced the radio frequency functions in 2000 during release 4.6, integration of handheld scanner was now possible via SAP console.

In 4.7 release, more ammunition was added with addition of Task & Resource Management (TRM) in EE1 and ERP-EWM with cross-docking, yard management and value added services in release 4.7, EE2. This happened in year 2004. And by then, SAP has realized the potential of WMS market and gained full confidence to provide the best-in-class WMS product to the world. It was also the time to have a birth of new WMS solution altogether and break-away from the limited walls of traditional ERP system, EWM 5.0 was born on SAP SCM server at around 2006. The word "Extended" in EWM stood for the boundaries beyond four walls of physical warehouse premises. With this the intention of SAP was very clear that it wants to offer the independent best-in-class warehouse management product which will house the complete universe of warehousing business operations.

New innovative functionalities were added like internal routing, slotting & rearrangement and warehouse monitoring. EWM 5.1 came with the fully integrated new Material Flow System (MFS) and with this addition, SAP EWM stood class apart in comparison to its old LE-WMS system.

With the further expansion of cross-docking processes like merchandise and opportunistic ones as part of EWM 7.0, SAP brought-in more enhanced functions like production supply area in EWM integrated with ERP production planning, further improvements in MFS. In 7.01, new features now also covered the integration aspects related to controlling the conveyor equipment. SAP gave a boost to RDS (Rapid Deployment Solutions) for EWM implementation by bringing in migration tools which facilitated faster master data and process migration from legacy SAP WM to new EWM 7.02.

The huge leapfrog over other WMS players came after the introduction of EWM 9.0 in 2013 when SAP had built a common system platform of Supply Chain Execution (SCE) housing Extended Warehouse Management (EWM), Transportation Management (TM) and Event Management (EM), thereby offering holistic supply chain functions by covering the upstream and downstream processes in warehousing and transportation. In EWM 9.0, it has brought newer features like dock appointment scheduling and stock-specific units of measure that makes it possible to handle the product which is stored in different packaging units like in large distribution centers.

Today SAP EWM offers various flexible deployment options like the most recent being decentralized EWM on S/4HANA since SAP S/4HANA 1809 FPS02 in addition to the earlier options available since release 9.0, wherein EWM can be deployed as Add-On to SAP NetWeaver and as an Add-On to SAP SCM 7.0 EHP2 and higher. EWM is provided as being part of SAP S/4HANA since version 1610 as embedded EWM which can integrate to local ERP storage locations in the same system & client.

From EWM 9.0 the pace of innovation increased further, EWM 9.1 introduced the shipping cockpit, direct TM-EWM Integration and many retail industry specific enhancements in it. The whole new features of Advanced Production Integration came into being from version 9.2 wherein SAP further optimized the production integration and streamlined related warehouse processes.

While EWM 9.3 has brought in more functionalities in Supply Chain Execution Platform, EWM 9.4 ushered the true revolution in SAP's flagship WMS product when the direct integration with PLC layer of warehouse automated equipment like ASRS, AGVs and Automated conveyors etc. was possible using Material Flow System (MFS) without the involvement of middle layer.

The most recent version of EWM 9.5 continues bringing the strings of innovations like newer features in the labor management, new capabilities in the retail & e-commerce and also the package building as part of Cartonization planning process.

In all these newer versions of EWM since EWM 7.0, SAP kept on adding multitudes of warehousing innovations like for example Pick by Voice configurability in 9.4, various transactional Fiori apps with EWM as back-end for warehouse clerks and operators, direct integration with automated material handling equipment etc.

Thus SAP's penchant to continuously evolve EWM with promising innovation roadmap is going to catapult itself as a top leader in WMS space and I believe those years are not far away from now.

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Customers in their digital journey with S/4HANA are often perplexed on various questions pertaining to historic data. Such as how much history data is needed in future system? History data required at all in future system or only open transaction data will suffice? What are different ways to carry historic data from legacy system to future system? etc.














In S/4HANA there are various opportunities to elevate current processes to next-generation processes. As we can imagine with popular examples of next-generation processes in front of us such as automatic invoice matching, predictive maintenance, managing stock in transit historic data is very essential. In this example of automatic invoice matching process utilizes artificial intelligence to automate the invoice to payment matching. AI uses matching criteria by learning from the historical financial clearing information. If sufficient history is not available, automation will not work as expected. Therefore, you need to transition history data to your new system to take full benefit from day 1 of operation in new system or wait for couple of years till sufficient history builds up in the new system.  

Running current processes in new system after transformation may need historic data, too. This can be further supported by process or compliance constraints. Service history, Spare Part consumption, and historic consumption data for forecast are few examples of processes which require history data. 






















While data is important and its importance is growing in digital world where this enterprise asset is often regarded as 'new gold' or 'new oil', it is also important to know what are the options available. Here are the options -





























  1. Open/Current Transaction Data in S/4HANA and keep legacy ERP on in read-only mode: In this option only open and current transaction data is migrated to Target system. Often we have history data belonging to these open transactions which we still need to be migrate. Example invoices already posted, partial good receipt against a Purchase order, delivery already made for an open Sales order. Data migration to S/4HANA can be handled using data migration tools which work in S/4HANA. Normally there is no impact on project timeline with this approach. This process has basic requirement on data reconciliation.

Users can be granted a read-only only access to refer any historic data they may need. Legacy system can be re-platformed to cheaper hardware to save cost.


  1. Open/Current Transaction Data and entire History Data in S/4HANA :  In a Hybrid or new implementation project, where open and current transaction data plus entire transaction data history migration to target system is required, customer need to get specialized Service for required tool and knowledge to achieve this. The historical data for entire duration (all fiscal years) belonging to the considered business can be part of scope. (E.g. - All closed Sales Orders, 5-10 years old  Projects/Sales Contracts etc.). Complexity in migration and data reconciliation will grow with differences in process design (process dissimilarity) in source and target system. Testing scope will be higher in this case.

Note: In case of System Conversion, Software Update Manager tool takes care to convert the legacy data in place during S/4HANA conversion.     

  1. Open/Current Transaction Data and Selective History Data in S/4HANA: Open and current transaction data plus selective data such as time sliced History (for example 2 or 3 fiscal years of data). The historical data for desired duration belonging to the considered Business is migrated. (e.g. open sales orders plus all closed Sales Orders within last 2-3 fiscal years.). Such project require deep knowledge of data models of source and target system, relationship and dependencies between different business objects in the scope. This scenario requires high level of alignment between various domains (finance, logistics) to give business rules for selection of data to minimize risk of data inconsistencies in migrated data. It will add to data reconciliation effort mainly. 
  2. Open/Current Data in transaction system and History Data in data retention solutions: Open and current transaction data is migrated to target system. Whereas, the historical data (complete or selective) belonging to the considered Business is migrated to inexpensive data retention platform. Example - Open sales orders in this example will be migrated to S/4HANA and all closed sales orders will be accessible from data retention platform). Archive technologies such as system decommissioning solution can be used on current ERP to make a snapshot available to access history data from an inexpensive platform. Alternatively, Business Data Warehouse can be leveraged. This reduces data foot print in target system and at the same time makes history data available to users on a data retention Platform.

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Today, every enterprise wants to become more intelligent through digital transformation. Infosys, along with partners Microsoft and SAP, has built a composite technology stack for enabling this objective.

 

Drawing upon our collective knowledge and experience, we thoroughly analyze an organization, bearing in mind its size, industry, future imperatives and challenges to evolve a suitable business model and technology stack that will make it more intelligent. The end-to-end solution and services stack is developed on Azure infrastructure, and is built using the SAP S/4 Hana application and Infosys implementation methodology. The Infosys methodology covers the creation of an innovation environment, designing an appropriate business model, defining next-generation processes, implementing the ERP solution, and understanding how intelligent applications may be built on top of the ERP stack to deliver the desired outcomes.

 

A standout feature is that unlike in most transformations, where there are huge expenses in the initial years, here the cost is almost flat lined. This means client enterprises incur more or less similar expenditure throughout the duration of the project. What's more, the implementation partners share the client's risk by providing outcome-based services. All this lowers the entry barriers to transformation.

 

In the speaker session on May 7 at 4:00pm at Microsoft booth 729, Shyam Vijayan and I will explain the solution in detail and showcase its impact on a multibillion dollar life sciences company with 4 to 6 TB of data. We look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

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For the past several years, SAP has been hosting regional "mini SAPPHIRES" called SAP NOW in various countries. Their aim is to create awareness among customers and prospects about the latest innovations and provide a platform for interactions amongst customers as well as a forum for discussions between customers and partners.

 

SAP NOW Moscow is the largest annual SAP business forum in the CIS region. Over 6,000 professionals gather at SAP NOW Moscow to discuss innovative technologies and solutions that can help enterprises get the competitive edge and build smarter businesses for tomorrow.

 

SAP and its partners presented a large exposition with practical examples of how big data, machine learning, blockchain, IoT, cloud technologies, and SAP S/4HANA can enable greater efficiencies in business.

 

This year, the 1-day SAP NOW in Moscow (www.sapnow.ru) was followed by a 2-day technology conference called SAP Digital Exchange (www.sapdx.ru).

 

I had the privilege to host the SAP S/4HANA break-out forum on Day 2 and conduct 3 out of 6 sessions on that day. These included:

 

- SAP S/4HANA Cloud - The Intelligent ERP

- SAP S/4HANA - What's New in 1809

- S/4HANA Migration Tools and Migration Best Practices

 

After 19 years as an SAP veteran, it was for the first time that I was standing on stage wearing the Infosys "hat" and promoting S/4HANA from the perspective of a premium SI and implementation partner.

 

The impact of such conferences can be huge, especially if one delivers keynotes and speeches - and customers hear you talking. Customers are constantly looking for best practices, examples and guidance for their transition to SAP S/4HANA -- they are hungry for solid information that goes well beyond marketing messages.

 

As an S/4HANA expert, I was able to give customers both guidance and confidence for a successful transition. I also convinced many of them on the various benefits and quick wins of SAP S/4HANA.

 

To achieve this, I used selective live demos on an S/4HANA Public Cloud system (Advanced Financial Closing Cockpit; ML Cash Application; Demand-Driven Replenishment) to highlight the power and potential of this superior next-generation ERP. I follow the motto: "action speaks louder than words"; so, it is my firm belief, if you can show it, don't use slides to explain it.

 

Several Russian prospects approached me after my presentation and wanted to know more about Infosys. They sought to know how extensive was our presence in their market and the best practices we offer. In addition to these queries, two small local technology players approached me and asked whether they could do business with Infosys for add-ons and migration services.

 

I think these "small" regional SAP conferences provide an excellent platform for a direct and fast entry into new markets. While SAPPHIRE and TechEd conferences are certainly important, these regional events offer insights into the local customer base.

 

The CIS customers who attended SAP NOW Moscow see Infosys as a powerful strategic implementation partner for their digital journey . This was also endorsed by speakers from SAP and Metalloinvest, both of whom referred to Infosys as a leading implementation partner.


by Stefan Batzdorf, Senior Practice Engagement Manager, SAP Digital Sales, Europe
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Infosys achieves successful conversion with smooth functioning from Day 1

 

Migration or conversion from SAP ECC to S/4HANA is an implementation method that it´s gaining increasing interest among SAP customers. Up until this Brazilian pharmaceutical company's SAP S/4HANA went live in Brazil and 12 other countries, there were doubts about the feasibility of such a change. SAP S/4HANA has mostly been implemented from scratch (greenfield), but rarely through a conversion process (brownfield). Despite of the complexity of this kind of project, Infosys and SAP together scripted our client's success story.

 

Of the few SAP S/4HANA conversion projects worldwide, none had been carried out in Brazil before. While pioneers always face challenges, client and Infosys made a clear commitment to innovation. On the first day of system go-live, client carried out operations smoothly across 13 countries. And today, after two months, everything still works perfectly. The client has already experienced performance benefits. A closing process that used to stretch over 12 hours now takes only 2 hours.

 

Infosys has always believed that conversion of SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA was possible. The client's project has proved that conversion is not only feasible, but it is also an important transition scenario. Moreover, it could be a viable option for many enterprises. It can reduce cost and implementation time, as well as the involvement of business areas and impact on operations. With the expertise Infosys developed through this engagement, it is possible to execute similar projects with significantly lower risk and effort for clients.

 

SAP has already announced that the maintenance window for ECC will close by 2025 and this was one of the decision drivers for the client. The S/4HANA conversion involved 1,500 global users from the areas of finance, controlling, human resources, procurement, warehousing, production, maintenance, and quality. It required migrating about 2,400 programs and more than 70,000 ECC tables to S/4HANA. The change enabled, among other things, the use of in-memory computing for analytics, IoT for predictive maintenance, and AI/ML for fiscal compliance.

To know more about this journey, please attend my session on May 7 at SAPPHIRE NOW and meet our experts at Infosys booth no. 632.
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Our client is a global eye care leader with over 19,000 employees serving patients across more than 140 countries. Client offers a complete line of ophthalmic surgical devices, differentiated contact lens and lens care products to help patients with vision disorders.

The company was under pressure to reduce cost, replace antiquated systems, streamline processes, drive revenue growth, and recharge the customer experience. It was clear that merely a change in business model would not be enough. There was a strong need for business transformation to simplify and standardize business processes across all divisions and geographies.

Client decided to transform their global supply chain planning processes by implementing SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP). This powerful cloud-based tool provides capabilities for demand planning, network deployment and requirements planning, constrained capacity planning, inventory optimization, and overall S&OP process management. A modern, user-friendly Excel-based front-end tool, IBP integrates disparate back-end systems and standardizes interface models to achieve end-to-end visibility across the entire supply chain.

For the implementation of this transformation program, Infosys was selected as their partner. We had a clear mandate to build templates and roll out demand planning (DP) and supply planning (SP) across over 60 affiliates and 10 manufacturing sites. Our goal was to optimize, integrate and standardize processes while reducing complexity and cost. By creating the right template, we could enable Alcon to meet their objectives.

For this Global scope and scale of the Program, strong Governance structure was essential. We achieved this by setting up work stream wise Onsite, offshore teams (located in 15 countries across the globe). To manage interface complexity (with localized and multiple JDE systems), Program had to setup stronger integration team.

Post the successful completion of the program toward the end of 2018, the client's  supply chain was transformed into a state-of-the-art planning platform.  There were huge improvements in balancing demand and supply, optimizing inventory, and proactively handling inefficiencies. 

The biggest benefit achieved is that all entities (affiliates, DC, S&OP, and plants) work with the same database and have visibility across the entire supply chain.  This in turn has helped supply chain planning users to leverage IBP effectively for better decisions that help patients in a timely manner.

I will present this success story at SAPPHIRE NOW along with client, this year on May 8 at 12:00pm -12:20pm in room NE512 (Network and Spend Management).

To share our lessons and experiences, I look forward to connecting with you at the Infosys booth 632

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As businesses evolve, the IT landscape becomes increasingly complex. Today, the IT landscape and all enterprise applications need to provide greater agility  and keep pace with emerging technology trends and demands. SAP-based applications are no exception. With many larger corporations running their core ERP on SAP, the associated applications must be more intelligent, flexible, faster, and future-proof.

 

SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) is a comprehensive technology platform from SAP. Built on the latest technologies and an open source foundation, SCP provides enormous opportunities for organizations to develop digital solutions faster and more cost-effectively. SCP encompasses many technology components and services and provides support for different application development scenarios. Some of these are:

§  Building innovative applications using the latest technologies like AI, blockchain, IOT, etc.

§  Building mobile and portal applications that can connect seamlessly with on-premises and cloud applications

§  Extending cloud or on-premises applications

§  Integrating b/w cloud and on-premises applications

 One of our clients, a large US-based retail chain, wanted to implement a supplier self-service portal to streamline their supplier collaboration. Following due diligence, the client chose SCP portal services. The new supplier portal on SCP has resulted in over 90% effort saving on sharing of reports and 100% reduction in information delays. It has also significantly improved supplier collaboration and satisfaction.

 

To know more about this success story, please join me at the Network and Spend Management NE512 on May 7 at 12:30 pm ET.

 

We look forward seeing you there.

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